The Most Iconic Commercial/Song Pairings of the Last 20 Years

No one loves watching commercials. typically, they ’ re precisely an annoyance—a distraction from any it is you ’ re actually trying to consume. however, they ’ re becoming a scarcity in many people ’ s lives. These days, more and more of us are cutting cable and switch over to streaming-only when it comes to our entertainment avenues—and if a detail pour mercantile establishment has ads, more much than not we ’ ra inclined to pay the extra few dollars a month not to have to endure them. point being : commercials, they ’ re a dying engender ! While we ’ ra not going to cry over a loss of distracting advertisements, it is worth looking back through the history of commercials—the last two decades in particular—and think about which ones felt culturally significant. For many people in the MP3 generation, brands like Apple and Volkswagen introduced us to hip new songs by artists who would later blow up—or even become our favorites. now we have Shazam, and if we hear a cool tune we don ’ t have to cursorily memorize lyrics so we can later plug them into Google and find the song at hand. Throughout most of the 2000s, however, we discovered commercial songs the beneficial ol ’ fashioned way. Read on for the Paste Staff ’ s favorite song/advertisement moments from the final 20 years. Don ’ triiodothyronine worry—we won ’ t try to sell you anything .

There are possibly few song and commercial pairings as iconic—and crucial for both the artist and advertising—as Volkswagen ’ randomness use of Nick Drake ’ s “ Pink Moon ” for its 1999 Cabrio commercial ( directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris and filmed by Lance Acord ). It introduced me, and many others, to Nick Drake ( the track ’ s use led to record sales for Drake topping those from the previous 30 years ), but it besides set a standard for a marriage of commercial aesthetic and sonic harmony that would come to influence ad spots throughout the following two decades. I remember being wholly taken by the world the commercial presents : the dreamy freedom of driving around with your friends, enjoying beautiful music on a gorgeous night, admiring the placid starry sky. The square house party was not the real finish ; it was the journey there and back, the time spent in a contemplative reverie, that mattered. It ’ mho no curiosity it was so beloved, and is still a standard for those who experienced it during its initial function. It was romanticist and beautiful, successfully selling a feel of aspirational peace and exemption that made you want to set out on your own Drake-scored gamble. possibly flush in a Volkswagen, the brand with which it became inextricably linked. — Allison Keene

It can be hard to pinpoint the here and now you got into one of your favorite bands, but Coldplay ’ s massive Apple crusade for their 2008 album Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends was what first hooked me. Was the deed track played to end back then ? Sure. Are Chris Martin ’ sulfur tortuous, messianic arm movements a piece much ? possibly. But do Will Champion ’ s “ Viva ” chant ( featured in this commercial and prominently at their live shows ) and Davide Rossi ’ s string arrangements still make me smile like an idiot and give me goosebumps ? absolutely. —Lizzie Manno

In 1999, GAP launched a series of retro brands and paired each item with a atavism cut for a memorable series of ad spots. A refrain of models led stripped covers of Brian Setzer paired with khaki slacks, Depeche Mode and leather jackets, Donovan ’ s “ Mellow Yellow ” with corduroys and arguably the crown jewel of the serial, a sweetly understated translation of Madonna ’ s “ Dress You Up ” in a commercial for GAP vests. The diverse—and quite honestly, freaking gorgeous—models effortlessly coursed through Madonna ’ sulfur authoritative 1984 cut off of the germinal Like A Virgin album. But this was 1999, dirt was all over, pop was hep again, and dammit if GAP didn ’ triiodothyronine gather some unplayful nostalgic chilliness points with this one. They even featured a youthful Rashida Jones as one of the models ( that ’ s her in the bolshevik singlet with the delectable voice at the 00:17 commemorate ) in not barely this clip, but besides at the fag end end of the “ Mellow Yellow ” khakis descry. These days, I hush love going back through Madonna ’ second discography ( highly recommended road trip cannon fodder ) but when “ Dress You Up ” comes on, it barely hits different…because it takes me back to when I was 16 and GAP made certain that I didn ’ t forget how flat-out dateless Madonna was, careless of whether or not I bought the bloody vest. —Adrian Spinelli

possibly the most iconic Apple commercial of all the iconic Apple commercials is Feist ’ s 15-minutes-of-fame moment brought on by this rainbow ipod Nano descry. The folk-pop ( sometimes rock ) singer/songwriter didn ’ t quite garner the like attention as other indie-folk giants of her era, but this convenient chew provided her with some much-deserved care in pop culture. The birdcall “ 1234, ” one of Feist ’ s poppiest renderings, remains a enchant, and the commercial itself made us all want to choreograph our own motley dance numbers—oh, and an ipod Nano. —Ellen Johnson

arguably their biggest hit adjacent to “ Lisztomania, ” Phoenix ’ s “ 1901 ” ( from 2009 ’ sulfur still-perfect Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix ) barely sounds like a car commercial—in the best way possible. It ’ randomness streamlined, slick, kinetic. It merely makes you want to go outside and run about for a while—or possibly go hop in your car and rack up some mileage. Cadillac had the like theme when they had the wherewithal to attach the song to a commercial back in 2009—just after the album ’ mho unblock. It fits with the classic white-guy-in-sweater-driving-at-night car commercial motif, but adds fair a little more color. Shoutout to Cadillac for zooming in on the thumbnail on the small ipod screen in the passenger ’ s seat—we may not have all fallen in love with Phoenix otherwise. —Ellen Johnson

