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"They have 50 pound bags of chicken nuggets"
February 18, 2013 2:38 PM   Subscribe


 
I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
Actually, a LOT
posted by spock at 2:39 PM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


So wait, Jewel was anything other than commercialism, once upon a time?
posted by nevercalm at 2:40 PM on February 18, 2013 [13 favorites]


Art loses every time Jewel sings.
posted by supercres at 2:40 PM on February 18, 2013 [25 favorites]


What is this event.

Why are there people there for it.

Why guitar.

What is happening.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 2:42 PM on February 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


Fuckabees!
posted by The White Hat at 2:42 PM on February 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


"These hands are small I know but they hold the brand-name products at low-low prices I own."
posted by The Whelk at 2:43 PM on February 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Who's gonna save your soul now Jewel? WHO?
posted by mannequito at 2:44 PM on February 18, 2013 [37 favorites]


Nice gig if you can get it.
posted by Doleful Creature at 2:44 PM on February 18, 2013


I know she's really sincere and actually pretty talented but there's just a whiff of....I don't know....the kind of person who thinks "Clan of the Cave Bear" was really deep.... about her music
posted by thelonius at 2:44 PM on February 18, 2013 [29 favorites]


In the mid-90's, when Green Day was punk -- yes, Jewel was once something other than commercialism.

It was a strange time.
posted by incessant at 2:44 PM on February 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


This is almost as bad as that time she changed her last name to Osco and lived in that supermarket in Naperville for a year.
posted by theodolite at 2:44 PM on February 18, 2013 [26 favorites]


Meh, one comment said something like "who cares, kids will never hear this, it's not on the album, so make some money, Jewel". I have little idea who this Jewel-person is, but I agree.
posted by resurrexit at 2:45 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The really creepy thing about this for me is that it's still sort of sweet and likeable. Like an evil Raggedy Ann doll.
posted by dontjumplarry at 2:46 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was listening to Suffragette City, which I paused, listened to about 30 seconds of this link, then went back to Mr. Bowie turned up to 11.
posted by sfred at 2:49 PM on February 18, 2013 [5 favorites]




this is fucked up
posted by exlotuseater at 2:50 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This excellent Spin magazine review of Jewel's book of poetry, A Night Without Armor, as discussed here in 2004, is relevant to this discussion.
posted by ftrain at 2:51 PM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would love to have heard the conversation that led up to her accepting this gig.
posted by goethean at 2:51 PM on February 18, 2013


Still the best Jewel video: Kurt Loder and Jewel bickering like heck (approximately one minute)
posted by Greg Nog at 2:51 PM on February 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is actually a corruption of her "Grocery Store Song". It wasn't originally about wal-mart.
posted by Brent Parker at 2:52 PM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was listening to Suffragette City, which I paused, listened to about 30 seconds of this link, then went back to Mr. Bowie turned up to 11.

Here's Mr. Bowie in a Pepsi commercial.
posted by The World Famous at 2:53 PM on February 18, 2013 [45 favorites]


Her main mistake is that she didn't work with Apple, Google or Coke. But then again, why would they want to be associated with Jewel?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:53 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would love to have heard the conversation that led up to her accepting this gig.

Probably a lot like the one between the new Panda Express that was opening in like 2004 and the drummer of the band I was in except (a) with a lot more money involved and (b) Jewel's stupid drummer didn't say no and rob me of the weirdest band story I'd ever be able to tell.
posted by cortex at 2:53 PM on February 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ah yes, Jewel. That bastion of punk integrity.

Here's Status Quo reworking 'Down Down' into 'Prices are Down' for a local supermarket chain, Coles. The jingle was ubiquitous, and is being promoted with a tour:

Having made a welcome return to homes and supermarket aisles across Australia with their re-recording of their classic Down Down for Coles, Chugg Entertainment and Coles are today thrilled to confirm that British rockers, Status Quo, will be returning to our shores for a national theatre tour in March/April 2013.

Coming soon will be the release of their brand new studio album Quid Pro Quo; a 2CD exclusively through Coles. The album boasts 14 brand new tracks plus the new re-recorded version of Down Down and is packaged with a second disc, the Official Bootleg - Greatest Hits Live, making this serious value for money.


posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:55 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also these Prada bags aren't going to just buy themselves
posted by Doleful Creature at 2:55 PM on February 18, 2013


Look at Jewel: selling thoughtlessness with such casualty.

On preview: hat tip to Greg Nog.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:55 PM on February 18, 2013


As a writer, I'm generally in favour of selling out. I just hope that when she did, Jewel did so for more than Walmart's Always Low Prices.
posted by bicyclefish at 2:56 PM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


So the original version of this song was on her kids album The Merry Goes Round. Wal-Mart has been using it as their defacto theme song. I guess that would be flattering to any artist really. And she said yes to a gig with them - I don't get what all the hate is about here. I hate shopping at Wal-Mart, but on the level of things to hate about art, this is so silly as not to be worth a mention. Every good artist has patrons.
posted by Brent Parker at 2:56 PM on February 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


I gotta say I'm fine with unknown bands doing this. I saw Hayes Carll play for about 5 people and he talked about selling one of his songs to an ad for fried chicken. I doubt he's making much money otherwise, and anything that helps smaller acts pay the bills is good. Whenever I hear Australian bands on the soundtracks to EA games like Burnout I'm happy that somebody is getting paid.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:57 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


IF YOU ALL HAD BOUGHT HER ALBUMS INSTEAD OF STEALING THEM WITH YOUR "NAPSTERS" AND YOUR "LIMEWIRES" SHE WOULDN'T HAVE HAD TO DO THIS, YOU COLD BASTARDS.
posted by edheil at 2:58 PM on February 18, 2013 [29 favorites]


I made it 10 seconds.
posted by odinsdream at 2:58 PM on February 18, 2013


Here's Mr. Bowie in a Pepsi commercial.
Indeed, I do remember that. It isn't the selling out that's the problem, I don't even mind the Yeah Yeah Yeahs cashing in with this Cadillac commercial. Somehow that's not the same as sitting up front with your guitar during a corporate event like this.
posted by sfred at 3:00 PM on February 18, 2013


Omigod the commercially succe$$ful Jewel is consorting with that lynchpin of lowbrow Socialism, Wal-Mart?
posted by telstar at 3:00 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


LIMEWIRES

Oh man, I haven't thought about limewire in forever.
posted by curious nu at 3:00 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who's going to save your soul, now that you've sold it?
posted by New Frontier at 3:02 PM on February 18, 2013


Never hate on anyone else's hustle. Jewel just walked off with a bag of Wal-Mart's money for playing a song she hadn't even rehearsed. I don't see art "losing" here, I see an artist making out like a bandit. Grab your own guitar if you think you can do any better.

I'm a comedian - I'd love to be David Letterman someday. But, I would be beyond thrilled if I made it as far as Stephanie Courtney. Most artists who claim they would never "sell out" just never got an offer.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:02 PM on February 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


My moment of disillusionment came in the late 80s, I think it was, when I saw Lou Reed hawking Honda scooters.

