Monday, August 25, 2008


My latest favorite blipvert is for the Norfolk Southern Railroad. "Lonely Gallon" features a family of gas cans as they make a perilous trek through the Shenandoah Valley to rendezvous with the train.

It's a given that I would love this commercial because it is so Toobworld - inanimate objects coming to life and giving me, as the Televisiologist and caretaker of Toobworld, the opportunity to provide a splainin as to why gas cans can come to life in the TV Universe.

But it also has to do with that sweet, sweet song that backs up the blipvert, "You Don't Need Me".

The 3 minutes and 45 second full version of the song is available for download at this Norfolk-Southern website page. It was written by Ravi Krishnaswami of Sacred Music and Steve Kolander of the J. Walter Thompson Agency in Atlanta. It was composed specifically for this commercial.

Even so, it's as good as any of the Americana songs I hear on WFUV out of Fordham University. And I wouldn't be surprised if someday the song is released as a single. For alls I know (as Stuart Best would say on 'Murphy Brown'), it already has.

Ravi Krishnaswami has a great
blog/website in which you can learn more about him and his music for TV commercials as well as for the groups he works with here. (I think he goes by the name of Ravi Marr when performing with the group Charming.)

Working with Sacred Noise, Krishnaswami has scored commercials for clients like Pontiac, the Army, Burger King, Coca-Cola, and Sears. (Most of the music for those ads are of a movie soundtrack style. Very few are actually songs like the one used for Norfolk Southern.)
He's also been composing music for documentaries like "Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq", which aired on HBO last year. You can also hear his scores for two feature-length documentaries, "Oracles & Demons Of Ladakh" and "American Zeitgeist".

He's a bit of a scholar as well. At a conference for the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, Krishnaswami presented work on music used in advertising.

Every so often a commercial comes along which introduces me to a great song. The best example is
"Pink Moon" used for the VW Cabrio. Had it not been for that blipvert, I might never have discovered the late Nick Drake.
Earlier this year there was a great blipvert from Australia for Honda. The ad is called "Whooosh!", and featured a guy flying through the skies under his own power. That commercial had a very addictive bluegrass tune. (A frame grab from it now serves as one of my computer wallpapers!)

I downloaded "You Don't Need Me", and I'm listening to it now. I'll probably be listening to it off and on all day. I may never have need personally for the services of Norfolk Southern Railroad, but I'll always be appreciative to them for clueing me in to this music.....

Toby O'B

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