Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lazy Sunday # 191: Red Solo Cup

Country Superstar Toby Keith describes "Red Solo Cup" as, "The stupidest fricken song I've ever recorded!". It's also turning into one of his biggest hits, as well as the audience participation highpoint of his live shows.

And he's right. It truly is a stupid song. But it's also fun and catchy and hard to get out of your head -- although I don't think you can really dance to it.

But it also resonates with something which every screenwriter wrestles.

We're all familiar with the light and flexible plastic container manufactured in a variety of colors by the nice folks at Solo (trademark registered, I'm sure). And what's becoming more familiar to fans of the Country genre is how many artists are now working product placement into their songwriting.

To be sure, Country crooners have always sung the praises of products they used or admired or knew their fans used or also admired. Everything from Ford pick-ups to Kenworth Semis, Lone Star Beer, Jimmy Dean Sausages and pretty much anybody sponsoring a NASCAR team has been immortalized in song.

But lately, the line of embedded products has crossed over into what passes for the mainstream. Items that can be found in any supermarket.

When last I posted an attempt to coax my readership into the pleasures of Country Music, I mentioned some of the product placement in Brad Paisley's latest Platinum-at-least offering.

But here's the thing.

It's all over the dial now.

And it isn't hurting the content or enjoyment of the product into which it's embedded in the least.

Now, I don't know if this trend is driven by advertisers searching for the audience that now deletes them from their PVR viewing, or it's coming from artists trying to make up for the continuing downturn in music sales. But if it means I've got something new to bop along to in the car and it keeps Toby recording -- well, where's the harm?

And maybe "Red Solo Cup" doesn't meet the normally exacting creative standards of the man who gave us "Who's Your Daddy", "Beer For My Horses" and the "Shock'n Y'All" album. But then, Garth Brooks practically begged his record label not to release "Friends in Low Places" and absolutely hated the song until it pole vaulted him into selling out 100,000 seat stadiums in 3 to 5 minutes.

By the time he was playing those shows, he'd added new verses and turned the tune into a show stopping set piece.

We, who write, often overly concern ourselves with what best exemplifies our artistic image of ourselves or whether our protagonist will be corrupted if he holds a can of Coke or Pepsi or the producer wants him to hold one while we scripted him holding the other. Toby Keith has found the solution.

Just pour whatever you're drinking into a "Red Solo Cup" and proceed to party.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

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