Monday, February 20, 2006

reclaiming a song

When an advert for a product uses a song, that song is in danger of forever being associated with that product. In some ways, music videos are an extension of this: the song forever being associated with cool images (Aphex Twin, Nine Inch Nails, Chemical Brothers, White Stripes, etc), making said song that much cooler.

Last year we were treated to a beautiful use of lots of advertising dollars. The Sony Bravia advertising campaign which featured thousands of super balls being thrown down a street in San Francisco. Initial viewing of this ad were greeted with "just another over use of computer graphics" and "cool concept.. pity it's fake". However, once I found out it was real, the advert took on a more spiritual meaning and lead to me at least finding out a bit more about the $5000 TVs it was flogging. Nothing spiritual with spending that much on a TV, but at least some crazy director guy got to throw a bunch of colourful balls down a big hill. The track used in the Bravia advert, "Heartbeats" is by a guy called José González, has now found its way into the mix tapes of cardigan wearers all over, claiming to have known about José back in the day*.

Before leaving for a bit of snowing in Japan, I spent a while modifying my snowboard helmet. This involved altering a pair of tune ups that were too small to fit my boof head and my non-Giro helmet. I then rigged up an elaborate mute switch that allowed me to easily turn off the music in my ears while on the lift so I could be social. The thing was broken by the 3rd day, but while it was working, it made boring lift rides alone a little more interesting, and going faster easier as Zack de la Rocha's angry yelling dissolved my fears of dying.

One of the main attractions of Niseko is the night boarding, which seems to be just that: boarding. Night boarding represents a real departure from traditional snow culture, as the snowboarding crowd are predominately younger non-skiing peeps who, if it wasn't for snowboards probably wouldn't have come to the snow. By the looks of it, in about 10 years, skiers will be in the minority as their fucked knees and arpre attitudes remove them from the slopes. While taking the lift on the second night boarding sessions, I had "Heartbeats" playing in my ears as enjoyed a tranquil and quite lift ride up to the top. The wind was still, a line of alpine trees paralleled the lift and big snow flakes were gently falling from the sky onto my goggles. This was a truly beautiful experience and has now given that song another meaning for me.

Other songs that have been reclaimed for me are:

Right Here, Right Now - Fatboy Slim (adidas commercial) - reclaimed while riding between canberra and melbourne
Instant Karma - John Lennon (nike commercial) - reclaimed while mowing my mum's lawn in the early 1990s
Are you gonna go my way - Lenny Kravits (it's commercial enough as it is) - installing or fixing car stereos

*As a side point, does it really matter when or how a person gets into a particular kind of music? Sure, the "cool kids" will use it as a badge of honour to claim they knew about it 5 minutes before everyone else did, but if you like the music, it shouldn't matter how you were introduced to it. I've caught myself doing this in the past a feel a bit stupid because of it. Swapping music tastes with people is much more fun than hoarding a sound for yourself. If you still do this, stop what you're doing, pull your head from your arse and make a mix tape for all your friends.

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