[Aside: In hindsight, I look at that ad and think that the ad company's greatest accomplishment in selling must have been in selling Honda on it.]
posted by adamrice at 3:03 PM on February 18, 2013


I gotta say I'm fine with unknown bands doing this. I saw Hayes Carll play for about 5 people and he talked about selling one of his songs to an ad for fried chicken. I doubt he's making much money otherwise, and anything that helps smaller acts pay the bills is good. Whenever I hear Australian bands on the soundtracks to EA games like Burnout I'm happy that somebody is getting paid.

The question is who is actually getting paid. I know people in bands with songs that are all over TV commercials, shows, movies, etc., and almost all of them sold the licensing rights for a flat fee early on and all the really big money from the licensing is going to the licensing companies that bought those rights for - in most cases - a few thousand dollars. Sometimes that's not the case and the artist is actually getting ongoing synch licensing payments. But I get the impression from the industry that that is not all that common. On some songs that I have synch and mechanical licensing deals on, I got persistent calls for a few months from the label trying to buy me out for a flat fee. I said no and kept the rights and will (I hope) keep getting small checks here and there. But almost everyone I know in unknown and rising-star bands has taken the lump sum and then let some label get rich from the licensing deals.
posted by The World Famous at 3:03 PM on February 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think musicians* not knowing the words and readin them off the floor comes off as a pretty big 'fuck you.' Am I mistaken?




*she gets on stage and makes sounds with her face AND a guitar. I'm going to count that as being a musician, no matter what the haters say.
posted by bilabial at 3:04 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I blame Moby.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:06 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


"The only thing worse than selling out is trying to sell out when nobody' buying." - Norman Spinrad, Bug Jack Barron
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:06 PM on February 18, 2013


Indeed, I do remember that. It isn't the selling out that's the problem, I don't even mind the Yeah Yeah Yeahs cashing in with this Cadillac commercial. Somehow that's not the same as sitting up front with your guitar during a corporate event like this.

Here's the Yeah Yeah Yeahs standing up front with their guitar during a corporate event promoting Verizon's Motorola Droid launch.
posted by The World Famous at 3:07 PM on February 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


Even if you are a sellout, please make sure to fake it for a while. Helps drive the price up.
posted by destro at 3:09 PM on February 18, 2013


I like Jewel. I like her voice. I like her music (in moderation). I'm ok with her doing this. I'm even ok with her doing it for Walmart. But that chord progression on "It's so hard to keep my hands inside the cart..." Dammit Jewel, you're better than that! Play an E7 ferchrissakes!
posted by Balonious Assault at 3:10 PM on February 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Those scooter ads help keep Lou Reed in the rehab program he desperately needed.
posted by The Whelk at 3:13 PM on February 18, 2013


ooh, an internet echo! almost landed right on the first anniversary of the last time panties got bunched over this.
posted by badstone at 3:13 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lou Reed could make gigantic Hummer SUV's cool.
posted by surplus at 3:14 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


The issue here is clearly not that Jewel did a commercial, since it's the rare artist who wouldn't jump at cashing a cheque to have their song in a commercial. The issue is that poor Jewel did it in the most undignified possible manner. Having your song attached to a major brand is one thing. Rewriting your kids song so that it lists the products available at Wal-Mart and singing it in a bumblebee shirt-thinger while trying to remind yourself of the lyrics is something else altogether.

There's a line between selling your song and rewriting it, and I think that loss of integrity is what's making us cringe.

To quote Melanie, who made perhaps the most sublime sale in history:

Look what they've done to my song, Ma,
Look what they've done to my song, Ma!
It's the only thing I could do alright
And it's turning out all wrong,
Look what they've done to - no wait, scratch that - to my Oatmeal.
posted by bicyclefish at 3:20 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can't remember where I heard this, but it stuck with me...I think a comedian was ranting about selling out and then he stopped and said...something to the effect of "hey, people don't just line up at your door and ask you to sell out...you have to work your ass off, just to be propositioned, so don't knock it until you've done the time." As an aspiring artist, this has kept me from belittling those who have traveled far...and then cashed in.
posted by manfriday at 3:21 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


KRS-1 performs The Revolution Will Not Be Televised in a Nike ad. This was when I understood that meaning itself is dead, and that capitalism's penchant for using music I care about to sell things I don't like is only an echo of this fact.

Still, we can shed a tear about it every once a while.

In between tears, musicians gotta earn dollars for food, and there are few sponsors so loathsome that their money won't spend.

The only performer I've ever loved who has a such a firm moral complaint with adverti-singing that he A) won't do it and B) sues you for pretending he would: Tom Waits (versus General Motors)(versus Frito-Lay).
posted by damehex at 3:22 PM on February 18, 2013 [13 favorites]


I see what your'e getting at, The World Famous, but that is a gig, playing existing material in front of an audience at a product launch. Doing that, for some reason, doesn't seem to me to be lowering yourself to the extent that playing a Walmart (TM) version of your song to a group of managers does.

There's also somehow a difference between Lou Reed or Jewel doing commercial work than, say, the Stones, Tina Turner or Bowie. The latter group didn't need to sell out, they were aggressively commercial from day one. For singer-songwriters with a more intimate or counter-cultural sensibility, that's a riskier proposition. Of course, Reed's association with The Factory... maybe we shouldn't be too surprised that he did.

Anyhow, I wasn't trying to make a very coherent point in my initial post. I was just trying to say that my reaction was: "ew, make it go away."
posted by sfred at 3:23 PM on February 18, 2013


Maybe if people actually paid for music instead of torrenting it, musicians could pay the rent and corporations wouldn't corrupt everything we love.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:25 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Honestly, this is pretty depressing, because Jewel has(d?) some serious talent and this embarrassing song is not just embarrassing but pretty sucky too.
posted by threeants at 3:27 PM on February 18, 2013



There's also somehow a difference between Lou Reed or Jewel doing commercial work than, say, the Stones, Tina Turner or Bowie. The latter group didn't need to sell out, they were aggressively commercial from day one. For singer-songwriters with a more intimate or counter-cultural sensibility,


How is Jewel, a lowest common denominator singer-songwriter who peddles in vague inspiration, less commercial than a band who released a song called 'Cocksucker Blues' and had Hells Angels do security, a dude who's an international androgynous icon, and one of the great soul singers? In what sick world are the Stones or bowie 'aggressively commercial'?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:30 PM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Maybe if people actually paid for music instead of torrenting it, musicians could pay the rent and corporations wouldn't corrupt everything we love.

They were doing that long before the torrenting started.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:30 PM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Maybe if people actually paid for music instead of torrenting it, musicians could pay the rent and corporations wouldn't corrupt everything we love.

It's nice that you want the villain to be us, but the Rolling Stones did this for Rice Krispies like 40 years ago when the only way to steal music was to physically steal it. This phenomenon is not going to go away because people stop torrenting music because it preceded the technology.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 3:30 PM on February 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


The war between art and commercialism is over, and art lost.

