Monthly Archives: July 2006

"Bargain"

I think no other rock song has suffered more from being licensed for use in commercials. But even if it didn’t make you think of your local auto dealer’s most recent phony sale, you still would have to contend with its unfortunate arrangement. Towhshend dealt his nuanced set of lyrics a blow by turning them over to Daltrey, who has all the nuance of a brickbat to the skull, to sing, and by saddling them with outsized power chords, a maudlin, syrupy break, and an unnecessary intro and coda. I heard it today and was struck by how at odds the sentiment of the song was with the cocksure bluster of its presenation. The voice that is capable of saying

I’d gladly lose me to find you
I’d gladly give up all I had
To find you I’d suffer anything and be glad

I’d pay any price just to win you
Surrender my good life for bad
To find you I’m gonna drown an unsung man

I’d call that a bargain
The best I ever had

is probably not the voice that the Who’s version presents, so the emotion hinted at there is obliterated. But then again, perhaps such a desperate apparently self-abnegating love is ultimately as selfish and egotistical as Daltrey sounds. Maybe it is all narcissism and maybe this was Townshend’s exceedingly subtle point all along. So why not license it to commercials, which trade in that kind of narcissism. Brilliant.

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