Sunday, May 20, 2007

Who Sell Out?

On another blog that I ordinarily enjoy reading, Lawyers, Guns & Money, a guest blogger has written a diatribe against Elvis Costello, whining that Old Declan has sold out by doing a commercial for Lexus. As Milhous said, "It used to be about the music, man."

And as Bart replied, "Slag off." This blogger goes on to allow that for certain artists at certain points in their career, it might be OK to sell your music for TV commercials, but for people like Elvis Costello and the White Stripes (!), it's totally uncool. Do you think he or she has any idea how much money Elvis Costello has made in his career? I bet it's far less than ordinarily assumed. He has never had any hits in the common use of that term, has never been a huge draw on the concert circuit, has never even had his songs covered by a lot of more-popular artists, as great as some of those songs may be. God knows, he deserves to be rich by now for the incredible body of work he has produced, but I'm sure he's not. Plus he's trailing a couple of divorces after himself by now. If Elvis can figure out a way to bring in a few bucks for his work, good on him.

More importantly, though, where does anyone get off telling someone else how to live their life? Someone you don't know at all, whom you've never done anything for in your life but who you claim to be a fan of? That is what is totally uncool.

This blogger also opines that now whenever he or she hears the Shins' "New Slang," he or she thinks of McDonald's, which only suggests to me that he or she is watching far too much television, because I've never heard any TV commercials with the Shins' music in them.

And again, I'm sure he or she has no idea how much money the Shins make, but I'll bet "not much" sums up the situation nicely. While the Shins are serving as this blogger's source of vicarious cool, they themselves are serving as four guys who live in shabby apartments in Portland, Oregon. They're at that stage of life where their girlfriends are becoming wives, their wives are becoming mothers, and a little extra money wouldn't hurt. Does that make them sellouts in the eyes of a blogger? Well, boo frickin' hoo.

I can remember hearing Rhett Miller's voice on a commercial for Kodak, thinking, "That's great, Rhett deserves some real money for all the fantastic work he's done with the Old 97's, and I hope he brings home a fortune from that ad." Plus, it was nice hearing Rhett on the TV. So what could possibly be wrong with that?

I think that if maybe this blogger had already done everything he or she could to support Elvis Costello's career, gone to every show in his or her town, bought every album (including Goodbye Cruel World, which I find highly dubious), then maybe, just maybe, he or she could make the case that Elvis was letting down his fans by being in a car commercial. But if that isn't the case... shut yer piehole.

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