But the victors then bought a nice, shiny, new Moshe-Safdie-designed museum for art, and that went a long way to heal the wounds, particularly with the contemplative hiking trails.
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:31 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


On the one hand - I'd like to jump onto the pile on Jewel and poke fun. But on the under hand, she's got to put food on the table and make a living.

It's amazing to me how quickly the music industry cycles through white-folk-girl-singer-songwriters.

- Jewel
- Paula Cole
- Shawn Colvin
- Sarah Mclachlan

The list kinda goes on and on. Not everyone has Lilith Fair to help pay the bills. Why is this? Why does it seem like these kind of performers are particularly prone to stale dating by the music industry?
posted by helmutdog at 3:32 PM on February 18, 2013


She was probably the best they could get for 8 bucks an hour.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:33 PM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Never hate on anyone else's hustle. Jewel just walked off with a bag of Wal-Mart's money for playing a song she hadn't even rehearsed. I don't see art "losing" here, I see an artist making out like a bandit. Grab your own guitar if you think you can do any better."

I'm not sure anyone is criticizing the technical achievement of the song, it was indeed cleverly written and beautifully performed, but its not just the base commercial nature of the act that is so horrifying. To praise WalMart, almost especially for pay, is to spit in the faces of the 65% female workforce that labors under 33% female management and the discrimination that stems from, the hundreds of thousands of small business owners and employees who have been put out of work by WalMart, the millions who are denied access to basic healthcare because WalMart provides none, the taxpayers who are forced to subsidize WalMart's economically unsustainable business practice of paying below subsistence wages with what is left of the social safety net, and the hundreds of thousands who have been forced to work off the clock or denied overtime or denied breaks or locked in the store as a matter of policy.

I can see the perspective that would lead one to think that the callous, impersonal, commercial nature of this act would make it somehow less viscerally offensive; but to me it only makes it worse. Fuck Jewel. Art doesn't always need to have some special personal meaning, but it should never be used like this.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:36 PM on February 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


Call me when Pulp re-records "Common People" as "Walmart People". Then I'll be offended.
posted by Mcable at 3:39 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


In what sick world are the Stones or bowie 'aggressively commercial'?

Well, I was pretty sure the answer was "this one", but hold on while I check...

Yeah, that's what I thought.
posted by brennen at 3:39 PM on February 18, 2013 [4 favorites]



Well, I was pretty sure the answer was "this one", but hold on while I check...

Yeah, that's what I thought.


They got rich through years of hard work, reinvention, and groundbreaking work full of integrity. They earned that money. It's like claiming Bruce Springsteen is more commercial than Far East Movement because he has more money.

It's amazing to me how quickly the music industry cycles through white-folk-girl-singer-songwriters.


I like to think its because the fans graduate to really good female singer-songwriters like Dar Williams and Anais Mitchell.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:42 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Who knows, maybe she was being all ironical about it like U2 were in '97.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:52 PM on February 18, 2013


Who will save your soul? Walmart.

With our always low prices, you won't have to sell yours to the devil.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 3:56 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


They got rich through years of hard work, reinvention, and groundbreaking work full of integrity. They earned that money.

That sure does sound suspiciously like they engaged in some commerce, doesn't it?

(And re: "Bittersweet Symphony", as far as I can tell they earned that particular money by already having enough money to steal it, but that's an aside.)

Yes, I recognize that "commercial" has aesthetic and cultural significance beyond the question of whether someone is turning a profit, but let's take a moment to reflect on average ticket prices for a Stones, Bowie, or Springsteen show any time in the last 20 or 25 years.

Really wealthy artists you respect haven't just become wealthy because their creative virtue causes money to condense in the air around them. They get rich by engaging in commercial activity. They sell tickets and merchandise and the art itself. And probably appearances in commercials and on movie soundtracks and at private performances for other super rich people.

It's not just that they're "aggressively commercial". It's that they're way fucking better at it than most people.
posted by brennen at 3:58 PM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


They got rich through years of hard work, reinvention, and groundbreaking work full of integrity. They earned that money.
Your talking about David Bowie here, the guy who put his songs on the stock market?

Jewel may not be as talented as [your favourite band] but you can bet your life that if the Waltons had offered Mick and the lads enough cash they'd be singing their new song "Keith Richards has got a habit so big only Wal*Mart can finance it".

Did the 80s just not happen or something?
posted by fullerine at 3:58 PM on February 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Jesus Christ, Jewel is not the first person to "sell out" her talent to some corporate entity. It's been happening for a very long time, as the myriad examples in this thread can attest.
posted by zardoz at 3:59 PM on February 18, 2013


The biggest kick in the nuts for me was when Mercedes Benz appropriated Janis Joplin's Mercedes Benz first in 1995 and then more recently for a Superbowl ad. Meaning is dead, indeed. There is absolutely nothing that marketers will not flip and appropriate. I mean, Janis was a sell-out too, but she sold-out for awesome stuff that she was going to consume anyway, like Southern Comfort. (http://www.pophistorydig.com/?tag=janis-joplin-mercedes-ad)

My main problem with Jewel here is the marketing to kids, even if it's just the ones at that particular event. Gross. (http://commercialfreechildhood.org/)

Call me a fuddy duddy, but there really needs to be a line that culture sets for marketers that is too taboo to cross. The constant poking at peoples' insecurities and the rewriting of literal, historical meaning in order to sell more hamburgers and plastic junk is not doing our mental health as a species any favors.
posted by Skwirl at 4:01 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think this is more about how awful and gross Wal-Mart is as a whole, on the individual worker level and bad for society level not OMG SINGING FOR A STORE
posted by The Whelk at 4:02 PM on February 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


I think this is more about how awful and gross Wal-Mart is as a whole, on the individual worker level and bad for society level not OMG SINGING FOR A STORE

Yeah, I've always kind of liked Jewel (that first album is, actually, pretty decent for the kind of document it is, and has some interesting people playing on it), and this is fairly gross on that front.
posted by brennen at 4:05 PM on February 18, 2013


That said, KRS-1 should've fucking known better.
posted by fullerine at 4:06 PM on February 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think this is more about how awful and gross Wal-Mart is as a whole, on the individual worker level and bad for society level not OMG SINGING FOR A STORE


Yes exactly. It's the equivalent of a magazine's online site selling questionable advertorial space to a cult. Which, of course, nobody would ever do and nobody would ever get hepped up about.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:06 PM on February 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


How is Jewel, a lowest common denominator singer-songwriter who peddles in vague inspiration, less commercial than a band who released a song called 'Cocksucker Blues' and had Hells Angels do security, a dude who's an international androgynous icon, and one of the great soul singers? In what sick world are the Stones or bowie 'aggressively commercial'?

I'm not saying they aren't all those things. But they were and are commercial acts. Hell, Bowie was doing commercials before Space Oddity. Being commercial doesn't detract from what Bowie does, it adds to it. Listen to Ziggy Stardust again.

