Tuesday, December 06, 2016

incidental music spot of the day

Smashing Pumpkins' Bullet With Butterfly Wings on the new trailer for WWI-themed first-person massacre-fest Battlefield 1. Previous trailers for the same game featured Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes (strictly it's a remixed version of the original), which has a similarly ominous bass-driven opening section, although as tediously pointed out here, it's not technically played on a bass guitar at all.

I'm a big fan of Smashing Pumpkins, but I'd be an even bigger fan if their music was mixed differently - in common with most of the songs on the otherwise excellent Siamese Dream, Bullet (which is from the ludicrously ambitious follow-up double album Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness) has the guitars too low in the mix compared to Billy Corgan's vocals, for my taste anyway. The guitars should really fizz and roar out at you in the chorus, with the vocals having to make themselves heard over the top, and that doesn't quite happen.

With reference to that earlier list, Bullet With Butterfly Wings could be a starting entry on another, similar list: songs where there's a vocal-only bit (the "the world is a vampire" line) before the backing music kicks in. I daresay there are hundreds of these, so I'm not going to attempt to construct another list, but you can have Accidents Will Happen by Elvis Costello & The Attractions as your second entry if you like.

Back to TV adverts for a moment, and with reference to this old post musing on when Appletise turned into Appletiser: at what point did adverts for the myriad labour-saving electronic gizmos manufactured by Braun stop pronouncing it "Brawn" and start pronouncing it "Brown"? You'll remember these excruciating 1980s adverts - don't be distracted by the implication that you might want to curl your hair in the middle of a tennis match, listen instead to the pronunciation of the manufacturer's name. Then compare and contrast with these newer adverts. Weirdly, the new rule doesn't seem to have been applied consistently - this advert which appears to be very new still has the old Anglicised pronunciation.

A couple of the recent adverts opt out of saying the name altogether, or indeed saying anything at all, preferring either to give us some words and pictures over a moody electric piano backing, or just to dispense with the product altogether and give us some artfully-posed soft porn featuring the lovely Jessica Alba. And who could blame them?

It's "Brown" with a UK/US "r" sound, mind you, not "Braun" with the full European back-of-the-throat rasp. I guess there's only so much Anglophone audiences can take; plus, I suppose, the full Germanic bark might have conjured up thoughts of a couple of people who bore the name not so long ago who you might not want associated with your grooming products - unless, I suppose, your marketing guys wanted to imply that, for instance, your depilation products would conduct a MERCILESS SWEEP through your lower limb areas, eliminating everything in their path.

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