When it comes to all the forms of entertainment in the Super Bowl telecast, music completes the package. No, we’re not talking about Beyonce’s halftime show. We’re talking about the tunes in all those commercials.
The music in this year’s Big Game ads was a mix of recent hits and decades-old classics. Appropriate for one of America’s biggest partying days, the song choices were mostly upbeat and celebratory, but there were a few more emotional tracks as well.
Here EW presents to you a special edition of TV Jukebox with those Super Bowl commercials in the spotlight. Check out our picks and Spotify playlist below.
The song: Psy, “Gangnam Style”
The hook: Anyone could have predicted that the biggest song of 2012 would find its way into a 2013 Super Bowl commercial, but not so predictable was which product would snatch up Psy and his ubiquitous song for the Big Game. Turns out the Korean pop star was tapped by Wonderful Pistachios. Millions of TV viewers have now been called to “crack it Gangnam Style” by Psy and a collection of giant dancing pistachios. This leaves one question: How do they crack nuts in Gangnam?
The song: The Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil”
The hook: Despite this commercial appearing to be aimed at a younger demographic, as if to say, “You can have a Mercedes too,” the car company turned to a rock classic for the soundtrack of its Faustian tale. Because, really, what other song could be a better fit for an ad with Willem Dafoe as Satan than the Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil”?
The song: Sam and Dave, “Hold On, I’m Comin'”
The hook: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s town is going to pieces, but, backed by soul tune “Hold On, I’m Comin’,” the macho man has to put his save-the-day duties on hold until he finds a carton of milk for him and the kids. With his calcium tank full, now he can go rescue that cat in a tree, woman trapped in a car topped by a lion and city under alien attack he passed by before.
The song: Stevie Wonder, “Superstition”
The hook: Bud Light’s Super Bowl ad campaign is an ode to devoted sports fans and all the weird rituals they do in the name of some good luck for their team. Which song to accompany this tale of wild superstitions? “Superstition,” of course. And who to play the ad’s voodoo man? Stevie Wonder himself.
The song: Calvin Harris, “Drinking from the Bottle”
The hook: E*TRADE wants to save you the money you could be losing to hidden fees in your 401(k). E*TRADE Baby wants to tell you all the ways you could blow through that money if you so desired — which brings us to snapshots of E*TRADE Baby’s hypothetical, very expensive vacation, backed by Calvin Harris’ “Drinking from the Bottle,” taking on a double meaning thanks to the infant at the center of this commercial.
The song: Meatloaf, “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”
The hook: Red the M&M takes to the piano for this Meatloaf cover to tell Glee‘s Naya Rivera what he will and won’t do for love. And there’s a lot a piece of chocolate candy won’t do for love, like hop in a piñata. Or top a yet-to-be-baked cake. Or get devoured by all of his sweetie’s friends. Can’t really blame the poor guy.
The song: Jimmy Cliff, “C’mon, Get Happy”
The hook: Volkswagen serves up some Jamaican optimism to battle the Monday blues with The Partridge Family theme song, “C’mon, Get Happy,” a cover sung by a man who is really Jamaican, unlike the Minnesotan poser in this commercial.
The song: Fleetwood Mac, “Landslide”
The hook: Budweiser supplied a full dose of tear-jerker cuteness with its story about the parting — and the reunion — of a Budweiser Clydesdale and his trainer. What better music to accompany this bittersweet tale than the sad, sweet sounds of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”?
The song: Hans Zimmer, “Honor”
The hook: Jeep devoted its Super Bowl air time to its Operation S.A.F.E. Return fund with an emotional message of hope for America’s troops to make it safely home to their families. Cue swelling music by Hans Zimmer — a fitting choice of his theme music for HBO Marine mini-series The Pacific.
The song: fun., “We Are Young” (Spanish version)
The hook: Taco Bell’s contribution to Super Bowl 2013 revealed what residents of The Glencobrooke Retirement Home do after dark: They hit the town for a wild night of young-at-heart antics, backed by a Spanish reworking of fun.’s “We Are Young,” before making a pit stop at Taco Bell.