Jewel, on the other hand, presents herself as a singer-songwriter in a very different tradition. Can you imagine Joni Mitchell performing for Walmart? Now, of course there's no comparison between Joni Mitchell and Jewel in terms of talent, I'm just saying that that's the tradition Jewel paints herself as coming from, and that's one where commercialism is a problem.
posted by sfred at 4:09 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the difference here is that Jewel could have just sung her songs and been done, and this post wouldn't exist. But she deliberately changed her song into a paean for Walmart. The title of this post says it all: "they have 50 pound bags of chicken nuggets." When can that ever be a good thing? Walmart is a terrible place.

I understand that artists gotta eat too, but fuck this shit. If she had been an attraction at the Kock Brothers' Christmas party or something, singing about the beauty and wonder of the Kochs, would everybody here still be comfortable with that?
posted by nushustu at 4:10 PM on February 18, 2013


Do they actually have 50 pound bags of chicken nuggets?
posted by fullerine at 4:14 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ask Christopher Cross about Dyer Electronics. Ask Kelly Willis about Henna Chevrolet. People gotta eat.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:15 PM on February 18, 2013


Artists should not have to stoop to this level to justify their existance.
posted by hellojed at 4:17 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


People are generally uncomfortable with the transition from youngish, wide-eyed idealism to the cold, more steely-eyed practicality of middle age. I never really dug Jewel so I don't have any half baked notions of artistic integrity orbiting around her celebrity.

Now if they started using a Jewel song like "Who Will Save Your Soul" to market Wal-Mart directly, then that'd be something to worry and whinge over. Because it might actually indicate a death of meaning. And then you could hold your wake for an idea. Or sit shiva. Equal opportunity. Whatever.

But artist's aren't static entities which remain frozen from the moment we first became aware of them to the moment they die. They are people and their needs and actions change over time. They, as people, change over time.


After my initial private snarkfest at this video, this was the train of thought that pulled into my station of consciousness.

"Jewel is still working? As a singer-songwriter? Huh. That's cool. So few of us get to do what we like throughout that large a chunk of our life. Good for her."
posted by SinisterPurpose at 4:19 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Charlemagne In Sweatpants: “How is Jewel, a lowest common denominator singer-songwriter who peddles in vague inspiration, less commercial than a band who released a song called 'Cocksucker Blues' and had Hells Angels do security, a dude who's an international androgynous icon, and one of the great soul singers? In what sick world are the Stones or bowie 'aggressively commercial'?”

Tellingly, the Rolling Stones never actually released a song called "cocksucker blues." It was called "Schoolboy Blues," and it wasn't officially released anyway, nor did the Rollilng Stones appear to have intended it to be – they seem to have written it to piss off their record company, Decca, for whom it was intended to be their last single. And it should be noted that they were angry at Decca specifically because they thought they weren't getting paid enough money.
posted by koeselitz at 4:19 PM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Rolling Stones, paragons of creative virtue. And I'm a huge Stones fan. But from what I can tell they've always been about that dollar dollar bill, y'all.

Taking a hardline against this sort of thing as an ethos is a point of privilege anyway. As far as I'm concerned the first time your parents trick you into eating your vegetables with promises of dessert, you're a sellout, and everything after that is just negotiation on price.
posted by billyfleetwood at 4:24 PM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think this is more about how awful and gross Wal-Mart is as a whole, on the individual worker level and bad for society level not OMG SINGING FOR A STORE


Yeah I get that but honestly by that logic Jewel (or any artist) should never sing for ANY store, because pretty much any and all retail in America is a LITERAL HELL WHERE YOUR DREAMS DIE AND NOBODY CAN AFFORD HEALTHCARE. Wal-mart is easy to hate because they're so succesful and so agressive, but really, every. single. national chain is guilty of serious anti-worker bullshit. So unless she's singing for the local co-op there's basically no way Jewel could get away with this unscathed.

That being said, if I were in her shoes I have to admit I would probably have done it too. I am weak, and I like money. Having money means I get to keep my family.

Taking a hardline against this sort of thing as an ethos is a point of privilege anyway. As far as I'm concerned the first time your parents trick you into eating your vegetables with promises of dessert, you're a sellout, and everything after that is just negotiation on price

This a million, billion times.
posted by Doleful Creature at 4:27 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


The first time I felt as though art was being killed by commercialism was when I saw a car commercial tell me "This car is punk rock!" Followed by an awful spandex-metal guitar squeel.

I can't remember the make or model of the car, but that moment was like getting punched in the stomach. The pain dulled, over time, as I saw there was nothing particular new about this - capitalism eats art. Art continues, though, taking on new forms, despite it all.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:27 PM on February 18, 2013


I was a bit surprised by this development, seeing as I‘d always thought that part of Jewel‘s cachet was her artistic integrity (regardless of what you may think of her actual talent). And we all know WalMart is evil, that goes without saying. But hey, Henry Rollins did Gap ads, once upon a time...

KokuRyu raises an interesting point here. You can‘t deny that downloading music has reduced, somewhat, the revenues that artists can earn from their efforts. So are we to accept the reality that some artists are going to seek out additional revenue in the form of commercial work, or are they just a bunch of sell-outs?

And that is quite possibly the deepest thought I‘ve ever had that was inspired by Jewel. The mind boggles...
posted by Jughead at 4:28 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Henry Rollins is cheerfully flogging Infiniti. Wonder if he drives an SUV now.
posted by the painkiller at 4:31 PM on February 18, 2013


The first time I felt as though art was being killed by commercialism was when I saw a car commercial tell me "This car is punk rock!"

It was a Subaru.

And here you go.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLhfxI8T2cU
posted by SinisterPurpose at 4:31 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


In what sick world are the Stones or bowie 'aggressively commercial'?

Before I say what follows, let me say that I love the Rolling Stones perhaps more than any other band in the world (OK, except maybe the Pixies, Led Zeppelin, and a few others). But I digress:

The Rolling Stones' 1981 tour was sponsored by Jovan. It was the first corporate sponsorship of any major rock tour in the history of music. Since then, the Rolling Stones' tours have been sponsored by Piaggio, TDK, Budweiser, Labatt's, Levi's, Coca Cola, Volkswagen, Sprint, VH-1, Asahi, SAT1 & Radeberger (Germany), Tommy Hilfiger, Castrol, E*TRADE, Suntory, McDowell's, T-Mobile, Ameriquest, Nokia, Movistar, VISA, MSN, Deutsche Bank, American Express, Mercedes-Benz, and Radio Shack

Not only are the Rolling Stones aggressively commercial, they are the band that invented the very concept of the aggressively commercial band. They are the most aggressively commercial band in the history of commercial bands.

Start Me Up
Start Me Up
Start Me Up
She's A Rainbow
She's A Rainbow
Gimme Shelter
Gimme Shelter
Sympathy For The Devil
Brown Sugar

As for Bowie:

Space Oddity
Under Pressure
Heroes

And so forth.
posted by The World Famous at 4:32 PM on February 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


So are we to accept the reality that some artists are going to seek out additional revenue in the form of commercial work, or are they just a bunch of sell-outs?

