Losing Street Cred

HomeYesterday, my friend (and fellow blogger) Kat posted her review of the new Phillip Phillips CD called “The World From The Side Of The Moon“.

I always enjoy reading Kat’s album reviews because she has no bias, and just tells it like it is. She’ll dissect every track piece by piece and tell you exactly what she liked, and what she thought was lacking.

Although her review gave me some insight as to what to expect on his new record, for me personally Phillip Phillips’ music has been “tarnished”; and it’s not even his fault. The blame for it lies with two people: Drew Pearson and Greg Holden, the writer’s of Phillip’s song, “Home”.

“Home” was actually quite a good song, that is before it became fodder. Not only has the song now been played ad nauseum on radio (a travesty into of itself) but its also been used in no less than three advertisements for television shows. I’ve heard “Home” played in its entirety multiple times at the Olympics, on “American Idol”, as the soundtrack for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and even as the goodbye song on “America’s Got Talent”. I started out liking it. Now, I HATE it.

Usually, congratulations are in order when something has that much success. But as far as I’m concerned, new songs (and subsequently the artists who perform them) lose a bit of street cred when they allow their songs to be whored out to every Tom, Dick and Harry.

I’m from the “old school” way of thinking, where a hit song needs to have an aura of mystery surrounding it. Something that let you know that it’s not going to be played all the time. So that when it finally is played, you enjoy the listening experience even more.

At first, it was cool to see Phillip performing “Home”, and even cooler when it started making the rounds on radio. But, when it started getting into the regular rotation of television shows and commercials, it drove me crazy.

Case in point. Over the last year, the following could be heard every night in prime-time:

Randy Jackson (American Idol): “You’re going to Hollywood BABY!”

Phillip Phillps Music: ♬ ♬ “Settle down, it’ll all be clear…Don’t pay no mind to the demons….They fill you with fear” ♬♬

*

Howie Mandell (America’s Got Talent): “I’m sorry, the road to Vegas ends for you now!…”

Phillip Phillps Music: ♬ ♬ “The trouble it might drag you down – If you get lost, you can always be found…” ♬♬

*

Ty Penninton (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition): “We’re gonna build you a new house and Sears is going to pay off your mortgage.”

Phillip Phillps Music: ♬ ♬ “Just know you’re not alone…Cause I’m going to make this place your home.” ♬♬

I know what you’re thinking: the placement of the song makes sense. People on ‘American Idol’ are finding their “Home” by living the dream. Others are actually going “Home” on ‘America’s Got Talent’. And then there are the people who are actually getting a physical “Home” on ‘Extreme Makeover’.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against new songs being used for marketing and merchandising purposes. But I am of the opinion that some period of time needs to pass before they should be used to peddle things.

Great music needs to run its course naturally, otherwise it diminishes it as art.

About James Wood

Influenced by life, love and the pursuit of the perfect song is what best describes my passion. I’m a closeted classic rock/metal-head from the 80′s who loves to write.

Posted on January 9, 2013, in Art, Music and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I’m not a music executive, marketing professional (although, I am an amateur), or song writer (etc.), I do have a pretty good imagination and creative thought-process. What works best for music is to use it ‘exclusively’ in common or synergistic formats, where the song’s sound, lyrics, style or artist is featured and highlighted where it fits appropriately, and where it makes sense. I am not saying ‘promotion,’ per se, but, instead, what I’ll call, ‘cross-pollination.’ In other words, plant it in one place, while it is being heard in only one other place. When this is done properly, anyone’s imagination draws itself to the image of the places they experienced the song or image. It works best, for example, when a song is used first in a car commercial (or any other product), well before the song’s official release. As the first campaign becomes well known and embraced, the song will then take on a life of its own; then comes the official release of the long version. This takes very little effort (or money) to market a song, make it popular, and have it be liked much longer; instead of what you are saying…saturate and flood the sound waves everywhere with everything. Create a two-sided (yes, left-right) marketing plan that is limited; not one where it is coming at you from every direction. I guess I missed my calling……MARKETING GURU EXTRAORDINAIRE.

  2. You definitely missed your calling dude!

  3. I think the same thing happened with the Train song “Drive By” Although I think it was only used for a car commercial, wasn’t it used during the Olympics ad nauseum? It was a fun song, but I cannot stand it now. It really made me look at the band different;y too.

    Thanks for the shout out.

    kath

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