Saturday, April 04, 2009

Major Maker, Malajube, & the Music Video:: Art vs. Commerce v.1.0

I've always been interested in the lines between art and commerce, with art being defined broadly.  I bristle at bands "selling out."  While I understand the economics, I feel that there should be an ethos to art, particularly if it is positioned as indie or avant garde or whatever label is used to unmainstreamify it. In February, I saw on MuchMoreMusic in Toronto two consecutive videos in a row of songs that were used in commercials.  In the summer of 2007, buzz was being generated by the Maynard's candy commercial.  Viewers were primarily interested in two things: (1) who was the multiplicitous young woman in the sundress and (2) who did the song, "Rollercoaster."  Example.  That summer, someone went to the lengths of looping the commercial's audio to "create" a full-length song.  Long live GarageBand?  Some say that Major Maker is a one-hit wonder, but no matter what, "Rollercoaster" is a fun song.

In the Spring of 2007, I stumbled across the francophone Québec band, Malajube.  Malajube burst onto the scene in 2004 and instantly rose in the indie Québécois scene.  The music, in my opinion, is fresh and innovative, so despite being in French, it had crossover appeal to anglophone Canadian audiences.  In the US, Pitchfork fawned over their 2006 Trompe l'œil, enruring that plenty of hipsters would be crossing over the language divide to put these energetic and utterly likable songs with whack lyrics and 70s funk on their iPods.  In late summer 2007, Rogers Wireless used Montréal -40ºC in a commercial celebrating the youthful road trip.  Funny how the lyrics don't make it into the commercial::
"Too poor for pills,
I play the whore yet I suck,
And all these things that I ejaculate,
I'm running against the clock,
I'm running but I'm going backwards

Oh, Montréal, you are so cold,
a polar bear in the bus,
I get rich inspired by the worst,
And I love you so much, I hallucinate..."
I told you whack lyrics.
  • What examples do you have of music in commercials?
  • Is music cheapened by commercialization?  
As for the second point, I think it depends on the execution and context, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Enjoy.

                   Art versus Commerce, v. 1.0
Major Maker-
Toronto, ON

Montréal, QC

image::  vidcap from Malajube's "Pâte Filo."