Singer Wainwright sees some brands as synonymous with the ‘New Depression’

loudon-wIn the good ole’ days—about three years ago—it seemed brands racked up only laudatory shout-outs in music lyrics. You remember, back when we were all riding in Escalades, passing the Courvoisier, shaking it like a Polaroid picture. (In 2008 Wired looked at how some brands actually courted musicians.) Now, folk musician Loudon Wainwright III is singling out a handful of brand names for some not so flattering attention. His latest album, Ten Songs for the New Depression, is a compendium about the new hard times, channeling the spirit of the Great Depression with ukulele strains and cutting lyrics.

One that captures consumer helplessness: “Times is tough/Times is hard/take a pair of scissors to your credit card/Circuit City just said, ‘So long!’/All I can do is sing this song.” Wainwright takes aside GMC and Volvo for a slap in the riff “Cash for Clunkers,” while “The Krugman Blues” is a paean to The New York Times columnist, if not the sour commentary he’s been doling out. How can brands escape this downturn without becoming synonymous with the “New Depression”? Survival, for starters. But beyond that, Wainwright’s self-pity suggests consumers need a comforting tone. A good banjo tune helps too.

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