What, think I'm exaggerating? "Sony and New York ad agency BBH recognized the song's celebration of sedated pleasure as well as its dark undertone with their commercial. In it, buddies place themselves in their PS4 games and sing Reed's single as they happily destroy each other," Business Insider reports. "The campaign actually premiered right before Reed died in October, but the rock star's death may actually make the ad more relevant due to the surging popularity of Reed's work." More relevant? Good god, man.
It's not the first time the song has been used in a commercial: AT&T used it during the 2010 Olympics, as have trailers for Downton Abbey and the recent horror movie You're Next. And it's been featured on various soundtracks, most notably Trainspotting's. Lou Reed wasn't stingy with the tune: when licensing issues prevented Susan Boyle from performing the song on reality television (so said Reed; she said it was him), he made sure she could include the song on her album—and even helped with the music video. It's been covered by other people, as well.
So it's not as though the song is some untouchable, uncommercializable sacred object. But to see it used so soon and so gracelessly after his death is distasteful, a major bummer, making a song that usually reminds me of walking around Central Park on a sunny afternoon (or heroin? No, usually Central Park), or of what Lou Reed meant to music and also to New York, instead a reminder of explosions and mayhem and crass commercialism. Why can't we ever respect basic human decency if it conflicts with The Bottom Line?
Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart