Before I get into this week’s post, let’s talk about selling out. This is a tricky subject because I have previously lost interest in artists for what I had perceived to be them “selling out” but was really just them trying a new style that I wasn’t a fan of. It was unfair of me to accuse them of selling out. Artists are allowed to try new things for whatever reasons, even if we perceive the reasons as being that they wanted to change in order to appeal to a broader audience, even if that means losing you as a listener, because that’s their prerogative. And anyway, there are a MILLION other artists out there. And further still, you’re allowed to enjoy their older work, the stuff you perceive as being made for “you.” You’re still allowed to have that – so just enjoy it!
What about selling out commercially? Specifically, artists allowing their music to be used in advertising, for promotion of something other than their image. I mean, how shocked was everyone when Bob Dylan did that Chrysler commercial for the Super Bowl? I’ll admit I was, at least a little. However, I have no qualms about that either! I think an artist allowing their music to be used in a commercial is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
Let me clarify. Have you ever heard a song in a commercial and just HAD to know who or what it was? Thanks to the Internet – especially YouTube, and let’s not forget Shazam! – we can find out! My first memory of such an experience was in high school. It was a commercial for Mitsubishi, though I can’t remember which one. Because one commercial featured “Just Breathe” by télépopmusik and another featured “Days Go By” by Dirty Vegas. Granted, this was some time before YouTube and especially Shazam existed, but I was relentless in hunting down the source of these songs I knew nothing about at the time. Thanks to the Internet, I was able to discover the songs and the artists and subsequently acquired the albums that defined my 2003.
But those will have to be album reviews for another post! Maybe another “Music That Made Me”? Because I can’t believe I left those out…
Anyway, there is a point to all of this! The point being that I made my latest discovery in this way thanks to a commercial for Nature Valley granola bars, of all things.
Hunting down the source of this song was easy enough. But apparently, the band is super duper indie! They don’t even have a Wikipedia page. They’re on a Wikipedia page for an indie record label that they are no longer associated with, however. It seems they can’t even decide whether they’re called Jookabox or Grampall Jookabox (I think it’s the former?). So now you’re asking if they even really exist!? Yes. Yes, they do. They even have a fun little video to go with the song!
This song is fun and a little silly and makes me want to run around. It’s like…Mumford & Sons getting drunk and messing around on their day off? It’s interesting because from what I’m hearing of the rest of the album that this song comes from (Dead Zone Boys), this is not actually their usual style at all. It’s kind of like how people really liked “Maps” and then heard the rest of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Fever to Tell and were confused (some were even upset, haha) when they found out it was mostly screamy garage-style alternative rock. I don’t know why I bring that up, it just amuses me. I need to go back and give a good listen to some more Jookabox.
One other thing I wanted to mention – just as an aside, it doesn’t really have anything to do with what this post is about – is that I have this silly little inner thought (a headcanon, if you prefer and are familiar with the term) that this song, though it’s a completely different artist (both musically and in the video) and genre…Got a little carried away with that sentence…In my own head, I like to think that this song is a sequel to “Ghost.” Again, not musically or artistically! But certainly lyrically. I’ve imagined a music video for it in my head – a little hobby of mine. Oh, if you liked or even know what “Ghost” was all about, give this one a listen and tell me you don’t think of Lewis and Vivi.
So anyway, here’s to selling out! Because, hey, you know what? If an artist can expose themselves to a new audience, if they can get more people excited to discover and buy their music because they happened to hear it in some random commercial – more power to them! I say there is nothing wrong with this sort of “selling out.” In fact, I wouldn’t even call it selling out at all! How about intelligent self-promotion? Because that’s really what I think of it as.