I unironically love this song and used to get it stick in my steer all the time as a child. Madness ’ “ Our House ” is pure, G-rated pop at its finest. This ode to the family whole is maddeningly corny on paper, but Suggs ’ cheerful, charming voice gives it an undeniable zest. The Maxwell House rendition of this song, featuring coffee-themed lyrics, doesn ’ t precisely evade cheesiness like Madness ’ version, but I ’ thousand decidedly not immune to the bathetic Full House energy that ’ s radiating from this commercial. —Lizzie Manno

This commercial was buzzy deoxyadenosine monophosphate soon as it was released. Featuring a groovy song by Anderson .Paak and some slick dance moves by FKA twigs and steering by Spike Jonze, this small number was reasonably much unstoppable from the begin. edit versions of the vibrant unretentive film graced our television receiver screens for months, but the real magic happens in the gallop cut, which you can watch below. FKA twig is good another exhaust member of the work force looking for something unlike in the mundane, and she finds it upon realizing dance has the power to transport you anywhere. visually, it works more like a high-budget music video than a commercial, which is why it ’ s so effective. But it ’ s calm not effective enough to get me to buy an Apple HomePod when I can scoop an Amazon Alexa for a one-third of the price. —Ellen Johnson

This may be the most recent entry on this list, worthy of inclusion body chiefly because it ’ second pretty shocking no one think of this concept ahead. The sweeping folk-pop number from The Avett Brothers I And Love And You has insurance commercial written all over it. Protect yourself and your family from the “ darkness ” and “ doubt ” with a bang-up life indemnity package, and you ’ ll never have to worry again. It ’ s not precisely the mean behind “ Head Full Of Doubt, ” a sung that ’ randomness obviously apparitional in nature, but hey : It works. And every time I hear that rousing chorus leaking from my speakers, I can ’ t assistant but feel at ease. —Ellen Johnson

I mean, need I say more ? long have I been fascinated by perfume commercials, with their diaphanous light up, bizarre ruse, and excessively style fripperies, but this holy place trinity of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Rooney Mara, and David Fincher is the zenith of ads de parfum. As opposed to Klein ’ s vastly popular Euphoria, Downtown is a odorize aimed at younger “ trendsetting ” women, and there was never a more arrant face for that goal than Rooney Mara. Alongside Mara is “ Runaway, ” an underestimate lead from Yeah Yeah Yeahs ’ 2009 electropunk album It’s Blitz!. Karen O ’ s doleful part is paired with simple piano chords writhe with tension out of a noir film. The commercial has a beautiful feel of apparent motion, with cascading fabrics and flipping pages, and, as we follow Mara throughout her day, we very do want to be her. That ’ s what a perfume ad is supposed to do, right ? It ’ s equally bewitching as the perfume itself. —Austin Jones

It feels like The Vines ’ “ Ride ” accompanied every vaguely white suburban collage from the 2000s. Movies like Agent Cody Banks and Kicking and Screaming were peculiarly amuse examples, but this song backed a number of big brand commercials excessively, like Apple, Nissan and NASCAR. Looking back at the Apple commercial which featured the song, it ’ second harebrained that a goateed dandy with a chaotic zip up hoodie and suit jacket jazz band and one of the identical inaugural ipod models was seen as cutting border, but I digress. Oh, to be a skateboarder in a mid-2000s commercial backed by The Vines. —Lizzie Manno

Any of the Swiffer commercials featuring sad, jealous brooms and mops would be solid choices here, like the ones featuring The Isley Brothers ’ “ That Lady ” and Player ’ s “ Baby Come Back, ” but The Human League ’ s “ Don ’ t You Want maine ” will always win. Plus, the heart-whole attack from the nerdy, space age DJ—insane handlebar mustache and all—to reunify Mary and Mr. Broom is the kind of absolutely pathetic but tuneful faceplant deserving commemorating. —Lizzie Manno

It takes real wrench ad genius to introduce Bright Eyes ’ “ First Day of My Life ” to folks making a huge fiscal choices. Millennials won ’ t flush get to own homes, but Zillow has to rub it in their face that they ’ ra not just looking for a house. They ’ re obviously looking for a place for the inaugural days of their lives to happen. If you thought it was bad adequate to allow the aching seriousness of Conor Oberst ’ s warbling voice to score the beginning of raw relationships, think of what kinds of brainsick decisions you ’ ll make if you hum it during an open house. —Jane Song

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