The Super Bowl Blues
The first reason why I watch the Super Bowl is for the singing of the national anthem. It is often very depressing. Too often it is sung by musicians who are more interested in showing off their supposed virtuosity. It becomes an exhibition of how much embellishment they can lard onto each note. The meaning of the song is lost as they work overtime to make themselves look cool.
It was different this year. Watch the video of Renee Fleming sing The Star-Spangled Banner. For the first time ever, an opera singer was asked to do the honors. An honest-to-goodness classically trained singer stood up there and just sang the song (live). She didn’t bust a move, or make up lyrics, or sing lots of wrong notes, as is typically the case. She sang the song. Gloriously. Compared to her artistry, my words are weak. Just watch and listen.
After the anthem, I watch the Super Bowl to hear the music used in the commercials. The only thing more powerful than music in a film is music in a commercial. And this, of course, is the Super Bowl of commercials. A few years ago, the Chrysler and Eminem commercial blew me away. Watch it again. This year, I was blown away by Chrysler and Bob Dylan.
I know, I know. Chrysler is 100% owned by Fiat, an Italian company. Some Chryslers are made in the US. But so are lots of “Japanese” and “German” and “other country” cars. Besides, lots of Chryslers are made in Mexico and other faraway places. And, yea, it’s troubling to see Dylan selling something. Although, he already crossed that bridge with Victoria’s Secret and other outfits.
But watch the commercial. The instrumentals are from Dylan’s “Things Have Changed.” It is accompanied by visuals of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Dr. J, and Dylan himself. The sound of the trash-can snare alone makes me want to rush out and buy the damn car. Morality aside, it shows what a true genius Dylan is. Listen to his pronunciation of certain words like “legacy,” “cars,” “line,” and “zoom, and the roar, and the thrust.” Listen to his perfect cadence. He probably didn’t write the lyrics, but they sure sound like pure Dylan, and only Dylan could have sold them like this when he says, “So let Germany brew your beer. Let Switzerland make your watch. Let Asia assemble your phone. We … will build … your car.”
FYI, the complete transcript of the 2-minute commercial:
Is there anything more American than America?
‘Cause you can’t import original.
You can’t fake true cool.
You can’t duplicate legacy.
Because what Detroit created was a first
and became an inspiration to the… rest of the world.
Yeah…Detroit made cars. And cars made America
Making the best, making the finest, takes conviction.
And you can't import, the heart and soul,
of every man and woman working on the line.
You can search the world over for the finer things,
but you won’t find a match for the American road
and the creatures that live on it.
Because we believe in the zoom,
and the roar, and the thrust.
And when it’s made here, it’s made with the one thing
you can’t import from anywhere else. American…Pride.
So let Germany brew your beer,
Let Switzerland make your watch,
Let Asia assemble your phone.
We…will build…your car.