When my folks come for a visit, at some point, every time, one of them will mention a catchphrase – something they’ve picked up from TV-advertising. And we’ll look at them with our very best blank look, because we don’t see ads. We certainly don’t remember them. If we happen to catch them – maybe watching the TV news once a month or so at someone else’s house, they’re either muted, or they’re a novelty. As memorable as last night’s meme.
It’s funny to think about this – because whilst I still remember when TV advertising absolutely murdered songs, I feel like they’ve been set free once again. So many of us caring not a jot for anything resembling terrestrial television. (I have nothing against TVNZ on Demand, it’s a good service with some decent content and I’ll put up with the ads, they’re a novelty if anything, but there are so many other options I barely ever get to TVNZ on Demand).
At one time there were so many songs ruined – classic, great songs. James Brown’s I Feel Good on the Deka ad. The Swingers’ classic, Counting The Beat. You don’t blame the artist for getting what they can – if they could. But you do start to loathe the song. Those classics are back in my back-pocket now for a listen whenever I feel like it. No baggage from advertising purgatory attached. It’s all been jettisoned.
I saw Eddi Reader from Fairground Attraction put on a great gig a couple of years ago. She had to apologise at the end of the show for wanting to play Perfect. She was painfully aware that her flagship song was ruined for New Zealand audiences. And she had the heart-breaking story to add, confirming that she hadn’t received a penny for the song being used by New World. This means that she has had a great song ruined and we can’t even correctly accuse her of taking the money and running. Poor lass. (Emphasis on the poor).
It was such a great moment to hear her sing that song – even if the apology felt a little over-the-top, just play it and own it (although I guess she didn’t technically own it). Anyway, as I practice my brushwork the song Perfect is one of the ones (back) on the list. A wee gem to play along with – and I am swept up, once again, in the nostalgia of it; a ‘perfect’ song from a perfect time. Ad-free, carefree and happy.
That’s how it should be for music.
As for TikTok and Instagram Reels. Well, that’s a whole new cloud over music…