If you’re a regular at Breaking More Waves (thank you!) you’ve probably seen us reference the Rules of Pop a number of times. Somewhere in an older edition of this hallowed tome there was a chapter (Chapter 15 to be precise) titled Selling Out. However, with the development of the internet, illegal downloading and streaming this chapter was slowly reduced in size, until in 2013 it was finally deleted completely. Why? Because it was finally deemed OK for artists to do anything that would earn them an income, even if it had nothing to do with music. More perfume ranges than days in the week for Katy Perry? Sure why not. A butter TV ad for a member of the Sex Pistols? No problem, that’s some more $ in the bank for Johnny Rotten.
The arguments of art vs commerce became less and less of an argument, because commerce won.
So it was with a certain sigh of inevitability this morning when we saw that one of our favourite new popstars, who we’ve been writing and tweeting about an awful lot this year, was announced as the singer on this year’s John Lewis Christmas TV advert, which as the Daily Mash has pointed out may well be about a perverted old man living on a crater on the moon who is given a telescope to spy on couples having sex or even worse, maybe he's just watching your kids.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise really, even although our money had been on an older band doing it this time round, someone like Texas. After all in the last few years, acts that we’ve written about in their early stages such as Tom Odell, Ellie Goulding and Gabrielle Aplin have all been chosen to record the Christmas advert cover. Whoever commissions the songs obviously has at least some similarity in taste to Breaking More Waves, which means that there’s still hope that Mura Masa or Aphex Twin might get to do it one day. Imagine that.
So is Aurora’s cover of Oasis any good? It’s pleasant. It’s ‘nice’ in the way that pretty much every John Lewis Christmas cover is. Aurora's vocal is lovely and the instrumentation is straightforward so as not to offend the masses, except perhaps some hardcore Oasis fans. It's all very tastefully done. Yet we prefer her own songs. But then it’s hardly likely that John Lewis would use a tune about mercy killing (Murder Song) or returning to nature (Running With The Wolves) to front their Christmas campaign, so Half The World Away it is then.
Of course the sentiment (and let’s face it, every John Lewis advert is over the top f*cking sentimental) is on the face of it very sweet. “Show someone they’re loved at Christmas.” Yes, being lonely at Christmas can be pretty horrible. But isn’t this advert just cashing in on making people feel guilty? Possibly even a bit sad? Of course it’s nice to be loved, but there’s 364 other days of the year as well and you don’t have to give someone a present to show them that. Breaking More Waves says show someone you love them far more than just at Christmas and in terms of music, wait till Aurora releases more of her own songs and feel the love for them then.
The John Lewis Christmas Advert ( Aurora - Half The World Away)