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Thursday, March 16, 2006
Sellouts in Rock n Roll .....
Everyone out there groovin’ on those AT&T ads with the Oasis song? You know, the one where Liam turns “word” into a three-syllable commitment? All around the world, gotta spread the wor-uh-herd, AT&T is bloomin’ gear . . .
As sellouts go, this one’s a failure, mostly because these ads flaunt a total lack of charm or whimsy. A rock superstar who sells out his music is much like a movie star who gets busted for hookers: In order to pull it off, the offender is required, by law, to handle the whole affair with charm and whimsy. In this way, he may turn a moment of vulnerability into a satisfying pop-cultural event for everyone, especially fans.
But charm and whimsy must also include the particular product a particular artist chooses to endorse: The Donnas doing Budweiser? Perfect. Jane’s Addiction doing Coors? Eeeerk. Bob Dylan hawking Victoria’s Secret? Possibly. Bob Dylan promoting Kaiser Permanente? Vomitland of the Americas.
Now, if you’re thinking to yourself, “I really don’t care about Oasis selling out,” that’s okay, too. When it comes to anything Oasis-related these days, apathy is a swell option. In fact, I’m more disappointed by my own lack of outrage over these ads than by the ads themselves. This shruggery spells an ominous climate change: More and more, I expect rock stars to disappoint. To make the uninspired choice. To stand for nothing, and not even have fun with that. (I point to the Monkees as role models for how to stand for nothing with a real sense of meaning.)
But check it out: Oasis are doubly, double-dumb because, according to the British paper The Sun, Noel Gallagher previously called Jack White a sellout for writing a Coke jingle. Apparently, Noel said, “I don’t believe in adverts. Jack White ceases to be in the club.”
(By the way, whatever happened to that Jack White Coke jingle? I never heard it. Wonder if it went the way of Jack White’s Beck collaboration and Britney’s twins.)
It’s a funny thing, since Oasis was sued for plagiarizing a Coke jingle in the ’90s. (“Shakermaker” ripped off “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.”) How’s that for sour grapes?
Anyway, I have read recent reports that the Sex Pistols are preparing to sell out their catalog to the highest corporate bidders. (Is that what’s called being “outside the shit-stem”? http://www.thefilthandthefury.co.uk/) I opt not to address this topic today, because I am not sure these reports are true. Furthermore, the very idea is so crashingly boring, I would have to go to bed for the rest of the day if it were confirmed........
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