One of the public radio stations in town – I can’t remember if it’s KPCC or KCRW – uses the opening of this song to ask listeners to donate their cars to the station. Or is it “text to give?” I try not to actually pay attention when they’re asking for money, so I’m a little hazy on the details.
But it drives me crazy. NPR and PRI should maintain blacklists of amazing, classic songs that affiliates cannot under any circumstances use to solicit donations. They’re creating a negative Pavlovian responses to a wonderful piece of music and they should be stopped.
This is an important issue, dear readers.
I propose that, from now on, annoying commercials only use music that is already annoying — like the music made by that band Smashmouth.
Filed under: music, kcrw, kpcc, public radio, smash mouth, talking heads
“People Like Us” is at the emotional core of David Byrne’s 1985 film True Stories. The movie is about a town in Texas and how all of its colorful characters are preparing for the town’s 150th anniversary. Perhaps the most charismatic of these characters is Louis, a lonely man played by a then-unknown John Goodman who spends the movie trying to find love via a video dating service. Louis is adorably pathetic, and Goodman is as good as ever in the role.
This song, which the character is supposed to have composed, is an ode to desperation: “We don’t want freedom, we don’t want justice, we just want someone to love.” He mentions picking up the phone, giving the impression that the “us” in the refrain literally refers to Louis and his fellow dial-a-daters. In one scene, he petrifies a woman by singing it to her, a capella, in her living room.
“It’s awful sad,” she says. “I couldn’t have that sort of sadness in my life. Do you really feel that way?”
“I never thought about it,” he replies after a stammer. His look is genuinely quizzical before there’s a flash of realization: “Maybe I am kinda sad. I like sad songs.”
He looks downward.
“They make me want to lie on the floor.”
Filed under: geoff geis, mp3, vanity projects, cover, Cover songs, david byrne, john goodman, omnichord, people like us, talking heads, true stories