Right now in a record store (probably in Seattle or maybe in Austin), two people are flipping through used vinyl and talking about music. Inevitably, one of them will turn to the other, pick up a record and accuse that musician or band of having "sold out" at one point.
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Yes, even in the age of rampant downloading, there are still begrudged idealists who resent an artist making a paycheck, as if banking off a recording and inadvertently assisting in the cycle of commerce is almost as bad as commissioning will.i.am for a remix. This is 2011; the very notion of selling out is preposterous. Unless you're Steve Albini or Ian MacKaye, I'm pretty sure you're a sell-out too, Mr. Cubicle.
In the list below, I've picked my favorite 2011 song usages in a commercial and the format is like this
Product: What is the musician or band hawking to the masses?
Song: Who is that band and what is that song?
Will It Sell The Product? How successful is that song in winning over the skeptical consumer?
"Sellout" Scale: Notice the quotes.
SOTC contributor and pal Maura Johnston explains: "Watching performances of "Hallelujah" by people who aren't Cohen--whose original take has an archness that's wiped away by the clear-eyed sincerity offered up by his successors--you see one common thread: each singer really feels the song, closing their eyes at least once in every performance to properly communicate that what they are singing is Serious Business." Hence the song's popularity on everything from American Idol and X Factor to the Haiti telethon to that excruciating sex scene in Watchmen, which even Cohen himself identified as more parody than homage. You will not be surprised to learn that this is all Shrek's fault. [VF]
--Tickets for Leonard Cohen's October 23rd gig at Madison Square Garden are now available via Fan Club Pre-Sale: the password is CENTRALPARK. Regular seats for the Garden show go on sale August 10th at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster for all the general public schmucks. The 74-year-old legend returned to the road after 15 years off of it to retrieve funds lost from a cash-swindling manager, which may explain why some seats cost $625.
--The Decemberists played two new songs at George Wein's Folk Festival 50 on Saturday in Rhode Island, Pitchfork reports. One is a celtic-tinged "copper-mining song," while the other, introduced as "Down by the Water," is reminicent of Neil Young with frontman Colin Melroy showing off his little-known harmonica skills. Download 'em here.More »