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commercial train wreck

Posted on 21 June 2004 by Caryn Rose (1)

I got over my (self)righteous indigation over artists appearing in Gap ads and selling their songs to commercials a lot earlier than most people; probably helped that my goddamn favorite band (the Who) gave it all away lock, stock and barrel. Maybe I just don’t have the energy to get upset about it any more, too.

The utter absurdity of using “Lust For Life” (and conveniently editing out the first verse) for cruise ships is already passe. I guess they thought, no one is really going to notice, right? It was bizarre but no big deal.

However, last night, we have finally entered into the “What were they thinking?” zone, because I swear to god I heard “Golden Brown” by the Stranglers featured in a commercial for Ore-Ida potatoes.


If someone is hip enough to know that this song exists – it wasn’t exactly a Top of the Pops hit, you know? – then there is no way in hell that they don’t know what this song is about. And in case you don’t know, it’s a lovely little ode to HEROIN!

Golden brown texture like sun
Lays me down, with my mind she runs
Throughout the night, no need to fight
Never a frown with golden brown…

I don’t begrudge the Stranglers some coin, not at all. But I will berate the utter and complete stupidity of whatever ad agency put this one together. “Lust For Life,” okay, they edit out the ‘offensive’ verses. But “Golden Brown” – THIS ENTIRE SONG IS ABOUT HOW GREAT HEROIN IS! There is no alternate interpretation!

Surely somebody else is going to notice, right?
Surely there will be a big brouhaha?
Surely some ad exec idiot will lose their head over this?

Nah, probably not.

And this is why it doesn’t matter what song ever gets used for a commercial. Because the commercials have nothing to do with the actual meaning of the song, or what I hold dear in the music. To the squares, it is, and will always be, nothing more than background music.

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One Response to “commercial train wreck”

  1. UnityEvolver says:

    Hello, I’m not from the era of the stranglers or anything, but I do love the song and I swore up and down that was what the song was about… THX for confirming it for me! Unless you really aren’t sure of it…