You Owe Your Whole 80s to Bonnie Tyler; Or, The Importance of Being Earnest

I played Saints Row: The Third, which is crass, juvenile, vulgar, and violent. It’s also a lot of fun. One of the things that makes it fun (besides running errands for pimps, escorting tigers in convertibles, and participating in a Japanese-style game show called “Super Ethical Reality Climax” in which you shoot people dressed as mascots in sketchy warehouse) is the awesome soundtrack. For the most part, the music is delivered to you by virtue of the radio station you choose when you’re driving around the city in your car. The selection is quite good, and it’s where I found out that Talk Talk recorded “It’s My Life” well before No Doubt did. I can also report that, as much as I like No Doubt, Talk Talk’s version is superior. I am biased here–I’m an unabashed fan of all things New Wave. But I’ll let you be the judge.

While most of the music is delivered by your choice of radio station, there are two moments in which the creators of the game take artistic license and interject their own vision musically: first, when you’re parachuting over a cityscape into a penthouse party from a helicopter late at night, guns blazing, they play Kanye West’s “Power.”  It was perfect.  And secondly, near the end of the game, where you have a tough decision and a tough road ahead of you, they play Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For A Hero.”  And it’s perfect. You really can’t understand how perfect unless you play the game. But as a standalone, this song goes in and it goes hard. It was originally on the Footloose soundtrack, but I’m a proponent of working this song into any soundtrack…ever. Probably should have put this in The English Patient and The Color Purple. I kid. But in a world where the word epic is overused, consider the fact that the lyrics to this song start off like this: Continue reading

Liberty Mutual Insurance Needs to Go Ahead and Drop That Mixtape

Has anybody else noticed how good the music in the Liberty Mutual Insurance commercials is? Besides these commercials having a great message (be responsible, let’s all look out for each other), they jam. I don’t know if it’s just some great ad agency out there who should simultaneously be applauded for bringing us beautiful art and despised for reducing it to a tool to sell us insurance, or some summer intern in a basement cubicle who would much rather be working in a record store, but who ever is making these music choices is doing good work.

Most recently, Liberty Mutual has a commercial that features humans being humans and making mistakes like humans do. Fittingly, the song they chose was “Human” by the band The Human League. Full disclosure: I love New Wave, period, so they could have picked most any New Wave track and I would have put it on this list.  If they were talking about life insurance, Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” would be perfect, for example. And you can play A Flock of Seagulls or Spandau Ballet at anytime apropos of nothing, because those bands will always be apropos of everything. Clearly, I am not the most unbiased observer here. Continue reading