Music News

Arling.Cameron.Swarte

Once upon a time, back in the dark ages (before advertising tie-ins were cool), performers who sold their music for use in peddling products were seen as artistic heretics. But such thinking now seems as outdated as the eight-track-tape player or condoms that only come in one color. Turn on a TV for any length of time these days, and you're nearly certain to hear Roger Daltrey of the Who, once the poster band for rock integrity, wailing about how a particular brand of car is "a bargain -- the best I ever had!" or see spots with Moby or Fatboy Slim tracks percolating in the background. So it makes perfect sense that the Dutch twosome of Gerry Arling and Richard Cameron would not only take pride in the fact that their music has been used in oodles of commercials around the world, but would put out a disc whose title, Sound Shopping, all but announces that their new tunes are for sale, too. The pair even provide their own easily marketable graphics; the "Swarte" given co-credit on Sound Shopping is artist/lyricist Joost Swarte, whose cartoons decorate the CD's jacket. Talk about convenient service.

And the music? It's quite a good deal, actually. "Funshopping" introduces the cleverness with a Bacharach-and-David melody, the happy vocals of Olga Jankovski and Suze, and a hook provided by a merrily ka-chinging cash register. Next, it's "Bad Dream," whose horn-accented peppiness knowingly belies its central theme; "Cowboy Ska," which, good as its word, intermingles a reggae-derived bass line with synthetic clip-clops and the occasional whinny; the entertainingly inauthentic "Bimi Mix"; and "Tokyo Taxi Robot," a variation on the ol' wheels-on-the-bus-go-round-and-round concept that'll have kiddies wanting one of their very own.

Unfortunately, Tokyo Taxi Robots don't exist yet; I checked. But some canny entrepreneur should get busy developing one. After all, music for the ad is ready to go.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts