Top of the Charts: Mini "Carbonation"

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"We were looking for something that mirrored the fun of driving; kind of rocking and hip but not taking itself too seriously, says writer Rob Strassberg of Crispin Porter + Bogusky. "Something cool without trying, like the Mini itself. We wanted a piece of music you would play to get you excited to drive - motoring music." Mini's "Carbonation" delivers just that, drawing on the now decades-old power pop/punk guitar sound. The inevitable fun derived from the little car is driven home by the slightly ironic juxtaposition of the lyric "Not bad at all" hitting at the same time as a soda shaken up by a twisting, jumpy cruise around town. The song itself was drawn from the back catalog of former Redd Kross frontman (and sometime Beck bassist) Steven MacDonald, via MacDonald's and co-writer Anna Waronker's music company, Natural Energy Lab. "It's somewhere between a rollicking, freewheeling rock song with an indie kind of cool quality," says agency music supervisor Bill Meadows. "It sounds like the Mini, in a way; it's kind of rocking and hip but doesn't take itself too seriously." Meadows, a former DJ turned lawyer turned music supervisor, was turned on to the unreleased track by Liza Richardson of Stimmung. "We went over 70 songs," recalls Meadows. "Commercials music houses submitted spec demos and we had other previously released label stuff, which seemed to work best. There was good music house stuff, but we were looking for a happy accident. You're hoping for two things that are independently cool, with a synergy between them."

Producer Oscar Thomas and Richardson negotiated the deal to use "Not Bad At All"; one of Meadows' tasks is to furnish as many musical options as possible. "Some things you know you are going to have to get something scored, but generally speaking, it's 'We want music that sounds like this,' or, 'Music that has this kind of vibe,' " he explains. "I go into the CDs I have, whether they're stock or original. If I need more music, I call third parties like Liza. But Mini is the kind of "cool" brand, notes Meadows, that will virtually sell itself to musicians. "It's not like doing a household cleaner. People dig the Mini campaigns, and we work out good deals for everybody."

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