5 Clichés of…Time Life Music Infomercials
If you’ve ever managed to stay up into the wee hours desperately surfing for something even mildly entertaining – not involving bass fishing or reruns of Silk Stalkings – you’ve probably found yourself unable to turn away from the car wreck otherwise known as Time Life Music infomercials. These brief treks into the craggy terrain of our collective pop music tundra seduce the consumer with their reasonably priced compilation of music you most likely already own or could easily access on YouTube if you were willing to devote that much time to Supertramp’s back catalog. Long ago forgotten musical acts and faded nighttime soap vixens serve as host, inviting you to relive beautiful memories that can be your for three easy credit card payments of $19.95. No CODS!
1. Racially homogenized couples stroll along the beach to slow jams
Time Life music comp infomercials always cut away from the incessant scrolling list of “hits” and inane voiceover blather to offer a glimpse of the romantic adventures awaiting any person who plunks down cashmoney for the product. The couples, who are always heterosexual, mid 30s and outrageously attractive, wear comfy, stylish clothing in beach appropriate fabrics such as linen and wrinkle free cotton as they cling to each other like life rafts. And all of this soft lit frolic is set to Ambrosia’s “How Much I Feel” or Vanessa Williams’s “Dreaming”.
2. For every one “hit” there are five deep cuts you’ve never heard of
As the song titles scroll on loop, a curious trend emerges: there are only a handful of recognizable titles. And the other titles and songs are only recognizable from other Time Life comps they’ve been included on. I mean do I know Karla Bonoff’s “Personally” from top forty radio or from hearing it in Time Life soft rock comp commercials? Who knows! Everyone remembers unforgettable hits such as “Chuck E.’s in Love” and “We Don’t Talk Anymore”! And by everyone, I mean RaymondJ and me.
3. The pitch person is usually a celebrity who ought know better
Nothing says, “The sounds of classic soul…” like Billy Dee Williams propped behind a display of Motown memorabilia borrowed from Fuddruckers while dressed like Orson Welles. There’s not much “smoove” about that. Hate to see that happen to Lando!
4. The announcer’s style of delivery is tailored to the stereotypes associated with the music’s typical fanbase
Anything soul, R&B or “urban” vectored seems to require an announcer who sounds as though he’s – it’s always a dude – imitating Barry White. While Rock and Country announcers appear to have stumbled into the booth from their daytime stints as monster truck pull announcers. SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!!!
5. They only play the most recognizable parts of the song
You might not actually realize “La Bamba” actually has verses if you’ve only heard it briefly played in a Time Life musical comp commercial. Ditto for “Sister Christian”, which has a whole four minutes worth of lyrics other than, “MOTORING, what’s your price for flight!”