You mean the reality we already accept, how would that be changed if the straw man argument was legit at all? I dunno, man.
posted by fleacircus at 4:35 PM on February 18, 2013


The first time I felt as though art was being killed by commercialism was when I saw a car commercial tell me "This car is punk rock!"

It was a Subaru.


The heavy metal mini-van ad I've seen a few times is just ridiculous. I mean, I'm sure there are metal heads out there who have given in, settled down, cut their hair, work for The Man & have 2 or 3 kids who need a mini-van, but trying to convince them to buy one because the thing is actually Metal...
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:37 PM on February 18, 2013


It was a Subaru.

Ah, of course. The punkest Japanese car of them all.

Sorry, Datsun, you had your chance.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:38 PM on February 18, 2013


Henry Rollins is cheerfully flogging Infiniti. Wonder if he drives an SUV now.

I don't know, that seems completely different. He's a musician and spoken word artist who also does voice-overs, you know? It doesn't end with "I'm Henry Rollins and I choose Infiniti".

Anyway, from my limited exposure to him, it seems like he's still doing his thing.
posted by wayland at 4:41 PM on February 18, 2013


I'm not sure that art can exist outside of the context of commercialism anymore. Capitalism is remarkably pervasive. You can choose to pursue art in a selfless, non-commercial manner, but even a conscious decisions to avoid monetizing your art are affected by the economy. Creating truly, non-commercial art can often be an act of economic privilege in itself.
posted by Stagger Lee at 4:43 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't really understand why we expect artists to exist outside of the same economic and social context the rest of us do. I can happily admit that I go to work for the money, but it bothers me when my favourite musician does the same. I suppose we want to think that there are still things in the world that transcend economic transaction, even while we blithely say things like, "time is money," without a second thought.
posted by Stagger Lee at 4:45 PM on February 18, 2013


I'm not sure that art can exist outside of the context of commercialism anymore

Course it can, it just wont be funded by corporate interests and thus, be less visible than commercial work.
posted by The Whelk at 4:45 PM on February 18, 2013


I think this is more about how awful and gross Wal-Mart is as a whole, on the individual worker level and bad for society level not OMG SINGING FOR A STORE

I shop at Wal-mart. It is cheaper to buy some things there like vegetables and things like toothpaste, and there is a whole underclass of people you don't see at Thrifty's/Sobey's (name your typically middle class chain with artisanal cheeses and heirloom tomatoes), where the food is too goddamn expensive for no good reason.

From what I understand, Walmart is not a bad place to work, certainly better than the hellish corporate environment I got booted from during the Great Recession.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:46 PM on February 18, 2013


Who's gonna save your soul now Jewel? WHO?

Favorited that so hard I almost knocked it off the page! *spit take*

Jewel's music was fine with me, doing a commercial is meh, WalMart SUCKS.
But...
Jewel, a children's song? WalMart? REALLY?
You suck.
posted by BlueHorse at 4:47 PM on February 18, 2013


This is what you get when you decide music is free and musicians have to find alternate streams of income.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:49 PM on February 18, 2013


KRS-1 performs The Revolution Will Not Be Televised in a Nike ad

That said, KRS-1 should've fucking known better.

Mutherfucker did a song with Sugar Ray.
posted by furtive at 4:49 PM on February 18, 2013


...well I don't know about all the art and commercialism stuff really, it looks to me that she's happy, having a good time, and enjoying herself. If I was a musician that'd probably be my #1 priority, the rest is just art for art's sake, regardless of fame or fandom.

But wait, perhaps she's doing this as part of a larger artistic experiment? Perhaps by selling out, the degree at which she is doing it is a form of art in a Joaquin Phoenix or Andy Kaufman kind of way? Could this be the new "pop art" that could potentially out-do Andy Warhol's Campbell Soup paintings? Only time will tell...
posted by samsara at 4:50 PM on February 18, 2013


KokuRyu, I shop at WalMart, too. Because it's the cheapest place in my local area, and they've run many of the locals out. And I work at a truck stop now--just who said the economy's juuussst fine? Mostly I try to stock up at WinCo, 50 miles away.

But I hate that I use WalMart, and I hate who they are.
posted by BlueHorse at 4:52 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Doleful Creature: “That being said, if I were in her shoes I have to admit I would probably have done it too. I am weak, and I like money. Having money means I get to keep my family.”

My father works for the Forest Service. When I was in high school, because of budget cuts, they started doing layoffs, and although he had seniority, he was one of the ones to go. However, because government is awful and terribly constructed, they did layoffs based on something called a "surplus list." Basically, if you are laid off, you're given the option of taking the job of another person in the office who has less seniority than you do. The stupidity of this policy should be immediate, of course; Forest Service offices are generally small, and ten or eleven people don't work so well together when everyone there has stolen somebody else's job (which seems pretty inevitable.)

Anyway, personally, my dad found himself with a choice. He looked around at the half-dozen people whose jobs he was qualified to take – friends of his, some of whom he'd worked with for decades – and had to make this decision: do I lose my job, and make it very difficult for my wife and three children to get by? Or do I take away someone else's job, destroying their lives and maybe putting their family out on the street?

This is one of the things I've always had pride in: my dad didn't take either choice. He went around to the whole office, working with people and convincing them to build an extra position that kind of amounted to a new job for him. Because he'd been around for a few decades, he had some friends in other districts, and did work for them, too. And gradually, a few years later, they worked him back into his original position. This wasn't an easy thing, and it involved him taking a pay cut for a while. But, though we didn't know it at the time, it meant a lot to me and my brother and my sister. People talk about parents teaching lessons, and I know it seems kind of corny, but that act of his did a lot to shape how I approach moral dilemmas.

I mean, I don't know. People talk this bluster about how they'll do anything to make money to help their family live well, but almost everybody has moral standards beyond which they won't go – as it should be. Apparently Jewel's moral standards don't preclude her from doing Walmart commercials. That's fine, I guess. But I would not look down on her if they did. There's nothing wrong with taking a moral stance against commercialism trumping human kindness.
posted by koeselitz at 4:54 PM on February 18, 2013 [16 favorites]


I remember back when this first started to be a thing, and people came down really hard on Bob Seger for licensing Like a Rock to Chevy. He responded to his critics that he had done it to support Chevy because that was his way of trying to help keep jobs in his hometown of Detroit.

So there's that.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:57 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I loved it! It's a refreshing break from all the pseudo earnestness.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:57 PM on February 18, 2013


I'm am SHOCKED that someone got commercialism into our pure unadulterated entertainment!

The whole system is rotten to the core, don't act surprised. I'm surprised this didn't happen simultaneously with a release of her sex-tape, or Nazi-Party membership card reveal.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:05 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


My favorite Walmart ad song -- hell, maybe my favorite song -- is The Most Unwanted Song, by Komar and Melamid and Dave Soldier.

