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The Upsides and Downsides to Apple Commercials

July 4th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments
Matt Costa - Mr. Pitiful

So I’m semi-watching 30 Rock on TiVo (I loooooves me some 30 Rock, but it’s a repeat, so 1/2 of my attention is on that and 1/2 on the laptop) when one of the latest iPhone commercials comes on.

Now, with Apple commercials nowadays, you know what to expect. If it’s a commercial about their computers, it’s going to be John Hodgeman and not-John-Hodgeman, and if it’s for their “personal electronics” it’ll be a closeup of the product, hands and fresh new perky music you probably haven’t heard before but will be hearing everywhere soon.

I love music. Music music music. So on one hand, I appreciate Apple expanding America’s musical tastes and introducing them to artists they might not know about. Assuming they have the stick-to-it-iveness to research the commercial to see what the song is. On the other hand, songs that were once cool are made into flavors of the week.

Now, some of this is the typical “Man, I’ve been following that band since the start and now they’ve sold out” thing that so many of us fall into. In this case, I’m not railing against the artists (Brotha gotta get paid, right? And does making great music matter if people don’t know about it? If an indie rocker falls in the woods…) or against Apple (when you’re products are so clunky and poorly built that no one would give them a second glance, you have to draw them in with cool music. Wait. That doesn’t seem right. Oh yeah, I’m a sarcastic bastard. Got it.). I’m not exactly sure who I’m railing against here. Sometimes I just like to rail against things and people because it sounds good to say I’m railing against something.

I do so hope I’m using that phrase right.

Anyway, what bugs me is, it seems like (especially now that I have my ukes) just before I get a song I love learned, all of a sudden it shows up in an Apple commercial and EVERYONE starts playing it. The good thing is that a song I love that I was going to have to try to transcribe myself note-by-note suddenly has chords and tabs up the ying yang (ouch). The bad thing is, by the time I learn it, everyone’s like “Oh great, another cover of that frickin’ song.”

So the current commercial, aside from my misgivings about everyone playing the song I wanna play, just seems wroooong. I love Matt Costa’s “Mr. Pitiful” and it’s been on my “need music” playlist for a while now. So the first thing I think when I see a ginormous iPhone and hear his piano pounding intro is “FUCK!” Which is then followed shortly by “wait a minute…” I sit through the commercial and discover they were at least bright enough to edit out the lyrics and just use the piano part. Why? Decide for yourself:

Matt Costa – Mr. Pitiful
(from his Unfamiliar Faces album)

Oh Mr. Pit, oh Mr. Pit, Mr. Pitiful
Who let you down?
Who let you down?
Who let you down?

You still don’t believe, you don’t believe
You don’t believe, and your grievances show
When your soapbox unfolds

But please come down from that cloud you’re sitting on
I don’t expect you to admit that you were wrong

Just want to know how you’ve been
It don’t make me feel bad that we’re still friends
Mulling it all over in my bed
I hope that you see through your picket
I hope that you see through your big yard and white picket fence
To make amends
And still be friends, still be my friend

So where did you go? Where did you go?
Where did you go while I was out?
While I was out? While I was out?
Well I don’t believe, I don’t believe
I don’t believe everything I see
And if you don’t like the movie then quit acting

But please come down from that cloud you’re sitting on
I don’t expect you to admit that you were wrong

I just want to know how you’ve been
It don’t make me feel bad that we’re still friends
Mulling it all over in my bed
I hope that you see through your picket
I hope that you see through your big yard and white picket fence
To make amends
And still be friends, still be friends

Still be my friend

A really great song to be sure, but is it really something you want to associate with your product?

“Don’t be cute Lemon – you’re too old for that.” – Jack Donaghey

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