February 6, 2012


Rating the Super Bowl's Musical Moments

Last night's Super Bowl was as much about music as it was football (well, almost). Nearly every commercial featured an unexpected track (Echo & the Bunnymen!) or re-purposed hit ("Moves Like Jagger"), not to mention a 13-minute spectacle that was Madonna and friends' halftime show. But all musical moments are not created equal. Here are five of the most notable ones and their (highly subjective) ratings.

5. Mötley Crüe - "Kickstart My Heart" (Kia)
Rating: 4/10

We already talked about the absurdity of this one last week, but to sum up: When your central conceit is an elf spraying you with too much dream powder, you can pretty much just make up anything. At least you can't say Kia doesn't know the target Super Bowl audience.

4. Elton John, Melanie Amaro, Flava Flav - "King's Court" (Pepsi)
Rating: 6/10

X Factor winner Melanie Amaro is the woman of the people in King Elton's court, belting out Aretha Franklin and sending His Highness to a dungeon with the best/worst cellmate ever.

3. The Darkness - "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" (Samsung)
Rating: 7/10

"Well, that was over the top," ends this ad featuring the return of The Darkness and their 2003 camp-rock hit "I Believe in a Thing Called Love." The ad itself is standard Super Bowl bombast, but the absurdity and unexpectedness of our star band makes this memorable.

2. OK Go - "Needing/Getting" (Chevrolet)
Rating: 8/10

It was cool to see indie pop group Fun. get a world stage with their track "We Are Young," but even a snippet of OK Go's mind-bending video for "Needing/Getting" make them the highlight. 

1. Madonna, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo, LMFAO - Halftime Show
Rating: 9/10

So maybe most of Madge's performance was lip-synced—as Elton snarkily predicted—but the singer promised a spectacle for all ages and delivered. Gladiators. Acrobats. Cherubs. (Okay, that was just Cee Lo.) And it was probably the biggest audience b-boys have ever rocked. It was all enough to make M.I.A.'s rebellious finger one of the least interesting parts of the show.

Which musical ads or performances were a hit? Which struck out? There's a ton to choose from, so sound off in the comments below.