5:24 a.m. - 2023-12-02
One of my myriad side-hustles in LA was as a music “consultant” for advertising companies. When the ad-execs wanted to use a song in a commercial, but couldn't get the rights to use it, or found the cost of clearance to be prohibitive, I'd give 'em a list of options w/a similar “vibe”. So yeah, I was getting paid handsomely to make mix-tapes at home. Low-stress work, plus you could (should?) be really high while you did it. (Even better, this gig coincided w/the advent of Napster...so I could use my substantial record budget to buy albums for myself and bill 'em w/those receipts!) I didn't have a television at the time, so unless I caught it in the background at the bar or over at a friend's, I wouldn't see the fruits of my labor, which was fine w/me because fuck advertising, really. But the experience did leave me more cognizant of the music they choose to exploit, er celebrate, in ads.
Which is why, when I heard that Shane MacGowan had shuffled off the desiccated husk of his mortal coil, I had a chuckle—one I think the man himself would have shared. Because my favorite misguided placement of a pop song indirectly involved him. It’s a Cadillac ad, wherein their latest luxury model cruises the suburban lanes of Toluca Lake or San Marino or the like, and a leafy scroll of branches and bright bits of blue sky reflect across its shiny black hood as a familiar penny-whistle melody begins and you realize; that's a fucking Pogues song. In a Cadillac commercial. And that the upbeat, trad-Irish accordion whirl is there in service of MacGowan's poetry...including, in this instance, one of my favorite lines:
“So I saw that train, and I got on it,
With a heart full of hate and a lust for vomit,
Now I'm walking on the Sunnyside of the street”
Brilliant. (And come to think of it...perfect for a Cadillac commercial.)
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