Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Trouble With G. Love

"I'd like to buy the world a Coke, and chill with it a while."

I know I may be stepping on some sandy toes when I diss G.Love, his being chummy with the Malloy brothers (who directed the commercial), Jack Johnson and every other surfer who has picked up a guitar, but that new commercial sucks.

For an artist to blatantly pimp a product on as vast a scale as Coke's and to do it in such an uncreative and, frankly, humiliating way is inexcusable. G. Love has become a parody of himself, marble-mouthing his way through the white boy rhymes that lead to the chorus mentioned above. And what the hell does it mean, anyway? He wants to chill with the world a while? Or does he want to chill with the Coke he bought for the world a while? Shit, I don't know. All I know is that the commercial reminds me of the horrible one with Garth Brooks sitting on his front porch rhapsodizing about how great Dr. Pepper is (anybody remember the weird old man playing the washboard in that one?): "Be original, an individual, like Dr. Pepper."

I can just hear the ad execs sitting around a conference table saying: "Remember that song G. Love and the Saucy-sauce did a while back: I love them chilled beverages, or something? It would be perfect for selling our new Coke Zero!"

I remember that song - and I remember it was about BOOZE. I even liked G.Love back then, before he became the soundtrack to every frat/sorority party on the planet.

People may say that it is an artist's right to make money when he can, especially when illegal downloading is dipping substantially into their revenue stream. They may even say that G.Love is laughing all the way to the bank by aiming a sling at the Goliath Coca-Cola corporation. If that's the case, he could have at least looked cool doing it...

Case in point: I have some friends in a band that is less successful than G.Love who sold one of their singles to the Polaroid corporation to promote those small instant cameras that were the rage a few years ago. The band is Metric and the song was "Grow Up and Blow Away." It was a cool track and a hip video, but I think the whole experience left a bad taste in their mouths. A year later the lead singer Emily told me that she turned down placement of one of their songs in a Power Puff Girls episode. I said, "That's cool," but she could tell by my hesitation that I was considering all the other great bands that have endorsed the cartoon and how it may have helped gain them exposure. "Fuck you!" she replied. But I totally respected her because of how cautious she was with the band's integrity. It is a very precious thing.

Music: Metric - "Combat Baby"


P.S. But I totally approve of Metric appearing on the DaKine website since it is surf-related and because I use their products...

12 comments:

Surfsister said...

Okay, I have a confession: I have no idea who G-Love is. I haven't even seen this commercial since I have a 3 year old and usually have the TV on Nickelodeon. School me on this G-Love, homie!

Nice blog!

RuggerJay said...

Chum - I'm kinda torn on the whole G. Love thing; he broke big down here in S.D. way back before anyone outside of Philly had heard of him, and back in the day Redsand actually put him in some of their print ads when they sponsored his tour (O'Neill did the same thing with Common Sense, a pretty big SoCal reggae band. Having seen him live several times, always playing to small crowds, he's a fantastic musician (IMHO) and a bit too different for the masses. Yeah, it was a surprise to see him in the Coke ad, but, really, good for him - he'll make some cash, but I doubt he'll ever become a "mainstream" artist. The same thing's happened, to a lesser extent, with Jack Johnson - we in SoCal definitely claim him as one of our own, but the marketing machine is selling him as some kind of next generation Jimmy Buffett.

Chum said...

During my morning coffee and poopoo, I was reconsidering my stance on my G. Love rant from yesterday.

I thought: If somebody offered me xx millions of dollars to use my drawings to promote the Gap, would I do it? The answer would probably be "yes" because I am just north of dead broke here.

Would I sell out? Most likely, but the trick would be to do it in a way that maintained a certain level of artistic integrity. Other artists are doing it. Over the holiday weekend a was falling asleep in front of my parents' TV and I coulda swore I heard Iron & Wine singing a cover of a Postal Service song. Was it a car commercial? Was I dreaming? I remember it was cool, but that it didn't feature the artist in close-up singing the song. It wasn't a song hacked out specifically for the ad either.

Maybe I am being too harsh on G. Love though... I was feeling kinda grumpy yesterday. I certainly love the Malloys and all of their movies and have a soft spot for anything soulful in today's dingbat commercialized surfing world, including the Donovons and Jack Johnsons out there.

Surfsister, thanks for the post! Lessee here... G. Love and Special Sauce is a band from Philly that I absolutely loved when they came out 10 or so years ago. His blend of blues and stoney rhymes was a breath of fresh air when grunge became ho-hum and hip-hop too gangsta. Check out anything from their first album to sample the vibe that made them great and brought them to the attention of musical surfers like Johnson, who put out G. Love's last record on his Bushfire label.

-Chum

Whiffleboy said...

I agree with your take on G. I actually was turned on to his music while my old band was out promoting our album. A label dude took me to see him in Atlanta and I thought it was the shit.

He was a really nice breath of fresh air in 94-96 that was eventually expelled as an annoying gust of morning breath.

I will give props to his Jack Johnson "Rodeo Clowns" thingy, even though it was a couple of years down the line. I thought it was a'ight.

I heard that slowed down version of the Postal Service song too. It wasn't them???

RuggerJay said...

Chum and Whiff (that sounds like a drinking game!)- you did hear Iron and Wine doing the Postal Service; "Such Great Heights" is on the "Garden State" soundtrack.

My brother-in-law's band Foreign Born is big in L.A. right now, and they've done some music for commercials (they wrote a song for Old Navy); the way he sees it, music is their art, but it's also their job, and they gotta pay the bills.

Yeah, unfortunately G.'s music has become overproduced, and he's suffering from "Guest Star Syndrome". But still worth a listen.

Chum said...

I love Iron & Wine. Too bad they could make my radio play list on your blog, ruggerjay...

Chum said...

I mean couldn't.

crustyripper said...

You guys are making me feel old! But that's not hard. I've heard of G-Love from references in Surfer Mag and the credits on a couple of Malloy videos. But who the heck is Iron and Wine? Saw Garden State but don't remember any postal references. As for sell outs I'm still getting over The Who's "Happy Jack" being used in a Hummer ad. And recently there is some animated ad (can't remember what for) where at the end there is a ZZTop riff and a fish appears to sing "Uh how how how how..." (funny cuz it's a song about a whorehouse). But it seems a little off like they didn't even ask Billy's permission and stole it. How about Whiff of Chum for a band name?

RuggerJay said...

That would be a cool blog topic - Most Inappropriate Song In A Commercial. My winner would be the Xterra ad that featured the opening guitar and drum riff from the Velvet Underground's song "Heroin".

RuggerJay said...

Oh, and Chum - ya need to post your answers to my question on your blog, and then ask three of your buds to do the same. I don't make the rules, I just abide by 'em...

Chum said...

oh yeah... sorry, I don't read the rules, I just skip to the fun parts!

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