The Bizarre Backstory of the Amazon Commercial “Can You Feel It” Song
That awesome song in that awful Amazon “Singing Boxes” holiday commercial is so catchy that you figure there’s no way an Amazon ad person wrote it. They did not! That song was written by Michael Jackson himself (along with brother Jackie), and has a fascinating early 1980s history whose magic brings an enduring charm to this otherwise very terrible holiday television ad.
This fucking Amazon ad has been playing every goddamned commercial break since Thanksgiving Day, depicting an Amazon-industrial complex Christmas future where junked-out Amazon addicts share data freely with their Alexas, and factory workers admire their replacement robots with glee while our overlord delivery boxes happily sing at us.
But the background song in this commercial is really good! That addictive tune has an amazing backstory, though it was a flop when released by The Jacksons in 1981. This was a time when the Jackson 5 seemed on the downside of their careers, as Motown had just cut ties with Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 because they no longer seemed a commercially viable act. (Two years later, Michael Jackson’s Thriller would become the greatest selling album of all time, cementing Motown’s move as one of the biggest fuck-ups in pop music history.)
THE JACKSONS “CAN YOU FEEL IT” (1981)
Get a load of this magnificently tacky, ten-minute-long music video for the the original “Can You Feel It,” a video so pompous and overblown it has opening and closing credits, begins with a narrator saying “In the beginning…,” and features gigantic interdimensional Jacksons spreading magic dust atop their tiny human fans. The video came out right when MTV launched in 1981, creating a niche for overly long “mini movie” music video productions that featured whooshes and laser sounds on top of the original track.
The song was not a hit, and only peaked at No. 77 on the Billboard charts. But during its recording, Michael released a solo album called Off The Wall that went platinum eight times, and later Thriller, which went platinum 66 times, kind of relegating “Can You Feel It” to the dustbin of songs with cheap copyrights for Amazon commercial exploitation.
THE INTERNET PARODIES ARE COMING
And they’re funny! Or in the case of the above, extremely morbid and funny.
Same with this one here.
I replaced the Amazon can you feel it commercial music with the theme from Winter Soldier pic.twitter.com/rXMcDGoWcJ
— Omar Najam (@OmarNajam) November 24, 2018
This shitty Amazon Christmas ad is actually a sequel to last year’s shitty Amazon Christmas ad that also had singing boxes which sang to Supertramp. You’ll probably see several different iterations of the awful ad over the holiday season, but don’t feel guily about loving that beautiful earworm of a background song.