Tuesday, April 19, 2005

totter this way

From the NYT:
"Buick's sales were down 22 percent in the first three months of the year, leaving it with sales of about 60,000 cars and trucks, only a tenth of G.M.'s Chevrolet brand. Worse, despite using Tiger Woods as a pitchman and Aerosmith's 'Dream On' in commercials for the new Buick LaCrosse sedan, the brand cannot shake its granddad demographics."
Jesus Christ: Aerosmith is a granddad demographic! As far as I can tell, few things in American culture are more tenacious than this continued belief that Aerosmith is the cool rock glue that binds all generations together. Because middle-aged men remember that Aerosmith managed to ride Alicia Silverstone's nymphette-next-door looks to a modest sell-out-pop-rock comeback 11-12 years ago (yes, it was that long!), they've got the idea that there are still people under 30 out there with whom they can bond about how awesome Steven Tyler and the boys are. Remember when they did that duet with Run DMC? Totally rad!

A couple years ago, I was asked to review an nth edition of a sociology textbook that had long used "Genesis's music is really great!" as one of various examples of an attitude. I suggested that they change the reference to something other more timely or more timeless. The next edition comes out, and the change was "Aerosmith's music is really great!" Aerosmith was formed only three years after Genesis was formed, and was formed one year before I was born. Aerosmith's "Dream On", the song Buick is using to try to appeal to hip young car buyers, was recorded when I was five.

In terms of timeless artistic merit: Genesis(Peter Gabriel in front) >> Aerosmith(Early) > Aerosmith(Middle) > Genesis(Phil Collins in front) > Jeremy(doing "Janey's Got A Gun" at karaoke) > Aerosmith(Now) > Phil Collins(in Buster).

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Phil Collins' music in Buster is cool.

jeremy said...

You are only saying that to provoke me. Don't make me send Martine to rip you a new foothole.

Anonymous said...

Jimi Hendrix anyone?

mcd said...

i'd really like to be indignant and insist i would never do jeremy's bidding for him, but the magic of his three-days-as-dolly-parton hasn't quite worn off yet, so you may want to tread lightly anonymous if you want to continue treading at all.

GreyDuck said...

Oddly enough, I listened to "And Then There Were Three" on the way to work this morning. What a sadly, dangerously uneven album. *sigh* So many moments of sheer genius mixed up in such flawed songs...

Anonymous said...

I think being able to talk intelligently about Aerosmith (and how not young and hip they are) is a sign of old age. Steven Tyler is a grandfather, by the way.

Ken Houghton said...

Being rather older than most of you, I saw Genesis on the "And Then There Were None" tour, and Aerosmith (from fourth row center; broker seats) during their Thunder-Thighs-in-the-Videos comeback period.

There is a target market audience that reacts positively to "Dream On" and Tiger Woods--my contemporaries, and those slightly older than I, who care about golf.

It ain't the Squirrel Nut Zippers/Bowling for Soup crowd that perks up for that commercial.
And the ad agency has to know this, even if the NYT doesn't.

Anonymous said...

But, isn't the point of the story that, despite its age as a band, Aerosmith's music is considered young and hip. THUS, the fact that even WITH the young/hip song Buick can't break out of the old-fart demographic is a sign of the limitation of Buick's appeal to the older demographic?

brady said...

Aerosmith is considered young and hip?

Or too young for a hip replacement, just yet?

Anonymous said...

Q: Aerosmith is considered young and hip?

A: I think Buick is guessing/hoping so. Isn't that the point of the NYT story? Buick enlists Tiger and non-fogey music but still can't change the Buick demographic?

Ken Houghton said...

Aerosmith's last album sold so well half the tour was cancelled, no?

You want "young and hip," you've got the advert that uses the song by the woman who talks about giving blow jobs ("I'm like an alley cat...").

By the way, I just want to put a plug in for Steve Hackett, the forgotten ex-Genesiser who continues at least to be interesting. (His Live in Tokyo recording includes an interpretation of Asia's "Heat of the Moment" that is almost bloody listenable.)

Anonymous said...

has anyone noticed that Aerosmith just sings the same damn song over and over? They should all be called "CryingCrazySexyJaded in an Elevator"

jeremy said...

It's even more of an achievement for Aerosmith to have all of its songs sound alike considering that they generally don't write their own music and so have a vast repertoire of aspiring songwriters from which they must carefully cull to be able to do the same three songs over and over again.