As we continue to let the death of tech lord Steve Jobs settle, let us take a minute to honor some of the tunes that he and Apple used to launch and brand the product that changed the way we listen, purchase, and ultimately create music—the iPod.
Not that they are genius DJs over there in Cupertino, CA—a lot of the iPod commercials were phoned in since its debut in 2001, piggybacking off of already immensely popular artists from Coldplay to the Black Eyed Peas. But in another way, they are pretty damn perfect in sound and lyric some of the time. It’s not all just dancing silhouettes and a funky beat here, peeps.
Here’s a look at the company’s five finest digital digging through the advert bins.
5. “Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex” by CSS
Though they edited the title lyric out of the song, the fact that a tiny Brazilian new rave collective would see so much light outside of a Sao Paulo club is heartening, no matter what kind of twisted corporate selling of emotions you subscribe to. This song’s too sexy for Corporate America to handle, with a digital drum snap intro more aggressive than Nine Inch Nails‘ famed early 90s tune about the same subject. And thus it is perfect for the backbone to a commercial about Apple’s merging of its touch technology with the iPod for the first time ever.
Music is my boyfriend
Music is my girlfriend
Music is my dead end
Music is my imaginary friend
4. “Take California” by The Propellerheads
Traveling back in time, this is from the very first iPod ad ever (back in 2001, when the ability to put 1000 songs in your pocket made people do the running man out of their apartment door). Meanwhile Apple was poising to take not just Cali, but the minds of music fans world-wide. The ad was soundtracked by two nerdy British big beat knob-twiddlers’, The Propellerheads, and their take on the same thing the way of the their over-the-pond electronica ambitions, with the only lyric—an uber chill “that’s alright” repeating itself.
3. “Someday Baby” by Bob Dylan
This is another instance where Apple could have phoned in one of Bobby D‘s tambourine or changing times sentiments; instead they spotlighted a new cut from the folk rock icon’s canon that most people have dismissed as passed-his-prime frog-throated drivel. A gritty and simple blues number, it serves as a cryptic allegory about worries fading. Internalize this as the weight of your record collection, or of these fast modern times, like the name of the album this track comes from. It’s up in the air. Like all great art, loaded with multiple interpretations, it’s a good thing for an empty iPod.
You can take your clothes
Put ‘em in a sack
You goin’ down the road
Baby, and you can’t come back
You aint gonna worry po’ me, anymore
2. “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” by Cake
Fellow California residents, Cake, are rock’s most iconoclastic bunch, pop-speaking. Here’s a tune that chases the perfect girl. But in its monotone mariachi punched way, it spews sarcasm in spades—you can’t always get what you want. “I want a girl with a short skirt and a long jacket,” pleads John McCrea in a dry, public speaker howl. Cake slings the catch-22s. Apple is in on the consumer joke. A couple more million iPods get sold.
I want a girl
With uninterrupted prosperity
Who uses a machete
To cut through red tape
And lastly a little rock and roll from Australia’s veritable Nirvana: this one’s the jam, and as with all the previous examples, doesn’t get raped of its artistic credit too much. A ubiquitous subway rider throws on his pod to the scuzzy shred of a “ride with me” chorus. The sea of Apple silhouette iPod post-no-bill adverts that dance is a stellar broadcast of a man and some tunes in transit. It just makes you want to jump a turnstile and score a better pair of headphones. An argument can be had against the iPod for privatizing music as the great communicator into a singular experience, but this one screams community.
Bored aloud ignored the right to be
Invite me down because we like to see
The colors through your loaded mind
F*ck the world and liberate our time