Ear plugs at the ready? The horror of tech companies making music

In the same way not all musicians should make tech products, not all tech companies should make music. They don’t always listen, and decide the world needs a cringe-worthy theme song, an eye-watering promo track, or videos of executives wishing they were either auditioning for The Voice, or possibly, wishing they worked at any other company than the one forcing them to sing on the internet.

Do you think we’re exaggerating? That there’s no way companies responsible for some fine devices could be so tonally deaf? We’re here to prove that few of them have the skill, ability, or talent to carry the simplest tune. What we probably won’t be able to answer is why any of these songs were made in the first place. For the music lovers among you, we apologize in advance.

Huawei — “Dream it Possible”

This is the epitome of what’s wrong with tech companies commissioning theme songs. The singer, Delacey, has a beautiful voice; but the lyrics are corporate cringe made real. Add in a video that is so deliberately melodramatic and heart-rending, it borders on emotional torture; and what could have been vaguely acceptable becomes something you never want to see or hear again.

Honor — “We Are the Brave”

Huawei sub-brand Honor proves it can do anything its big sister can do, just as badly, with “We Are the Brave.” Presumably the lyrics were written by the same wordsmith as “Dream it Possible,” as it’s all the same pseudo-uplifting corporate nonsense repeated ad nauseam. Because Honor targets Millennials, the video has people with tattoos doing extreme sports, playing video games, and covered in colored powder at concerts. Awful.

Honor — “Honor is Mine”

“We Are the Brave” wasn’t Honor’s first try at embarrassing itself. “Honor is Mine,” made to promote the Honor 7X phone, is even more down-with-the-kidz because it has a rapper in it, some graffiti, parkour, and some flashy graphics. Rappist SonaOne oddly channels The Shining’s Jack Torrence at the end, as he scribbles “Honor is Mine” repeatedly down on paper; but to see that you have to watch the whole video. Sorry.

HTC — “Hold the Crown”

Honor’s dive into hip-hop is actually the gold standard for rap in the tech industry, mainly because abominations like “Hold the Crown” exist. Commissioned by HTC — a company eternally unsure of how to promote itself — and rapped by Doc G from P.M. Dawn, it doesn’t even bother to disguise the fact it’s about a phone. Let’s ignore the lyrics (please), and enjoy the scenes shot in an car park (complete with a yellow VW Beetle and an original, beige Toyota Prius; both rap video regulars) and HTC marketing executive David Bruce, who seems to be channeling Bez from Happy Mondays, just without the massive amount of drugs.

HTC — “We Are One”

Here’s an interesting, less hateful music video. HTC apparently has another song of its own, called “We Are One”, and HTC Taiwan released a video of former CEO Peter Chou and co-founder Cher Wang singing it on stage at a corporate event in 2015. We’re not here to comment on their individual voices (I know I’ve sung far worse at karaoke); but this is clearly the environment for which these songs are best suited. Behind closed doors, and not for public consumption.

BlackBerry — “BlackBerry Is Going To Continue Loving You”

This is so terrible, but so completely wonderful at the same time. It’s some dads getting together to cover the song that was on the radio when they had their first kiss, or something, only to find the boss has forced a lyric change in return for some time off to practice.

It’s bearable because REO Speedwagon’s original song is a rock classic. It’s laughable because it contains the lyrics “We’ll have BlackBerry 10, both in full touch and QWERTY editions’, and it’s lovable because VP Alec Saunders gives the thumbs up after singing that very challenging line. It takes the dubious award of being our favorite here.

Samsung — “Request”

Made for the Galaxy Note 3’s release, Samsung recruited K-pop boyband Infinite to feature the Note 3 and the Galaxy Gear in the music video “Request.” The song, which is actually great, is entirely ruined by Samsung’s heavy-handed marketing team stuffing the Note 3 into the group’s hands for almost every shot. Wait, they’re cycling? No problem. Get the Galaxy Gear on their wrists pronto. Worst crime? The damn Samsung “Over the Horizon” theme tune at the beginning and end. Just in case we didn’t realize Samsung sponsored it.

Samsung — “Sustainability Rap”

This is why corporations need to be kept away from music. In 2014, instead of narrating a video for its annual sustainability report, Samsung got someone to rap it. Why not, right? We’ll tell you why. Rapping about a report that’s of primary interest to its investors and partners doesn’t make it appealing to the rest of the world. Nor will it be rapped by kids in the playground, who’re all of a sudden interested in Samsung’s green efforts. Lesson for all involved: Stop giving serious tasks to the intern in marketing.

Jawbone — “Wednesday was a Good Day”

We really, really want this to be a knowing parody of Silicon Valley and tech culture from Jawbone, while still advertising its Jambox wireless speaker; but we don’t think it is. Jawbone thinks it’s being cool with its many cultural references — Angry Birds, Twitter, Groupon, Instagram, Nintendo Wii, Foursquare — and like many other videos here, appealing to a young audience. It’s not, of course, and it’s still embarrassing itself like all the rest. We also wonder if the marketing team ever listened to all Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day” lyrics, as they’re unlikely to be the type used to promote any company’s culture.

LG — “Life’s Good”

LG used the strapline Life’s Good for some time, so it made sense to create a song using those same words. It was an easy sell in 2012 — bright colors, uplifting lyrics, happy dancing, and endless hints as to how much LG will love you if you buy its new smartphone — the ancient Optimus G in this case. Actor and dancer Wes Scarpias is the lead, an unlikely contender for someone with the first name Minwoo, and this is one of many crimes against music LG created in the name of Life’s Good. Why is this so bad? It’s an early prototype for the terrible things to come, and therefore depressingly innovative.

Do you think it’s over? No. As we trawled the musical depths of the tech industry, some discoveries inevitably didn’t quite make the cut for the main list. We listened, so you should be made to as well. Samsung’s many remixes of its “Over the Horizon” ringtone are generally awful, but the 2016 version by Dirty Loops is a particular low point. One of Oppo’s unnamed theme songs is fine, but the highly cinematic yet utterly cringe-worthy video ruins it, while Motorola had a go at joining the rap crew with this historical travesty. Then there is the official song of China’s internet censorship department, apparently named Cyberspace Spirit, and we don’t really know what to say about that at all.

We’re sure tech companies have created beautiful, emotional, and not completely vapid and self-promotional pieces of music. Sadly, they’re completely buried under all this feculence.

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