Wilco + VW = Controversy

Just when we started to really dig on the subtle, mellow Blue Sky Blue, Wilco’s sixth studio effort, it seems that we won’t be able to enjoy it fully on its own merits. Musically the album seems plucked from country-tinged rock of the early 70’s, with guit wiz Nels Cline providing some awesome solos. His addition to the band has been very enjoyable.

However, we first heard about the use of several tracks from Blue Sky Blue in a series of Volkswagen commercials over at Brooklyn Vegan. And really we didn’t think much of it. Maybe it’s just we’ve become jaded or cynical or just blase over the years, but the whole idea of a rock band not being sellouts is so passe. It’s fairly common and accepted practice for a band to “sellout.”

So Jeff Tweedy decided to allow VW to use some of his tracks in a series of commercials? Big deal. As my reformed punk rock friend would say, bands sell out the minute the sign a record deal with a recording company. Wilco fans are all up in a tizzy. In to step in and defend his brother-in-law is Danny Miller, a writer based out of L.A., over at his blog Jew You Yet?

Regardless, the tagline for the commercials is gonna be: “When you get into a Volkswagen, it gets into you.” Sorta like Wilco’s music.

P4K has a little info behind the commercials.

According to AdAge.com, ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky (which is responsible for designing quite a few other VW ad campaigns) created the TV spots, of which there will be six in total. Each one features a different song from the album, and the first– featuring “The Thanks I Get”– is already airing. The campaign will run throughout the summer, and the car company will stream all of the songs used on its website.

Oddly, “The Thanks I Get” is a Jeff Tweedy track, that didn’t make the final Blue Sky Blue lineup. Anyone else think that new guitarist Nels had something to do with the music being used for a German car company? And for that matter, “Impossible Germany” better be featured in one of the commercials.

Enjoy the commericals that have surfaced. The first is for “The Thanks I Get.”

The second is for “You Are My Face.” [update: The ad agency has removed the videos based on copyright and you’ll just have to watch yer tv to see it or wait a few months until they legitimately surface on YouTube.]

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