As long as i’m ranting about advertising, i may as well mention another ad trend that’s driven me consistently crazy since ’83 – ads and promo spots that re-word songs so that whenever you think of the song, you sing the ad lyrics.

It’s embarrassing to hear Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow” come on the radio while your brain whispers “just BUTTER it” after every line. i bet Beethoven breakdances in his grave whenever his 9th symphony plays and someone chimes in “Drink milk, love life.” (Clearly, dairy products are the worst offenders here.) As the immortal Devo once said: if you’ve got a dirty floor, you must Swiffer.

Just as obnoxious are modern music acts who “sample” classic tunes that i’ve never heard and make pale faded photocopies of them. i’d always thought there was something appealing about Snoop Dogg’s debut “What’s My Name,” but i couldn’t get into it because of the bravado that was so typical of “i’m a 90’s rapper and this is my first video” introductory singles. THEN i hear George Clinton and the P-Funk’s “Atomic Dog” and it all becomes clear. It WAS a good song, as long as it had nothing to do with Snoop Dogg.

There are so many others in this category:

  • Will Smith’s “Wild Wild West” vs. Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish”
  • Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” vs. Queen & David Bowie’s “Under Pressure”
  • M.C. Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” vs. Rick James’ “Superfreak”

um … there. Three examples for each. That’ll do it in a grade-11-English sorta way, i think.

In conclusion, Hamlet sampling James Brown’s “Sex Machine” is clearly indicative of his hamartia.