Shortly before he died in 2003, country music legend Johnny Cash recorded an old traditional song called "God's Gonna Cut You Down." It's a scary little recording, with Cash's weary old voice warning the world of "long tongue" liars and hypocrites, trouble-makers and the unrighteous that they're on The Big Guy's spit list. Under his voice, you hear the slow stomping of feet and clapping like an angry mountain church congregation stewing about divine retribution.
The song is still playing on alternative radio stations around the country. You can hear it on youtube.com. But now the record's rhythmic beating is what you hear behind the new Jeep Grand Cherokee commercials.
Did we do something to tick off Jeep?
Remember when car ads were just "peppy"? Sergio Franchi bellowed out "VOOOOOO-laaaa-re, oh-oh" in the old Plymouth Volare commercials. Before that, a vocal group chirpped out "Wouldn't you really rather have a Buick?"
Ten years ago, Volkswagen dredged up Nick Drake's obscure and impenetrable "Pink Moon" for its Cabrio ads. But VW was selling a convertible top. And the people on screen were gazing up at the moon. Get it?
Even when Led Zeppelin yelled "Oooh yeah, oooh yeah," in the rock-n-rolly Cadillac SRX ads, you got the idea that Cadillac wanted you to know that, as far as the SRX went, it really meant "oooh yeah."
But God's gonna cut me down?
Maybe. But it won't be because of anything I ever said about Jeep.