Just so you know what you're getting into by clicking that YouTube link, here is the Wikipedia article on it.
posted by Flunkie at 5:12 PM on February 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Do they actually have 50 pound bags of chicken nuggets?
posted by fullerine


That was what I thought as well. 50? pounds? Where would you put it? I don't think I've eaten FIVE pounds of nuggets, let alone FIFTY. I can fell me getting all fat just thinking about how I'd deal with that huge bag that's heavier than a small child. I don't have a car. I'd have to rent a station wagon because I'd have to pay extra fare on the bus for the bag. Or bribe the driver with a few pounds of nugs. *blorf*
posted by Zack_Replica at 5:13 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I noticed in Wikipedia that she did some work for some clean water charity. Walmart sells so much clean bottled water, so...
posted by raysmj at 5:19 PM on February 18, 2013


Well-respected musicians, especially those working in musical theatre (where even successes don't make much money) often work in and compose "industrials" when they are not active on a project or production. I know of at least one Tony-nominated composer who does this currently.
posted by oneironaut at 5:22 PM on February 18, 2013


It's not Jewel's first time doing something like this either. I'm thinking back to 2003 when she used her execrable single "Intuition," which had lyrics like "You got something that you wantin' me to sell/Sell your sin/Just cash in" to sell Schick Intuition razors.
posted by libraritarian at 5:31 PM on February 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


When has she ever opposed Wal-Mart's ethos? She's not selling out principles if she doesn't have them. If Springsteen did this it'd be a scandal.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:41 PM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


so, a question for all those people who think this is a gross sell-out to the corporate world -

WHO do YOU work for?

and how is that not selling out?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:45 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


so, a question for all those people who think this is a gross sell-out to the corporate world -

WHO do YOU work for?

and how is that not selling out?


Well, maybe I'm a sellout. But, fuck if I'm gonna sing a song praising my boss.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:50 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, maybe I'm a sellout. But, fuck if I'm gonna sing a song praising my boss.

but would you file papers for your boss if that was your job because Jewel's job is singing songs
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 5:54 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


When has she ever opposed Wal-Mart's ethos?

Bears repeating: "selling out" implies you were opposed at one point to the person now signing your paychecks. She's a musician working a gig; there's no indication doing this one places money before her principles, as we don't know what they are.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:58 PM on February 18, 2013


pyramid termite: “so, a question for all those people who think this is a gross sell-out to the corporate world - WHO do YOU work for? and how is that not selling out?”

I don't really get the point here. Are you sincerely saying that every employer is just as bad or good as Walmart? That employers don't have relative levels of justice or injustice? That there aren't moral limits to what kind of work people ought to be willing to do?
posted by koeselitz at 6:07 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think there's a popular conflation of the idea of being a working/performing creative person and the hardline anti-commercial stances specific artists/performers have espoused internal and external to their work that kind of fuzzes this shit up in practice. The romantic idea of selling out as a mortal sin has a bunch of assumptions built into it that may not really make a lot of sense in practice if the idea is anything other than that basically all artists should starve or have day jobs.

As if having a day job isn't selling out cheap in the first place 99% of the time.
posted by cortex at 6:11 PM on February 18, 2013


Are you sincerely saying that every employer is just as bad or good as Walmart?

they're about average - possibly a little above average in their field, but not much

if you think they're especially grievous people to work for, then you don't know much about what's out there

That there aren't moral limits to what kind of work people ought to be willing to do?

like stocking shelves? running a cash register? sweeping floors? cleaning bathrooms?

been there, done that, and not for any more an hour - and perhaps less - than i would have gotten at walmart

i guess my moral limits suck

look, if you're going to have the game, you're going to have players - walmart's a symptom - it's not the disease

---

As if having a day job isn't selling out cheap in the first place 99% of the time.

yup - i've lived the truth of that statement for decades
posted by pyramid termite at 6:30 PM on February 18, 2013


Who's the big fucking sellout Mr. David Lowery
posted by vozworth at 6:52 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This doesn't bum me out nearly as much as Jewel's appearance in a June Carter Cash biopic directed by Allison Anders bums me out. It may have been on Lifetime, but I'd imagine they could spring for someone like Jennifer Damiano, who actually looks like June Carter Cash, and who can sing, and who'd probably come cheap.

Jewel has always been about commercialism and cashing in on the Lilith Fair thing, and she's always had a high level of sanctimony to talent. Her shilling for Wal-Mart doesn't surprise me.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:52 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


pyramid termite: “they're about average - possibly a little above average in their field, but not much... if you think they're especially grievous people to work for, then you don't know much about what's out there”

I don't mean that they are, necessarily. I just thought it was weird to say that ethics don't enter into one's choice of work in any way – but of course I am not sure you were saying that. I suspect you weren't.

me: “That there aren't moral limits to what kind of work people ought to be willing to do?”

“like stocking shelves? running a cash register? sweeping floors? cleaning bathrooms? been there, done that, and not for any more an hour - and perhaps less - than i would have gotten at walmart... i guess my moral limits suck”

Nah, I don't mean that – don't get me wrong, I am not saying this out of some high-and-mighty sense that people should have nothing to do with Walmart on principle. I recognize that there are nuances here, and I wasn't really making a point about Walmart (or you, whom I respect on this stuff, which is why I want to have this conversation.)

I only meant that – I guess there are some companies one would want to not work for, and I respect the moral thought that goes into that. I mean, take an example: I had a friend and housemate some years ago who worked at Walmart. She hated it, for many reasons – she was ethically opposed to Walmart in the usual way, but she also knew first-hand how bad they can be to their employees. It took her a few years, but she got out of that job and got a job at a small publishing company, work she felt a lot better doing. I really respect and admire that; I didn't blame her for being forced into circumstances where she had to take a job at Walmart, but it took guts and strength to get out of it and find something she could feel more comfortable (ethically and personally) doing.

“look, if you're going to have the game, you're going to have players - walmart's a symptom - it's not the disease”

Well, that's really a great point – probably we have to look beyond the individual level if we want the problems we see with Walmart to end.

cortex: “As if having a day job isn't selling out cheap in the first place 99% of the time.”

I agree that, in the context of the notion of "selling out as a mortal sin," it's naive and shortsighted to expect artistic people to be entirely above commercial concerns. That caricature of what art is about has basically never been accurate anyway, not even in some vaunted golden age of art; people were struggling with patronage and doing art as a support-winning 'favor' to powerful people thousands of years ago. The material necessities of life have always been present, and supporting art – a practice that is not technically productive of any of those material necessities – has never been an uncomplicated thing.

What's tough, though, is that rejecting the idea of "selling out as a mortal sin" doesn't take away the fact we are still human beings living in a world with moral concerns. It's pretty great that nobody who makes music or writes novels or paints pictures or anything like that has to be Shostakovich shuddering before Stalin in our time and place; but it's hard for me to avoid the feeling that there are moral concerns that artists ought to involve themselves with. However, since the structure of our society generally requires artists to join everyone else in finding their own 'patronage,' and since few 'patrons' nowadays are truly horrific (at its worst, Walmart is not comparable to Stalin) I don't feel like we really have room to judge negatively those who do what they have to do to make money and survive in the world. (Which I think is the point a lot of people are making in this thread: judging people for making commercials isn't really fair, ours is a world where people have to make money.)

