The focus of this article is to bring to your attention the artists and specific tracks utilized by a variety of different companies in their advertising campaigns. While music is frequently used in commercials, credit to the artists is not usually openly displayed. I find this to be pretty unfortunate, especially considering how influential music is known to be in helping sell products. Hopefully you are able to hear some tracks you are familiar with from commercials you have seen on tv in this article. I hope you enjoy the 10 best commercial songs I’ve put together from 2011!

1. Band of Skulls – “Light of the Morning”

Let me open this article by bringing you a band named: Band of Skulls. While the track is not one I particularly enjoy myself (I’m just not into the style of music), this track is a staple in what constitutes good advertising and it just makes sense that the song “Light of the Morning” is featured in this article on the best commercial songs of 2011. Almost every time I turned on the television, I heard this song as I watched the advertisement for Ford’s 2011 Mustang. At this point, I can’t imagine listening to this track in any other context without thinking about wanting to buy a (really nice) car. I’d imagine many other people feel the same way.

2. M83 – “Midnight City”

I would have never imagined that the band M83 would be used to sell merchandise (other then their own of course!), much less the “niche” merchandise sold by Victoria’s Secret. After seeing the rather strange commercial, featuring lingerie models with what are apparently angel wings; it seems to make sense that the interesting sounds of M83’s electronica branded music would aid in pushing the “Angel” collection by Victoria’s Secret. The track “Midnight City” is a very enjoyable one, whether paired with the beautiful women in the commercial or on it’s own on M83’s most recent release Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. I own a few of M83’s records (including this one), and have to say that they are all definitely worth a listen and even a purchase. Who would have thought commercial music could be so compelling?

3. Heather Oglivy – “Find Your Thing”

One amazing aspect about commercials and music is this: a good song can sell products, even if the artist behind it is not very well known. While it is undoubtedly that having famous artists like Eminem, Fergie, The Black Eyed Peas, Michael Jackson, and similar artists will undoubtedly bring attention very quickly to the television screen; there is something to be said about the laid back feeling of having a lesser known and often overlooked artist featured in an ad campaign. Case and point: Heather Oglivy in the “Find Your Thing” campaign by Kaiser Permanente. You may of course not notice her name or even the track until you take a look at the video her music stars in, but once you see it on television it will instantly click with you. Her music has also be featured in some other advertisements for companies including FedEx and SONY. I quite enjoy it myself!

4. Elvis Presley – “Devil in Disguise”

Who said there isn’t room in a best commercial songs list for old musicians (or in this case, old and deceased). The music of Elvis is universally recognized as timeless. His way of dressing is idolized yearly at a variety of conventions dedicated to him, is utilized by the many Elvis Presley cover bands that play around the world, and so forth. Ironically, when I was younger I once “saw him” in Canada just walking around near Niagara Falls. Of course, it wasn’t really him, but street impersonators apparently enjoy acting like the “King” as much as the next person. It comes as no surprise to me that one of his most popular tracks titled “Devil in Disguise” managed to hit the airwaves in a commercial selling the 2011 Nissan Altima. I see a trend with car companies finding music that really catches attention, now if only they could throw some money my way so I could afford one of these luxury cars!

5. Train – “Hey, Soul Sister”

This is another commercial that is sure to be recognized by many, in major part because of the upbeat and family friendly track “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train. The commercial, for a new SAMSUNG 3D LED Television, is one of those feel good moments where advertising meets entertainment (quite literally, as televisions are a basis for a variety of modern entertainment forms). While the sunny day and the bond between a father and son are a nice touch to this commercial, it would not be stained on our minds without the added sounds provided by Train. SAMSUNG should issue a public “thanks” to them for this piece of music!

6. Janelle Monae – “Tightrope”

Featured in Kmart’s 2011 “Got the Look” Back to School advertising campaign, Janelle Monae’s song titled “Tightrope” undoubtedly ushers in a sensation of teen angst that is so easily paired with the video of school-aged children quite literally dancing around in the halls of their school. Now, if only school was as cool as this commercial makes it seem!

7. John Lee Hooker – “Boom Boom”

This is another track that is somewhat dated, though it is used in a strange fashion that certainly makes it…well…unique. “Boom Boom” is featured in Chili’s advertisement for $20 dollar dinners for 2. While I am certainly down for some casual romance(which, of course, can be provided by a fine eating establishment like Chili’s), I am not sure the best method to ensure this is to have a relatively attractive woman speak to me with the raspy vocal tone of John Lee Hooker. I guess it’s just a good thing I am not a literalist when it comes to commercials, otherwise Chili’s would have lost my money a long time ago. But really, Chili’s makes pretty good food; and I suggest you go there while they still have this pretty awesome deal going on! And be sure to carry around a iPod and some speakers so you can blast this track obnoxiously while sitting at the dinner table there.

8. Girls Love Shoes – “Home”

I love songs with rather generic song titles. The song title “Home” is about as generic as you can get, though the actual music found is much more interesting. Pair this music with Lowe’s advertisement titled “Exploded” and one easily has a track that can be deemed one of the best commercial songs of 2011. This entire commercial makes me feel good (even despite what appears to be either a metaphysical entity or Lowe’s employees disassembling my home). Near the end of the commercial, the sun peaks out from behind an “exploded” house and some trees in the background. Similarly, the track titled “Home” by Girls Love Shoes sort of just pops out and is just really nice to hear. It is another classic case of instant association between music and commercial content. Great job on both fronts by Lowes!

9. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – “The Golden Age”

What would a list even half-related to commercials and advertising be without recognizing beer? Fortunately, I was able to find a beer commercial (from Heineken) which also featured a pretty entertaining piece of music by The Asteroids Galaxy Tour. From the band name, to the rather interesting music they play, and to the strange and confusing imagery conveyed by the beer company in the ad; I can most certainly say I feel like I need a drink. The track itself does a great job of guiding the commercial and really brings it to life in a unique kind of way. Even if you don’t drink beer, you will probably enjoy this commercial; and if you enjoy neither, maybe you will enjoy this track? I sure hope so, as it is one of those tracks that has stuck in my head since hearing it on television.

10. Snoop Dogg (featuring Pharrell) – “Drop It Like It’s Hot”

This final song is one that is very up to date, and the commercial it is affixed to selling Sun Drop soda, while retro in its filmography and art direction, is equally modern and appealing to a variety of age groups. If anything can be said about this commercial, it is that it makes me feel very alive; and I suppose if soda is capable of doing that then we have really found our miracle drug of choice. Many people will recognize the music talent of Snoop Dogg. Though I am not a huge fan of his work (or rap/hip-hop in general), I have to say this song fits the mood of the commercial pretty much perfectly.

With the year coming to it’s end, I hope you are able to check out these tracks which I have come to deem the 10 best commercial songs of 2011. Remember: advertising would not be the same without the often great musicians behind these campaigns. If you enjoy this music, I would suggest purchasing the songs (or albums) and give credit to these musicians. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below!