June 09, 2004

Come & Together

AT&T has a huge new campaign to save it fading brand and Slate's Seth Stevenson rips right into it. I don't particularly agree with Stevenson's critique, but that's not what interests me about this ad. I'm not concerned with critique though, what interests me in this campaign is the use of Primal Scream/Andy Weatherall's "Come Together".

"Come Together" might just be the penultimate Ecstasy song. True enough entire genre's of music developed to almost solely out of their power to mechanically enhance the Ecstasy experience. But "Come Together" predates most of rave music's 90's run, and celebrates not the rush of the drug, but the overwhelm of the drug. An ecstasy song born before the subtle darksides of the chemical crept into realization. Its not just an ecstasy song, its a "just discovered ecstasy and it will change the world" song. Pure, joyous and naive. A rock song with gospel vocals, constructed almost entirely in the studio by the producer not the band.

And now its an AT&T commercial.

But that's not really surprising. The surprise is that its 2004, a time of terror, the reign of George Dubya Bush. And here is a giant corporation pumping interracial image (no surprise), to a song with lyrics that basically say "lets all orgasm together". That is a surprise. A small corporate flower in the immanent wastelands of Bush's military industrial complex.

Is it a flashback or is it a looping? Early 90's revival or an aging of a culture? One suspects perhaps more then anything AT&T wants to turn back the clock a decade to a point were they still were relevant as a dominating business power. And like many desperate forces they seem to be lashing out against the world rather then healing within. But in this context, this day and age, lashing out against world means lashing out against the Bushco ideology, pushing borderline subversion onto the television screen. Come together indeed, bring back the ecstasy, this Bush shit has got to go.

Posted by William Blaze at June 9, 2004 04:57 PM | TrackBack

at&t has no idea where that song came from. i am quite sure the design company picked it out, and if anything in part for the irony of it.

Posted by: mason dixon on June 9, 2004 05:37 PM

"Come Together" is very close to a current middle-of-the-road aesthetic that's developed over the last decade. The song (and Primal Scream of the time) have an almost hippie feel -- minus the social baggage and stereotypes. Clean enough for today, at least.

The ad is really pure cheese if you think about it. Who or what is coming together: you and your smiling racially diverse friends, or at&t's fractured plans? Both? Rejoice!

Posted by: mh on June 10, 2004 09:56 AM


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