So I'm just kind of left with the feeling that it is good, anyway, when people choose to make a moral stand with their art. I have a friend whose punk band emphatically insisted that they were going to do everything they could to make their band as "green" as possible – researching the most eco-friendly packaging options (ultimately only releasing their stuff digitally), taking public transport to gigs as often as possible, etc. I respect that, and I think it should be encouraged. I guess it seems kind of counter-intuitive to say that I admire that kind of work and say that I don't judge people who don't feel like they can make the effort, but I don't think it is. Like my friend who had to work hard to get out of her job at Walmart, I didn't blame her for ending up having to take that job, but getting out of it was admirable.
posted by koeselitz at 7:10 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who's the big fucking sellout Mr. David Lowery

it's status quo with their only american hit in 1968, not david lowery
posted by pyramid termite at 7:11 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Status Quo have pretty much sold out harder than any band can sell out, since they exist in Australia now only to market Coles supermarkets.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:15 PM on February 18, 2013


Actually, thinking about Shostakovich's trials and tribulations makes me think of the fact that "selling out" clearly isn't the deepest moral perversion art can attain. I guess there must have been filmmakers and composers in the 1940s and 1950s and 1960s who bowed to the whims of their totalitarian masters and made propaganda for the repressive state. I wonder if there are any rock bands that have been that evil? (Besides Nickelback and Simply Red, I mean.)
posted by koeselitz at 7:23 PM on February 18, 2013


The heavy metal mini-van ad I've seen a few times is just ridiculous. I mean, I'm sure there are metal heads out there who have given in, settled down, cut their hair, work for The Man & have 2 or 3 kids who need a mini-van, but trying to convince them to buy one because the thing is actually Metal...

You're correct, it is ridiculous. It's a Honda Odyssey that flickers into an image of a black panther with pyrotechnics behind it and a Marshall stack in the cargo area. The tired looking family man drops his grocery bag and jug of milk at the awesomeness.

It's very tongue in cheek. I really don't think Honda was trying to sell it as being actually Metal.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:25 PM on February 18, 2013


Hey, man, back when I was growing up in a suburb or small town or rural area or whatever, Wal-Mart was the only place I could go to buy Jewel cassingles!
posted by box at 7:34 PM on February 18, 2013


What I find most offensive here is, do they really have 50lb bags of Chicken Nuggets at Walmart? That's 22kg...
posted by estuardo at 7:38 PM on February 18, 2013


well, that's better, koeselitz - and let's face it, it's a little weird for jewel to be preaching to us the way she did in "who will save your soul" and then to be shilling for walmart years later - she's become an opportunist, i'm afraid - although with her cutesy little girl affectations, i kind of wonder if she always was

it's a shame, because that first single of hers is a real performance with some real feeling in it

but for those of us on the survival level, i think within the realm of legal employment, it's not always a good concept to talk of moral employment, too, at least in the sense of working for an employer who shows good moral behavior towards their employees - that's too much of a burden to place on people who are acting through economic necessity with limited choices - and unless i'm mistaken, your friend who left walmart for the publishing company wasn't just acting in a moral sense - she's probably getting paid better with better working conditions and benefits

i'm getting paid better with better working conditions and benefits, but i would never say that the people i work for now are more moral than the people i worked for at the convenience store - no, they didn't pay me as well, but they couldn't - in fact, they worked more hours for less money than i did with the payoff at the end being able to sell the place

there's a certain scope for morality in business, but it's limited by the conditions of the game - and in many parts of the game, such as big box stores, it's pretty damn limited, i think - if company x doesn't play hardball then company y will

it's a crappy set up we have - my point, i guess, is we have as much responsibility as jewel does and most of us have sold out to it, too - and i'd much rather sing for an employer than stock shelves for them, as long as they were paying me what they're paying jewel

neil young, with all his self-righteousness about "this note's for you", invested much of his money in the 60s and 70s in stuff like parking lots and grocery stores - so he sold out by buying in

i guess my whole point is that being an artist doesn't magically subject you to a higher standard than what others practice in their day to day lives - cooperation and co-option by the system

maybe jewel thinks she's subversive enough in her other activities to make up for such blatant pandering - maybe she's just broker than we think - or possibly, she doesn't care any more

i don't know - but i do question the unspoken assumption that being an artist makes one somehow above this situation, in the sense that their responses and actions have to be purer than ours

yeah, i'd license my music for a commercial, even to walmart, in my current circumstances

not that it's likely to happen ...
posted by pyramid termite at 7:48 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have to say, I haven't laughed at so many different snarky comments in one MetaFilter thread for a while.

And for those of you who made the mistake of actually listening to that cringe-inducing song, let me offer this possible antidote: Weird Al Yankovic's "Hardware Store."
posted by straight at 7:50 PM on February 18, 2013


by the way, they don't carry 50lb bags of chicken nuggets at walmart - tyson's 64 oz bag seems to be the largest they carry
posted by pyramid termite at 7:52 PM on February 18, 2013


Well, maybe I'm a sellout. But, fuck if I'm gonna sing a song praising my boss.

but would you file papers for your boss if that was your job because Jewel's job is singing songs


Yeah, but there is a difference. There's a reason that the figure of speech for giving someone compliments is not, "She was really filing his papers!"
posted by straight at 8:04 PM on February 18, 2013


So it's not even accurate? What's the world coming to?
posted by estuardo at 8:06 PM on February 18, 2013


What's sort of interesting about Jewel (Well, a thing about Jewel) is that Intuition, the lead single for her fourth record featured a very dance/pop sound whose lyrics and video lampooned commercialism. She licensed the song to Schick for their Intuition razor. That was 10 years ago, which makes me feel very, very old.

Personally, I'm only happy when musicians I don't care about make extra money putting salve on the sores in beggar's mouths. Or at least selling out to companies in whose stores I wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:10 PM on February 18, 2013


Maybe she should cover Lost In The Supermarket.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:12 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


so, a question for all those people who think this is a gross sell-out to the corporate world -
WHO do YOU work for?
and how is that not selling out?


There are other jobs besides corporate jobs. I could be a school teacher, or a fire fighter, or a scientist for a public lab or a university. I could be a social worker. I could be a government cartographer.

There are some artists who also, consciously or not, put themselves in the same category. They are seen as individuals who create art for the public good and for self expression, and not for a paycheck. Usually you can tell the difference right off the bat. No one would come in here complaining about Britney Spears selling out. Hell, I'll bet she had a clothing line before the 10th producer was hired to polish the first turd she squeezed out. It's the same reason I despise Bieber and Train and fucking Maroon 5 -- two of which I've seen at private corporate gigs in Vegas due to my line of work. And that reason is that they see music as a business opportunity and not as an art form. They have meetings about demographics before they start the committees that write the songs. I don't know what the hell that is, but it's not art.

I take music seriously because there are five pieces that have saved my life. For me, music is like a good drug: it gets me through the night into the morning. A good number of people are the same way, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. There's the album we played on Sunday afternoons in my should-have-been-going-to-college years. The favorite song of a high school crush. The tapes my mom would put on when we drove three hours to see my dad in prison. Those are important memories, and the music brings me right back to them.

