Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pink Moon - VW - Ten Years?!

I can't believe its been almost ten years since that Nick Drake 'Pink Moon' Volkswagen commercial came out.

I remember it pretty clearly.  I was a big Nick Drake fan at the time and like most of his fans, I felt like I had discovered a secret treasure.  Then, whammo, out of nowhere, Pink Moon is on the TV.  My first thought was "Oh no!".

The commercial was actually pretty beautiful, though, so I was a bit torn.  The more I thought about it, the better I felt about it.

Who am I to want to keep something as wonderful as the music of Nick Drake to myself?  If I really felt like I had discovered this amazing thing, why wouldn't I want to share it with the world?  Would its value to me diminish if others also could experience it?  It's not like I'm sharing a pizza with the world and there will be less slices for me to eat.  Music is like the flame that ignites all the other flames.  Each new flame doesn't diminish the original.

And so what if the song was being used in a commercial?  Was it supposed to bother me that the only reason it was on the television was so Volkswagen could sell cars?  The only reason music is on the radio at all is so they can sell advertising space.  The only reason music is on records in stores is so they can sell the records.  Money fuels most art at some level.  So, Volkswagen hoped to sell cars by using this song.  That's not much different than a record label hoping to sell records, or a band hoping to sell tickets or t-shirts.

And clearly the people who put together this video had strong feelings for that music.  It was certainly created with love.

And, wow, how great that thirty years after his struggling career, in which Drake often expressed his frustration in not having his music more widely heard, suddenly this song was heard by millions of people.  And it wasn't heard as background music in a store or on the radio.  It was exhibited in a clear way that made you listen closely.

It's been ten years since that commercial came out and that album, Pink Moon, is still just as magical and precious to me as it ever was.  For me it acts as an antidote to everything else in the world.  If you wake up grumpy and feeling defeated by the world outside your bedroom, put that album on for a second.  If you are concerned about traveling through the slippery roads of freshly falling snow, put that album on and feel your heart rate slow a little.  If you need a break from the overly loud and flashy world around you, play Pink Moon and take a second to recalibrate. Hell, it can even make a commercial seem precious.


Anonymous said...

No, that's not it- you're thinking of the Trio
"da da da" song. I feel ya, though- I feel ya.

Henning said...

Actually, that Trio song is on my list of all time favorites. Just used it a couple of days ago in a video project of my own.

antwes said...

I actually met one of the guys who made that commercial when I was working at a record store in Portsmouth, NH. In our causla conversation, I remember him stating pretty clearly that among his and his partner's aims were to expose more people to Nick Drake while also trying to capture some of the magic of his music in their film, in essence, trying to bring more artistry to the world of commercials.

dennis said...

well said, henning. it's funny, that feeling of not wanting anyone else to hear the music you love, or not have it be so widespread. that guy don lennon even has a song about that, which goes "no i don't want you to hear my favorite rock group." i like what you said about music being like a flame that lights other flames.

also, totally true about Pink Moon, and this post makes me want to go listen to it right now.