This holiday season I’ve noticed a slew of commercials using very similar music. I’m thinking of Old Navy and JCPenney especially. These commercials usually have a lot of beautiful women lounging in sweaters, petting dogs, walking in the snow, etc. The music always has a female singer and is sparsely composed–usually just a guitar or piano. There are no baselines, no throbbing beat, just vulnerable folky warbling. That’s right up my alley. You Tube videos and music credits to come after the jump.
It all started, as many things do, with Apple. Their iPod Nano ad lodged that Feist song in all of our brains, permanently. I was a fan of her and found the video plucky so I never complained.
From there Old Navy picked up the ball. They featured the song “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson in an ad for holiday sweaters. Grab the song from iTunes.
The next one I saw was JCPenney. When commercials are on I tend to be looking at the computer (and away from the TV) so this ad caught my attention when I recognized the voice of Deb Talan, who is one half of the great band The Weepies and happens to be from Western Massachusetts–what up! The song is “All That I Want” and, replete with jingling sleigh bells, works perfectly with the holiday theme. It’s nice to see the group getting more exposure. I first heard of them when they were featured on How I Met Your Mother last season. Grab the song from iTunes.
Then tonight I saw–or, rather heard–another Old Navy commercial, using the song “Stars” also by The Weepies. Grab the song from iTunes. Even though the ad looks like it was styled to look like a CW version of A Clockwork Orange, three times constitutes a trend so I started my research
I found a few others from JCPenney that have similar songs:
There’s Forever Thursday’s “How Can It Be”. Grab the song from iTunes. This is probably my favorite ad of them all. It reminds me (both visually and auditorily) of the “Hello Tomorrow” Spike Jonez spot for Adidas.
And Regina Spektor’s “Music Box”. Grab the song from iTunes.
I’m really pleased to see all these songs being used in ads. They fit the holiday mood perfectly and appeal to the female demographic I think these companies are going for. The music has a playfulness to it, but also a vulnerability–the artists seem to be pouring themselves into the songs. I can only hope there’ll be more. If the agencies of these companies need some recommendations, I’ve got them right here.
Without further adieu, I give you the first AllMyLiesAreWishes themed playlist. I call it “Ice Skating”. Put these songs on your iPod and go celebrate some holiday cheer (or at least buy some sweaters).
- Feist - “One Two Three Four”, The Reminder. †
- The Weepies - “Take It from Me”, Say I Am You.
This song has the most whimsical lyrics: “What can I compare you to? A favorite pair of shoes? Maybe my bright red boots…if they had wings.”
- Ingrid Michaelson - “The Way I Am”, Girls and Boys †
- Jaymay - “Snow White”, Autumn Fallin’.
Another band to come from HIMYM, though not this song.
- Forever Thursday - “How Can It Be”, How Can It Be - Single. †
There’s very little info out there on this band. Anyone know anything?
- Bic Runga - “Sway”, Drive.
This goes all the way back to American Pie. It was used in the scene where Oz and Heather spend the night in Stifler’s boat house.
- The Weepies - “Gotta Have You”, Say I Am You.
This was the song used in HIMYM, more specifically the “First Time in New York” episode.
- Regina Spektor - “Better”, Begin to Hope.
Some of Spektor’s stuff is a little too weird for me but this album is all good, all the time.
- Bic Runga and Dan Wilson - “Good Morning Baby”, American Pie Soundtrack.
Another one to dust off. I’ll even allow a male singer since this song is so perfect for the mix. Plus, come on, Semisonic.
- Maria Mena - “You’re the Only One”, White Turns Blue.
“I’m sorry about that time I put my hand between your legs and said it was small, because it’s really not at all.” ’nuff said. Check out the video, she’s cute as hell.
- Jaymay - “Sea Green, See Blue.”, Autumn Fallin’.
This song was used to underline the denouement of the season finale for How I Met Your Mother last year.
- Shiela Nicholls - “Fallen for You”, High Fidelity Soundtrack.
This song doesn’t fit quite as well with the mood of this mix but it is a track that everyone I’ve ever given it to has fallen in love with.
- Regina Spektor - “Fidelity”, Begin to Hope.
Another great video.
- The Weepies - “All That I Want”, Happiness. †
- Regina Spektor - “On the Radio”, Begin to Hope.
The first chorus is a little odd but bear with it, the second time around hits the message home. “You peer inside yourself/You take the things you like/And try to love the things you took/And then you take that love you made/And stick it into some/Someone else’s heart/Pumping someone else’s blood/And walking arm in arm/You hope it don’t get harmed/But even if it does/You’ll just do it all again”
- Tegan and Sara - “Where Does the Good Go”, So Jealous.
Grey’s Anatomy fans will recognize this song. Tegan and Sara are such a fun group.
- The Weepies - “Stars”, Say I Am You. †
This is the fourth Weepies song on this list. Take the hint.
- Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories - “Stay (I Missed You)”, Tails.
Going all the way back to 1995 the mix closes out with the prototype singer/songwriter that paved the way for all the artists you’ve just heard. History is good.
† Used in one of the ads mentioned above.