Wednesday, September 08, 2004

"From White Castle to the Nile"

During the hurricane, we were left to kill time in the humid darkness. One of the things we did was listen to the constant radio reports on the storm. Having discovered the joys of audiobooks several years ago, it had been ages since I last listened to the radio. Mrs. Mosley will every month or so start asking me about some cute commercial she's heard only to stop short before finishing and say, "Oh, that's right, you don't listen to the radio". Well, I finally caught a radio ad over the weekend, and I would call it more frightening than cute.

Mrs. Mosley and I sat at a table playing Yatzee by candlelight (isn't that romantic) and I heard a commercial jingle play for a pest control company. The tune was light and jumpy with several women singing together about "bugs" and punctuating the end of every line with the word "bugs". It took me perhaps two or three seconds to recognize it: It was the song "Girls" off of the legendary 1986 album "Licensed to Ill" by the Beastie Boys.

The Beastie Boys?!?! I sat there with my jaw open. Mrs. Mosley thought I was simply taken by how goofy sounding the jingle was. I then explained to her the tune's origin and how incredibly surreal it was to hear such a song as a friggin pest control jingle! It's not that the song has incredible artistic merit or anything. In fact, the song is incredibly misogynist and even the maturing band members have said that they consider it a song done by immature kids. I'm surprised a company would want to tap into that connotation. Years ago, when Disney released "The Tigger Movie", TV commercials for it were done to the popular tune "Semi-Charmed Life" by Third Eye Blind. The people who put together the commercial apparently only chose the catchy song for its cheery tone and didn't bother to listen to the lyrics and discover that the song is about doing crystal meth. Of course, the tune is the thing, and it does have a bouncy quality to it.

The outrage is subsiding. If Quiet Riot can be used to sell potato chips on TV, then the Beastie Boys selling house fumigations is an obvious next step. Still, having grown up with that album, It's hard to fathom the amount of time that has passed to allow such a song to be considered for this purpose. I just hope I'm too senile to care by the time they use Marilyn Manson to market deodorant.

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