My recent post about commercials that I find irritating might have led one to believe that I’m annoyed by commercials in general, but that’s really not the case. I find advertising sort of fascinating, and I get real enjoyment out of a well-made television commercial. In an effort to balance negativity with positivity, here are my thoughts on a few I’ve liked lately.
The ESPN campaign for the FIFA World Cup has a simple goal: alert unaware Americans, of which I’m sure there are quite a few, that the World Cup is coming soon and it will be televised on ESPN. They do that quite well, but they also accomplish a couple of secondary things, most notably convince skeptical American non-soccer fans that this is a really big deal and worthy of their attention, and get Americans that are already interested in soccer absolutely, foaming-at-the-mouth, crazy excited about it.
The first ad I saw them air is a nice, concise 30-second spot featuring footage from World Cups past and a simple voiceover. The key here, for me at least, is the use of “City of Blinding Lights” by U2, which is just the perfect song. It was also famously employed during the introduction of Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for President back in 2008, a totally goosebump-inducing moment for me. I feel like a memo went out to all of the people that score things like this that this should be their go-to song.
I debated how to best represent the decade in music in list form. Eventually, I decided on songs over albums; it seemed more fitting in the era of iTunes.
This list shows that my musical tastes, like my politics, are pretty middle-of-the-road. I like the most mainstream and accessible indie rock and I’m a sucker for the occasional pop song.
I should also point out that I think this might be longer than anything I wrote in college. It’s entirely possible that the length of this will make it completely unreadable. But whatever, brevity has never been my strong suit. Here they are, my 150 favorite songs of the decade (music videos when I was able to easily find one that I liked that allowed embedding):
150) Cannibal Ox – “Iron Galaxy” (2001)
This album has such a singular sound that it’s weird hearing Vast Aire rapping over any other production. I think that’s why I could never really get into Look Mom…No Hands. The Vast Aire verse at the end of this song is sort of the end of the golden age of underground hip hop for me, a topic that will definitely be more thoroughly discussed if I ever do a list of my favorite songs of the 90s.
149) Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros – “Johnny Appleseed” (2001)
The best part of John from Cincinnati. Almost makes me want to check out the rest of Joe Strummer’s post-Clash career.
148) Air – “Universal Traveller” (2004)
The only song from Talkie Walkie that holds up for me. Really the only Air song that I listen to on a regular basis. Pops up on the occasional Rick Steves podcast, so that’s a plus.