Sunday, February 2, 2014

Music and the Super Bowl

     I'm not a huge football fan. I'm more of a soccer (football to the rest of the world) enthusiast with a healthy obsession with snowboarding (I have a whole playlist dedicated to Shaun White). Yet, somehow, every year I am subjected to the Super Bowl. This year, mollified by a new pair of colorful Asics and a Disney trip later this week, I quietly sat down with the fam to watch the brutish display of...well, I can't really say athleticism but that is neither here nor there. 

   For once, I was actually entertained. There were singing Muppets (ANIMAL!), a new U2 song , Bob Dylan promising me America is going to make my car, and, my personal favorite, Bruno Mars and the Chili Peppers!

     Let's start with The Muppets. They were in two commercials, one particularly memorable for its Terry Crews cameo. You're probably wondering what this has to do with music. Not much except that it has the entire Muppets band singing "No Room for Boring." Just accept it as a gratuitous post and move on.

   Then there was the amazing U2 Super Bowl Ad that premiered their new song, "Invisible", and let every one know that they could download the new song for FREE for 24 hours. The catch? Well, there isn't any catch for you but Bank of America is promising to donate $1 to (RED) for every download made during the next 24 hours. So, you save money and (RED) earns money. Pretty, sweet, eh? It was a nice little distraction from decimation of Denver's finest. Poor things.

    I grew up on Bob Dylan. He's one of the most amazing American poets (argue with me on his credibility as a poet and I will fight you) and folk singers and is an essential figure in American history. He's to America what the Rolling Stones and the Beatles are to England. Savvy? So, when Chrysler was putting out its uber-Americana ad, the obvious choice for narration was BOB DYLAN. 

     The commercial is phenomenal, an amazing visual piece that chronicles the American spirit, showing off its grit and endurance with images of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, factories, hippies, and shots of Bob Dylan through the years. There is something rather timeless and classic about the clip, particularly with Dylan's calm and deep voice resonating through each image. Reminding all the viewers just what the American spirit has accomplished, the commercial is daring the viewer to think that America is anything but industrious and ground breaking. Mr. Dylan drives the final nail into the coffin saying, "let Germany brew your beer; let Switzerland make your watch; let Asia assemble your phone; we will build your car."
     Bob Dylan, with that face and tone, I will only let America build my car. 

   And then there was the crowning moment of the night. 

   I will admit it; I am a shameless Bruno Mars fan. You hear me? SHAMELESS. When "Grenade" came out, I was blasting that through my dorm room right along with My Chem's Danger Days. He's got a great voice and an awesome sound and no one can tell me otherwise. Savvy? Savvy. 

   When it was announced that Bruno was going to be performing at the Super Bowl, I was probably the only person who was not groaning. I told people it was going to be great. New Yorkers know how to throw a party and we know music (we're New Yorkers; we have to know music). Bruno stepped up to the plate and hit the ball right out of the park ( I couldn't think of a football reference that didn't include David Beckham, who looked particularly bored and lonely at the game tonight). He started off drumming and jumped right into his "Locked Out of Heaven" with the full band behind him. He was totally channeling James Brown and Elvis with everything from the look to the stage design (I was loving the moment when we only saw Bruno and the band's silhouettes against the lit backdrop). Then Bruno started doing that medley of songs and, boom, out comes the CHILI PEPPERS!

   I'm not the biggest Red Hot Chili Peppers fan in the world but I can get behind their stage presence (though, please, someone tell Anthony Kedis to put a shirt on, please). Both bands looked like they were just having a great time and a party up on that stage, which made it all the more worth while; it's always more enjoyable for the fans when the bands are genuinely enjoying themselves. It's like fans can feed off that positivity. 

  Bruno's closing number was a gorgeous tribute to the service men and women and a touching reminder of just what those people are sacrificing to keep us safe and free to watch ridiculous pseudo-sports like football. 


   After that, I was really only paying attention to how poorly the Broncos were playing and mocking them and their pain (were they sharing a bowl in the locker room or something because they were totally out of it?) That and I was making new ring tones for Disney. 

  Anyway, while the game itself was a joke, for once, the lovely organizers at the NFL did something right when it came to the Half-Time show; the performances were lively and well planned and it all came together quite nicely. 

  Kudos, organizers, kudos. Now, how about those Manning brothers? Hehe. 

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