Went home last week for a couple of days to see the parents and sibs in the wilds of central Wisconsin. Watched a lot of TV. At chez Kirschling, that meant Brewers and Twins games, a bit of Wimbledon, CNN Headline News in the mornings, half a Deal or No Deal, AFV, and — because my parents don’t have DVR — lots and lots of commercials. Kept stumbling across these Volkswagen ads I guess I’ve been fast-forwarding through in New York. You seen ‘em, the ones scored with tunes mostly off Wilco’s new album, Sky Blue Sky?
Well, a strange thing happened to me as I sat through these heavily-replayed commercials OVER AND OVER again: I started to like the new Wilco album a whole lot more than I thought I did. I’ve been listening to Sky Blue Sky for the past two months, and I’d pretty much concluded that while I ultimately respected it as a noble move in a different direction for Jeff Tweedy and Co., I was also slightly let down that it didn’t really live up to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot or especially A Ghost is Born (an album as absolutely good as it gets in my book, even with that 15 minutes of fuzz). Now, suddenly, listening to songs like “Sky Blue Sky” (used in the ad below) and “You Are My Face” in car-commercial context, I’m all over most of the album again, as if with new ears — especially the opener, “Either Way,” which I currently can’t stop replaying.
Is that weird? Am I a consumerist whore? Is Wilco? I say no on all counts. (Go here, left column down, to find Wilco rightfully defending itself.) Doesn’t that happen to you, where you hear an old song in a new pop-culture context, and suddenly you’re in love with it in a way you weren’t before? Which song was it? Go ahead and post your stories below. Or else explain it to me why it’s not more okay than ever for a band to make money and hook in new listeners by selling their music to TV, when huge numbers of us aren’t paying for their music at all anymore anyway?