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Top Eight Worse FUCKING Ukelele FUCKING Breathy-Voiced FUCKING Covers For FUCKING Adverts

I can't think of any more because I don't want my head to explode with rage.

1. Dogs Trust - 'I Only Want To Be With You
2. Renault Zoe - That's Entertainment
3. McDonalds - Rhythm Of The Night 
4. T-Mobile - Teenage Kicks
5. Lloyds Bank - Mad World 
6. Kia - Ever Fallen In Love 
7. John Lewis - Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
8. Chanel No.5 - You're The One That I Want 

My uke-hate I think came to a peak with an ad from last year. I blamed Lily Allen for the mannered vocal unmanneredness, Mumford & Sons for the fucking ukeleles, David Cameron for the ideological basis for it all, but it was AXA Insurance I blamed for that appaling cover of 'Little Things Mean A Lot"  and they will therefore burn for all eternity in the skin-flaying flames of hell, alongside Dave, Lily and The Mumfucks. Artists (esp. Britschool-alumni-style priveliged CatPowerfan-feckers like Ellie Goulding, regardless of whether she's used ukeleles) haven't helped either - seem keen to forge this new nexus between the most revoltingly pally of commerce and the most revolting 'fragile' music. Those voices, you know the ones. Those fucking windswept 'cracked' voices with a deliberate complete lack of oomph. As I said in a review of one of Goulding's dogshit songs: 

"What's so horrible at the moment is that the most dangerously influential voices are the weak ones, or rather the faux-weak ones, the ones that impart a horrible tincture of fake fragility to their singing, a prissy, self-aggrandizing 'vulnerability' that's conversational, arrogant and exhibits only the singer's self-pity and monstrous self-regard. Wonky-mouthed mediocrity Ellie Goulding (even that name seems to be permaclad in a floral dress, the acoustic geek - but a pretty geek - amazed at the good audition) is the exemplar of this. 'Fire' would have been a fairly emetic slice of EDM-folk in anyone's hands but with her 'broken' 'breathy' 'natural' tones it attained fresh new levels of hellishness. The only time such voices have ever been tolerable to me is when they're accompanied by a similar sense of brokenness and trauma in the production of the whole record (Lois, Lisa Germano). When, as with this Pudsey-boosting pool of piss (& the equally venal Passenger) they're backed by state-of-the-art 96-track pomposity (again masquerading as finesse) the package is a hateful, ghastly one, a song wherein you can almost hear the Zooey Deschanel rom-com unfolding in the background. This isn't just dreadful music, it's M&S dreadful music. Spurn it as you would a rabid dog."

Someone shoot him, he's the uke player 
These songs, these ads, are documents that truly seal the horror of the age. 
That make the stomach churn, the gag-reflex kick in, that flick all of your settings to ATTACK KILL. These are documents that make you ashamed not just to be British but ashamed to BE. 

But, beyond the ultra-emetic Pepsi Max ads of yore, if we're looking for a single document that really cemented my uke-hate it would have to be"The Girl With The Platform Smile" matchdotfuckingcom advert, an ad that would've been so immeasurably improved with a sudden silage/toxic-waste goods train collision, rendering both of the sappy protagonists hideously deformed, writhing in agony & begging for the sweet sweet mercy of a quick death. Why aren't I in advertising? 

What's more aggravating is that the Great British Public fucking LOVE these things. Check out youtube comments for all the above songs - I guarantee it's people loving them and wanting full length versions they can BUY and have IN THEIR HOME by CHOICE. We pride ourselves in the UK in being cynical, seeing through things - we're not and we don't. About a decade or so ago this creeping fucking deathmarch of ukeleles and FUCKING WHISTLING started sidling into ads (along with horrible 'poetry') and the Great British Public LAPPED it up, love the idea that advertisers are our friends and corporations are looking out for us. From smoothie bottles with chummy social-media-style messages written on them to multinational banks who pretend they're your best mate to train-toilet signs that try and sound like they're on facebook to the omnipresent fucking TWEENESS of post-millenial culture and nervy chatty conversationalism that's crept into all ad-copy we're being sold our own exploitation & death and we LOVE IT so long as it sounds as if there's a fucking cajon and a fucking emoji involved. I've said it before and I'll say it again - the geeks HAVE inherited the world. Fucking infantilisation in full effect. Were I a proper cultural critic I'd be able to draw properly-evidenced lines between the tweeness/infantilisation of culture and the way that becoming an adult male has now become synonymous with getting tatts and growing a beard, and how if you don't have those things you're looked at as if you're 'not playing properly'. Unfortunately I'm not, so I can't. I just know that this open-mic bleeding-heart culture in music, its willingness to be pimped out by big business, is indicative of everything that's fucking wrong with those in control of UK pop at the moment. The thin filament that keeps me going is that one day I will see them all in hell. 

From heaven. 


  1. Makes me yearn for the good old days, when ad jingles were written and performed by The Fall and Sonic Youth. Who'd have thought adverts for massive corporations could be utterly facile bullshit eh?

  2. were ad jingles always so nauseatingly twee and middle class tho? No. That's what I'm talking about here. Sonic Youth btw were signed to Geffen if I recall. And this kind of tweeness doesn't just appear in ads for massive corporations, it appears on chalkboards outside pop-ups as well.

