Since the advent of the DVR, sports are about the only thing I watch live on TV. So the Olympic Games have reintroduced me to the TV commercial, something I've managed to avoid outside of college football season and the occasional Braves game. And the quality of music has been a pleasant surprise (even a crappy beer like Bud Light—or Bud Light Lime—has the sense to use Santogold). Here are the best songs in commercials running during the Olympic Games:
10. Target - Enur featuring Natasja - "Calabria"
Sadly, Jamaican singer Natasja was killed in a car accident last year, but her vocals are the perfect overlay on Danish electronic duo Enur's music.
9. Hilton - Brett Dennen - "Blessed"
I love those moments where I'm watching a TV commercial and thinking, "Is that really Brett Dennen?"
8. Chevy Malibu hybrid - Sea Wolf - "You're a Wolf"
I can't think of Sea Wolf without thinking of our Animal Bands posters...
7. Nike - The Killers - "All These Things That I've Done"
My four-year-old son started singing "I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier" after seeing this ad. Awesome.
6. Audi - AZukx - "Templeboy"
I'd never heard of AZukx, but apparently the Sigur Rós-sounding track on the Audi ad was recorded by this U.K. band in 1999.
5. Lipstick Jungle - Janelle Monae - "Sincerely Jane"
Janelle Monae is the Best of What's Next. Paste says so.
4. VW - Jeremy Fisher - "The Scar That Never Heals"
I discovered Jeremy Fisher through a viral video for "Cigarette," but "Scar" is by far my favorite of his songs. I hope tons of people discover this talented young Canadian through VW.
3. AT&T - The Decemberists - "The Crane Wife 3"
It's songs like this—off my 2006 album of the year—that make me believe there's better music on TV than on the radio right now.
2. GM - Brandi Carlile - "The Story"
One of my favorite young singer/songwriters loaned her best song to GM. It's about a minute long and the song couldn't be any more prominent. I'm generally happy for artists who can make a little (or probably a lot, in this case) extra money through licensing, but Brandi at first turned GM down, and when they offered to use it for a hybrid commercial, she and the Hanseroth twins decided to donate all the proceeds to green causes.
1. Marvin Gaye - Star Spangled Banner - Nike
Abu Ghraib tempered my patriotism. Time and Michael Phelps have helped revive it. But only Nike has so adeptly taken advantage of it.
(Note: Special thanks to my friend Caren Kelleher, whose blog entry I came across as I was researching my post, for the tips on Jeremy Fisher and Janelle Monae.)
Also an honorable mention goes out to Liberty Mutual's use of Hem's "Half Acre." The ad is about a year old, but I never tire of Hem interrupting my regularly scheduled programming.
So, what great music have you been hearing in commercials lately?