FT5: Egregious Indie Rock Sell Outs
Some poor kid is listening to Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” for the first time today and he wants to like the song, he really does. The problem being that each time he hears Iggy say “I got a lust for Life” he pictures some nine year old cracker with a goofy smile running down the deck of a cruise liner. Thanks to the marketing gurus at Carnival Cruise Lines that song is most likely ruined for a generation. I know nowadays the kids like to fall all over themselves defending their decision to sell out, and I’m not saying that I wouldn’t punch my grandmother for a little extra bread, but it’s never a pretty sight when you see an artist you respect making a sales pitch for some crappy chain restaurant. Like it or not, when an artist lends their music to a commercial it then loses its creative and artistic merit and is relegated to the status of jingle. So here it is; after the jump is a list of five of the more heinous indie rock sellouts.
5. Stephen Malkmus – Phantasies (Sears)
Maybe Stephen needed a new fridge or some tools, either way this one is a bit of an odd fit. On the “sell out scale” this one seems fairly benign. I mean, Sears sells a bunch of stuff people need and as far as I know they don’t club baby seals or sell the clubs people would use to go baby seal clubbing.
4. Modest Mouse – Gravity Rides Everything (Nissan Minivan)
I hope Issac Brock and the guys all got a sweet ride with the DVD/GPS package for this one. This one hit me on a personal level for some reason because I thought this album and their transition to a major label had produced incredible results without any artistic compromise; then I saw this ad. They also lent a song from this album to a Miller Genuine Draft ad. Miller, which is partially owned by Philip Morris, could have made the list as well.
3. The Flaming Lips – The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (Kraft Salad Dressings)
This song blows anyways, so the only thing that bugs me is the lack of connection between a song that talks of self empowerment and salad dressing, oh yea, and the fact that Kraft is owned by Philip Morris. Sure, there might be a lot of choices in the new Kraft line of salad dressing but this one reeks of a blatant cash grab. The Lips did an HP computer commercial that really didn’t bother me, and I hope they all got sweet new computers for it, but this one is a bit ridiculous.
2. The Shins – New Slang (McDonalds)
Geesh man, these guys did’t even wait until after the cringe inducing line in Garden State where Natalie Portman claims the Shins would “change your life” to hop on the sell out train. Sure, they say they used the money to build a studio that helped feed the needy, but come on, give your music a chance to make you a little dough before you start suckling the teat of corporate America.
1. Of Montreal – Wraith Pinned To The Mist And Other Games (Outback Steakhouse)
This one made me spit out my blooming onion when I saw it. I know Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes has attempted to explain this away, but it’s still horrific to hear. Lending your music is bad enough, but to lend your art to a company that rips it apart and puts it back together in a catchy jingle urging people to go to their nearest strip mall in their favorite section of urban sprawl is unforgivable. Worst of all, I went to an Outback for my mom’s birthday this year and the food sucks.
I understand that it’s tough nowadays with album sales down, due to the thieving kids and their Internet, for an independent artist to make a living, and that life in a band can suck at times but hey, them’s the breaks, and that’s the choice you make as an artist.
I’m sure I missed a lot and with the younger kids these days not having many scruples about selling out, I’m sure you guys can fill in some holes or tell me I’m an old cantankerous punk rocker that lives in an Ian MacKaye fantasy land.