When those memories are triggered by a commercial, we're hurt, because that means the songs are no longer timeless for us. Someone I listen to is now popping up on insurance commercials. He decided that the music he made with his fans was worth a few hundred thousands bucks or more, and that's fine, but he deserves to lose respect because he's put a dollar sign on his art beyond the sticker price on the CD. We're not asking for people to be poor, but we are saying that when the latest shitty marketing campaign assaults our ears, we'd prefer that it wasn't also triggering things that are actually important. Don't turn the soundtrack of our youth into background music for a goddamn commercial. That's about the only saving grace for Jewel. At least she slapped a logo on her forehead this time so she can be safely ignored by people who do care about music.

The pursuit of money is not special, and it's not new, and it's not a calling, and I will gladly lose respect for every artist who makes chase. They don't deserve any more praise than a doctor who went to med school because he liked the paycheck.
posted by tripping daisy at 8:13 PM on February 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


She broke the yolks and made a smiley face.

It was always about Wal-Mart, sheeple.
posted by themanwho at 8:20 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


When those memories are triggered by a commercial, we're hurt, because that means the songs are no longer timeless for us.


Nick Cave: People have been married to my music ... and I just don't think it would be very cool for them to switch on the TV and 'The Ship Song' comes on a Cornetto ad or something.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:23 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


She was better before she had her teeth fixed.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:29 PM on February 18, 2013


Oh man, this thread is great. So many people espousing the virtues of [performer] with immediate examples of that performer selling out! Capitalism!
posted by graventy at 8:51 PM on February 18, 2013


Oh man, this thread is great. So many people espousing the virtues of [performer] with immediate examples of that performer selling out! Capitalism!

There's another fun one - apparently Joel & Benji Madden from Good Charlotte used to be vegans or vegetarians or something. Now they literally sell KFC.

It's not quite as fun as Against Me!, who refuted Baby I'm An Anarchist with I Was A Teenage Anarchist, mocking their own dogmatic stance.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:54 PM on February 18, 2013


Reminds me of the super store from WALL-E. "Buy'n'Large, the super store - All you need, and so much more!"

*shudder*
posted by empatterson at 8:58 PM on February 18, 2013


Back in the day, one of the most coveted Bowie rarities (before it got reissued on various compilations) was an instrumental single, "Crystal Japan", that was originally composed for a Japanese sake commercial. Nothing new there.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:52 PM on February 18, 2013


Wal-mart is easy to hate because they're so succesful and so agressive, but really, every. single. national chain is guilty of serious anti-worker bullshit.

Re: this and similar comments - it's true, but it also seems worth noting that as the largest private employer in the U.S. (and the world), Wal-Mart does kind of set industry standards.

As for this...thing, it's not all that surprising, but my 12-year-old self who loved Jewel a whole lot would definitely have been disappointed.
posted by naoko at 10:58 PM on February 18, 2013


Fleebnork: "It's very tongue in cheek. I really don't think Honda was trying to sell it as being actually Metal."

I think they were. Metal is what they make cars out of.
posted by koeselitz at 11:20 PM on February 18, 2013


*heavy metal guitar version of sad trombone wah, with whammy bar*
posted by Burhanistan at 11:34 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


That was just awful. Is that the point? Was it supposed to be awful?
posted by Decani at 1:14 AM on February 19, 2013


Osip Mandelstam.
posted by vitia at 1:34 AM on February 19, 2013


Well apparently Walmart needs all the help it can get, even from the likes of Jewel... February wasn't such a hot month for the retailing plantation owner giant.
Cameron Geiger, senior vice president of Wal-Mart U.S. replenishment, who was apprehensive about the poor figures at the beginning of the month.

"Have you ever had one of those weeks where your best- prepared plans weren't good enough to accomplish everything you set out to do?" Geiger wrote. "Well, we just had one of those weeks here at Walmart U.S. Where are all the customers? And where's their money?"
posted by vonstadler at 5:39 AM on February 19, 2013



IF YOU ALL HAD BOUGHT HER ALBUMS INSTEAD OF STEALING THEM WITH YOUR "NAPSTERS" AND YOUR "LIMEWIRES" SHE WOULDN'T HAVE HAD TO DO THIS, YOU COLD BASTARDS.

She could have had the decency to go away.
posted by hell toupee at 6:40 AM on February 19, 2013


Walmart's nefariousness as a company aside, I don't really understand this reaction personally. When I was in high school, "Pictures Of You" by The Cure was one of my favorite songs; it was super important to my life and the time period and the lyrics told a story my heart couldn't blah blah blah.

Some years later it was used in a HP photoprinter commercial.

Yet somehow, I can still listen to it and I'm reminded mostly of the girl I exchanged pics with on IRC back in the summer of 99, and I don't think about HP products at all. When I saw The Cure in 2000ish, they were charging $35 for a t-shirt and played on SNL when I was a kid, that gave me a pretty good idea of what "kind" of band they were, and yet, it didn't ruin their music for me.

I'm not trying to be snarky, I'm seriously confused by it.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:09 AM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


That bastion of punk integrity

Wait. Which one?
posted by snottydick at 7:22 AM on February 19, 2013


Apparently many people forget THE WHO's old sixties album, "The Who Sell Out". It even had a song on it called "Heinz Baked Beans". Come on, people.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 8:52 AM on February 19, 2013


In fact, not even Sam's Club carries 50 lb bags of Chicken Nuggets. You can get 50 lbs of lard, though.

For those of you needing to get your chicken on hard you'll have to look to places like Don's Meats, where you can get 100 lbs of chicken products, including "40 # Chicken Fried Steaks" for only $159.95. You could also "kick it up a notch" and buy them by the ton from China.
posted by nTeleKy at 10:14 AM on February 19, 2013


> You could also "kick it up a notch" and buy them by the ton from China.

From that link: "Feature: Nutritious, Decaffeinated, Low-Sugar, Non-Nicotine"

How much extra for the nicotine-enhanced caffeinated version?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:18 AM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]




Jewel was born a country girl, so she probably doesn't have the same negative feelings about wal-mart that your average mefite would have. Although i'm sure she made a dollar or two off of this, I don't think there's any reason to assume that she's just being crassly commercial. It's quite possible that she just likes wal-mart and thinks it's cute to sing about them. This may come as a shock, but there's a lot of folks out there who think wal-mart is good, full stop.
posted by MrOlenCanter at 10:56 AM on February 19, 2013


Charlemagne In Sweatpants, I don't know how you quoted that and missed THIS quote:

Nick Cave: There's a song called 'Red Right Hand', and a sanitary napkin company back in New Zealand wanted to use it, which was tempting ...
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:55 AM on February 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah, it's not so bad. I kinda feel bad for all the hate she's getting from this.
posted by ageispolis at 1:46 PM on February 19, 2013


Walmart's nefariousness as a company aside

This could be your problem right here.
posted by naoko at 9:10 PM on February 19, 2013


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