It’s been about a week since this commercial came out for Facebook’s new smartphone app, Facebook Home. In that week we have received a staggering amount of requests for the song in this commercial. We’ve gotten numerous request form requests, Facebook wall posts, Facebook messages, everything. I’m surprised no one has written us an actual letter about this. So in response to this seriously astounding outpouring of confused readers our whole team was on high alert (we also had a little help from some Facebook friends). Here’s everything we could possibly find out about this commercial in a week’s time.
The Easy Part:
The lyrics in this ad come from the 1920 Irving Berlin-penned classic, “After You Get What You Want, You Don’t Want It.” A song that has been sung by a bunch of people since its release, including Marilyn Monroe and more recently for an episode of Boardwalk Empire by Kathy Brier. Thanks to our Facebook friend Lisa, we found out it’s sung here by transgender musician, actress, author, and activist Calpernia Addams. Thanks, Lisa.
The Hard Part:
Okay, so we’re half way there, but where is that beat from? This is where it gets tricky. The short answer is it’s a custom track made specifically for this commercial. According to one online source, the track may have started off sounding an awful lot like the beat from the Eminem song “Under the Influence” But the beat has since been changed just enough to avoid legal trouble.
Another astute Facebook reader, Bailey, turned us on to Watkin Tudor Jones‘ weirdo hip-hop jam “The Organ Grinder,” from his 2005 effort The Fantastic Kill. While this one does have a really similar tuba beat, it’s not exactly the same as the Facebook Home commercial song. Listen for yourself. Maybe it’s close enough to satisfy some of our readers, because it is really close. Thanks, Bailey.
The Technical Stuff:
Some of the other What Song writers sent a few emails around and discovered some of the more technical credits in the ad, like the name of the sound and music company (Walker), the name of the sound designer (Barking Owl), the ad agency (Wieden + Kennedy), even the names of some of the actors, as well as the names of the commercial’s producer and composer. When we reached out to Barking Owl, we hit a dead end. When we reached out to the commercial’s composer, we found a guy who makes music under the same name, but has nothing to do with the Facebook Home commercial.
The Long and Short of It:
It’s a custom beat that sounds a little like Eminem and a little like Watkin Tudor Jones, but not exactly like either. It contains a snippet of a 1920 song called “After You Get What You Want, You Don’t Want It” written by Irving Berlin, and sung by Calpernia Addams. It’s a cool combination, but it’s not available for download exactly as it sounds in the commercial anywhere.
When we find out more, we will update this post and keep you all as updated as we possibly can. But until then, let’s all just take a deep breath and go hunt down some other commercial songs for a while.