  3. Fucking hell, yes. I almost put my size 11 through the television one miserable Saturday evening when I watched a kitten's fart in a Laura Ashley dress do an acoustic Common People on that rubbish BBC version of X Factor. The horror of hearing a visceral line like "you will never understand how it feels to live your life with no meaning or control" rendered meaningless in that fucking mannered faint West Country twang — faux rustic, like a box of Dorset Cereal – that all of these fuckers sing with will stay with me forever, like fucking herpes.

    There's a great book called Big Babies by Michael Bywater that spotted this trend years ago: Ribena cartons with (presumably suicidal) anthropomorphic berries enjoining you to enjoy the sugary contents within; those hateful smoothie bottles with knitted hats. Even Greggs are in on it: I was horrified to see a floor vinyl asking me if I "fanc(ied) something yummy?" It nearly put me off my three sausage rolls. Yummy? I'm forty-fucking-one.

  4. To be honest though the sweariness in this article as well as the bending of intellectual effort to analyzing advert jingles could also be seen as markers of the infantilisation of culture.

  5. Yeah that's fair enough Neil. I'm playing devil's advocate slightly because I fucking loathe tweeness. But ad music has always been shit is my point. It's a new kind of shit, ok, but expecting any kind of improvement was always unrealistic.

    1. trunuff. didn't mean to sound arsey x

  6. Don't even get me started on the Loaf furniture stores. Infant school primary colour decor, slogans such as "THE COMFIEST STORE IN TOWN" and, worst of all, "CHILL OUT IN OUR CHURNERY - YUMMY ICE CREAM INSIDE." Give your sodding sofas away then. Wonder if their staff are on zero hours contracts. It's basically Robert Helpmann as the Child Catcher, except with idiotic adults.

  7. I swear I entirely independently became sick of the Uke shit, and much of the rest of the nause mentioned here. It burst out into our family recently as something I am constantly railing about and I have not shut up about it for days now. Then I went looking for something online to vindicate my madness (?)
    I found this all so funny and vindicating.
    But please tell me, is there a solution beyond nuclear war, or an exit bag?

  8. Ukelele? More like Pukelele.
    I've been fed up with the constant obsession that commercials have with taking the most "non-Ukelele friendly songs", and "tweeing" them to unbelievable levels. They take the most up-beat dance songs, or rock/metal songs, and "twee" the living daylights out of them.

    "Everybody's Free (To Feel Good)" is supposed to be an upbeat song, not a freaking acoustic ballad.

    "Everything Changes" is also supposed to be an upbeat dance pop song, not a ..... soppy slow boring version.

    Remember those awful Halifax adverts? Walking On Sunshine was RUINED.

    And's advert sounds like someone recorded a school assembly of children singing Teenage Dirtbag

    It's not just Ukelele covers I hate, it's any song that's supposed to be fast and upbeat, that's been "balladised", and "pukeleled on".

    I swear to God, if I hear an "up and coming star" who seems to copy the vocal style of Ellie Goulding, with a fragile and breathy voice, singing Smells Like Teen Spirit, with a ukelele, accordion and/or glockenspeil, I will literally BURN DOWN the Advertising Standards Authority headquarters.

    If you want to use a song in a commercial, USE THE ORIGINAL VERSION. If you don't have permission, GET ANOTHER SONG.

  9. Twee versions of great songs with the inappropriate lyrics cut out and the rest left to fit the advert's message. Makes me and confused. Yes death to the ukulele

  10. As a much younger man, I remember going into a Sheffield pub frequented by many of the city's Irish community, where 'open mic' meant the same group of aging men singing traditional Celtic folk songs until the Guinness ran out or one of them died of fiddler's elbow (these people were immune to the effects of alcohol whereas I was, and still am, a 2 pints then home or 3 pints then A&E wuss). They played fantastically strange looking instruments (one of which bore a faint resemblance to a ukulele) and sang in a manner which convinced you this music was sacred to them; that to hit a bum note was treasonous and to voice thoughts of boredom about an eternally unchanging set list was a capital offence. One evening, alcohol having got the better of me, I asked the lead thing-that-resembled-a-lyre-but-you-blew-into-it-ist possibly the most stupid, not to mention dangerous, question ever posed by anyone to anyone ever: "do you like The Pogues"? Yes, I really was as thick as that. I remember some snarling as 2 of my friends who had evolved beyond the Neanderthal state I'd willingly retconned myself into by believing something Garry Bushell had written about Irish music (fucking scum, him AND me) dragged me to safety with one of them shouting "he meant The Bothy Band", then blissful oblivion. That they didn't leave me to the fate I deserved says a huge amount about their loyalty to me as friends (it was as unshakeable and mistaken as I was undeserving of it) and when they told me if I didn't wake the fuck up and turn from the path of cuntery I'd been following they'd drop me like a stone, for the first time in my life I listened. I'm a coward so I've never been back to that pub, but for what it's worth, that wonderfully mysterious music still lives on in one of the many vast caverns in my skull that should be occupied by brain cells. I'm still a knowfuckall but at least now I'm willing to learn and I'm pretty sure which teachers I should trust. So yes, ban the ukulele but not the instrument I thought was one. I'll probably bump into Ellie "Spawn of Formby" Goulding when I peg it unless hell has a special sector reserved for clueless fuckers (even repentant ones like me - some crimes are plain unforgivable) and I promise I'll force feed her and the subhuman garbage who engineered and continue to ensure her ubiquity an endless supply of them, Satan willing.


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