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Taking sides: If "selling-out" is obsolete, why do the Black Eyed Peas still offend us?

black eyed peasWill the Black Eyed Peas perform with a man wearing a bird outfit? Yes. (REUTERS/Ross D. Franklin)

Prophetic words from the Beastie Boys circa 1992: "Everybody's rapping like it's a commercial, acting like life is a big commercial."

Today, that sounds about right. The Wall Street Journal recently published an excellent piece about the Black Eyed Peas' numerous endorsements -- and Will.I.Am spoke on the topic with much greater lucidity than he did when Click Track asked him about same subject back in February.

The WSJ article also underscores a new truth: With so many artists now forming corporate partnerships, the notion of "selling-out" seems completely obsolete. But if so, why do we still get the heebie-jeebies when certain artists lend their music to commercials?

For our weekly Taking sides column, Click Track's contributors each selected a recent commercial appearance that we found most egregious. Vote on our nominated offenders below and read our thoughts after the jump.

Sarah Godfrey: I think product endorsements and corporate partnerships are such an accepted way of doing business these days that it's extremely hard for a musician to pull off a truly heinous act of selling-out. ButDr. Dre's Dr. Pepper ad truly bugs me. The commercial itself isn't bad, and Dre has shilled for beverage companies before. But it's heartbreaking that he used a soda spot to preview material from his oh-so-long-awaited super-secret "Detox." And it's not even a tasty soda!

Chris Richards: Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. Not only is Dr. Pepper a tasty soda -- it's the tastiest! But yeah, I was also bummed about those Dr. Pepper ads. However, I was even more disappointed with Santigold's wonderful songs appearing in ads for beer and cars. I feel that she's an incredibly dynamic artist, but America has only gotten to know her through her commercials. So many groups have come and gone as "that band from the new iPod ad" but it seems criminal if Santigold goes down in pop history as the woman peddling Bud Light Lime.

Allison Stewart: What's so striking about all this is how hard it is to be considered a sell-out these days. It's like you have to actually try, which is one of many reasons people find the Peas' over-the-top hucksterism so offensive. The same thing with Beyonce, who endorses literally everything in sight. It seems unnecessarily grabby, especially for someone in her position. I still can't get over Bob Dylan in that Victoria's Secret commercial, though: What was that about? Was it an ironic statement on post-modern consumerism or something? Because he can't need the money... right?

David Malitz: Neon Indian + a billboard + Mountain Dew record label.= chillwavegoodbyetocredibilty.

By Chris Richards  |  April 15, 2010; 2:15 PM ET
Categories:  Taking sides  | Tags: Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas, Bob Dylan, Dr. Dre, Neon Indian, Santigold  
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I'm with Allison. Beyonce, R&B shillster sister is my pick. If I died today at least I could take comfort in the fact that I would never have to endure another Beyonce ad.

Posted by: mcletus | April 15, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

The Levi's commercial for Should I Stay or Should I Go pissed me off the most. Not my favorite Clash song - but still...

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | April 15, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

The Levi's commercial for Should I Stay or Should I Go pissed me off the most. Not my favorite Clash song - but still...

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | April 15, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The Levi's commercial for Should I Stay or Should I Go pissed me off the most. Not my favorite Clash song - but still...

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | April 15, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

So angry, he posted three times!

Posted by: ChrisRichards | April 15, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the multiple postings. I blame the Icelandic volcano.

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | April 15, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

For some reason the Bob Dylan add doesn't offend me too much. Maybe cause it's Victoria's Secret, and that kinda cool, if kinda sleezy as well. The Peas just annoy me in general.

I could swear I've been hearing Spoon in an ad recently.

Posted by: EricS2 | April 16, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if this one offended me as much as it caught me by surprise.

Stephin Merritt's Volvo ad:

Posted by: azaghal1981 | April 16, 2010 1:07 AM | Report abuse

The offensive thing about Black Eyed Peas is that everything about the band seems attuned to being as commerical and plastic as possible. Santi(o)gold doesn't write songs to be used in beer commercials. BEP do.

The Neon Indian sellout is most unfortunate. Being in an ad is not great, releasing music on Mountain Dew's label is very bad.

Posted by: M__N | April 16, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

The award for most grating goes to Beyonce for DirecTV. You just knew when "Upgrade U" was on the radio that it would eventually lead to some sort of horrible commercial. And then it did!

I also disliked the Dre commercial but thought that the meeting of these two non-medical doctors was inevitable. I just wish it hadn't happened like that.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | April 16, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm learning here. I'm also hankering to drink Dr. Pepper while zipping down the highway in my new Volvo.

Posted by: ChrisRichards | April 16, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Over a decade ago, hearing Johnny Rotten and L7's Donita Sparks shrieking for Mountain Dew.

Sharing John Fogerty's ire over his band's classic songs (which he still has no control over) being used for commercial endorsements, most egregious being the use of a bite from "Fortunate Son" for a Levi's commercial totally removing its original political context.

Posted by: ratra | April 22, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

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