American singer songwriter Amanda Palmer has teamed up with comedian Andrew O’ Neill to call out corporations for using cheery indie pop songs with ukuleles and catchy hooks to advertise their products. The ironically titled “Anti-Ukulele Song” parodies this phenomena, and calls out the toxic practices utilized by corporations to appeal to a target demographic.
Clocking in at barely over a minute, the “Anti-Ukulele Song,” features lyrics that call out McDonalds and HSBC by name, saying “It doesn’t matter what they sell, it could be a ticket straight to hell.” Palmer and O’Neill then go on to sarcastically state that all of the shady things corporations do appear to be fine as long as they hide their adverts with a nice ukulele song.
The style these adverts used are also called out in the video and its lyrics, with the artists stating that all they need is a cute indie hipster girl(portrayed by Palmer), and an aging rocker(portrayed by O’Neill), along with a simple animation that is shown in the video to mask their advertisements. During the middle of the song O’Neill goes on a brief tirade, while the setting changes from color to black and white, before going back to color. At the end of the video O’Neill smashes Palmer’s ukulele and the animated squirrel that appears in the video is shot off screen.
Despite the track’s name and content the singer songwriter is a fan of the ukulele and uses it as a staple for many of her performances. This gives the track more meaning, implying that corporate advertisements corrupt this art form and instrument for their own profit and corporate gain.
A few of Palmer’s recent live performances have featured the artist performing frequently with a ukulele as well. This performance is done as part of the singer’s focus on more intimate live settings.
“Totally alone,” Palmer explained in an interview with Narc Magazine in April. “No backup band, no crazy Australian performance artist, no circus people. Just me, a piano, and a ukulele.”
“The show is going to be me sitting down and telling the story of all that’s happened in the last seven years,” she elaborated for Narc Magazine. “It’s incredibly therapeutic. I don’t know how I’d get through this existence if I couldn’t take those experiences and turn them into art. It’s the way I’ve learned how to negotiate pain.”
This latest video isn’t the first time that Palmer has entered to political arena. Earlier this year the artist released a visceral music video entitled “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now,” that explored the sexual assault of women by men in powerful positions.
“For an entire day, a congregation of women worked together to create a collective battle-cry response to this moment in time,” Palmer explained regarding the video in a press release. “Working on this project fundamentally changed me inside. The act of running, sweating, laughing and filming with this group of powerful, determined, and shamelessly naked women was a stark reminder of what we are capable of doing when we join forces, roll up our sleeves, take off our masks, and create.”