11.17.2008

Melpo Mene - "I Adore You"



A few years back, something strange started happening. People of my generation, and whom I shared interests with, moved into positions at advertising agencies that allowed them to make big decisions about ad campaigns. One of the decisions that many of them made was to attach actual good music to the commercials for the products and companies that they were branding. The concept seemed to work well for all parties involved. And, in no time, commercial jingles seemed archaic relics of a bygone era.

With record sales sagging across the board, commercial exposure provided a new source of income for many struggling and formerly obscure bands. Additionally, this widespread exposure gave them a chance to tap into an entirely new audience, one that never would have heard of them in the past, much less heard them. For those who were already familiar with the "underground" music that was being used to shill a product, they felt like somebody was actually trying to market directly to them. And, to some degree, they were.

The truth is, the use of the music of relatively unknown artists by advertisers was a double bonus for the brands whose products they were promoting. Because the songs were not well known, they didn't have to cough up a lot of cash to get the rights to them. This sound economic decision also proved to be a shrewd marketing choice, as it allowed the companies and products to adopt an air of hipness due to their association, on a subliminal level or otherwise, to songs that were "cool" and outside of the mainstream. Anymore, as many indie acts break into the greater public consciousness through television advertising exposure as through nightly gigging.

While the debate in the music dork community rages on as to whether these bands have "sold out" or not, I, for one, welcome the inclusion of good music in television advertising. Don't get me wrong, I love to know about a great new band or song before any of my friends do. And I've definitely had concert experiences ruined by fans who only came to hear the one song that they knew and then talked through the rest of the show. But, I can also face the issue in a practical sense. If a band that I love gets a big ad-revenue injection into their budget along with the accompanying larger concert crowds, the chances of them being able to record more great music are upped. Not to mention, watching television commercials becomes at least a little bit more tolerable.

Anyway, I took the long route to get here, but the reason I was posting was because one of my favorite new songs happens to be one that I hadn't heard until it played in the background of a frequently run Volvo spot. Rarely do I devote the whole of my attention to the television even though I frequently have it on. Usually, I'm reading, writing, surfing the internet, or doing crossword puzzles too. On one particular day, a few weeks back, I heard a song that sounded like something straight out of a Wes Anderson movie (which is typically a good thing in my book). I was somewhat startled when I looked up and realized that it was playing in the background of a Volvo ad.

The track was "I Adore You" by Swedish indie-pop artist, Melpo Mene. And it should appeal to fans of Jose Gonzalez, another Swede who found an American audience through a commercial (when his cover of a song by The Knife, "Heartbeats," was used in a Sony Bravia commercial turned viral video). This song's soft, soothing vocals and lilting melodies really put one's mind at ease. One listen, and it'll come as no surprise that Volvo thought this would be an appealing track to use in a commercial. If you enjoy this one, it can be found on an album full of songs that I would rate its equals, Bring The Lions Out.
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