THE LEFSETZ LETTER: The Super Bowl

And the winner is…

SARAH McLACHLAN!

Who proved Canadians have a sense of humor about themselves, while Americans are famously pompous, kind of like Bob Dylan, who had one of the best commercials, but didn't get the message that Chrysler is owned by Fiat, an Italian automobile maker.

The ads got better as the game got worse. I even appreciated the little girl lassoing the Doritos. But the first half was littered with the work of alcohol and car companies, who believe being bombastic is better than being innovative, or sensitive.


Bob Lefsetz, Santa Monica-based industry legend, is the author of the e-mail newsletter, "The Lefsetz Letter". Famous for being beholden to no one, and speaking the truth, Lefsetz addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself.

His intense brilliance captivates readers from Steven Tyler to Rick Nielsen to Bryan Adams to Quincy Jones to music business honchos like Michael Rapino, Randy Phillips, Don Ienner, Cliff Burnstein, Irving Azoff and Tom Freston.

Never boring, always entertaining, Mr. Lefsetz's insights are fueled by his stint as an entertainment business attorney, majordomo of Sanctuary Music's American division and consultancies to major labels.

Bob has been a weekly contributor to CelebrityAccess and Encore since 2001, and we plan many more years of partnership with him. While we here at CelebrityAccess and Encore do not necessarily agree with all of Bob's opinions, we are proud to help share them with you.

Even Bruce Willis was sensitive.

And what kind of crazy world do we live in where Microsoft has a good commercial?

It wasn't about the game. It was about the gathering of the tribes.

Super Bowl Sunday is the one day of the year when blue and red, old and young, everybody in America tunes in to the same damn program.

That's the story of the last ten years, our descent into a Tower of Babel society, wherein what's important to me is unknown by you.

But it turns out that despite tomes like "The Long Tail" it doesn't feel good to be in the niche, we all want to be in the mainstream.

Then again, watching this production I didn't find anything for myself, with my sixties values wherein I question authority and am suspicious of the establishment. Now musicians are dying to become part of the establishment. Look at all of them who prostituted themselves for cash, appearing at one Super Bowl bash after another, as if how much money you make is more important than what you believe in.

And I've got no idea what Bruno Mars believes in. He's pure entertainment.

But he performed quite well. Got to give him props for starting off with a drum solo. He single-handedly stripped the ball from the classic rockers who've dominated halftime ever since Nipplegate. Mars could play, sing and dance. And I'm sure it was exquisite at MetLife Stadium…at home, not so much. It's a rare musician who can make music work on television. Prince did it. U2 did a good job. But the truth is music is something you feel, and television is two-dimensional, after all, they do call it the FLAT SCREEN! And yes, back in the sixties, when the Super Bowl was invented, the au courant rock stars were not invited, but they probably wouldn't have appeared. Football??

But now we live in a homogeneous society where it's every man for himself. Like rats in a cage we try to climb the greased pole. And even though the aforementioned Mr. Dylan sang that we've all got to serve somebody, it turns out most of us are serving those with the bread. We're a country of Olivers, can we just have a little bit more?

And the right team won. The bastards known as the Seattle Seahawks. Who brought their posse, the so-called "12th Man," and played so hard that all Broncos were issued switchblades and Uzis on their way out of the dressing room.

Just kidding, of course. But we live in a brutal society. And the Seahawks are a brutal team. Who never entertained the concept of defeat. They beat the Broncos so bad, it's a metaphor for our nation's income inequality, the haves and the have-nots. Because the Broncos beat their AFC foes the Patriots, we thought they were up to the task. But it turns out the 49ers would have kicked their asses too. Because anybody could see the Broncos had an inferior defense. And no matter how well Peyton Manning may throw…an offense without a defense is like a singer without a tune…i.e. nowhere.

So what else did we learn?

That Bruno Mars did not need the Chili Peppers. That if you've got the goods, scuttlebutt is irrelevant. In other words, an outsider or unknown can triumph, but only if he's spectacular, a ten on a ten scale. Then again, no one told the sports and the business press that Mr. Mars was already a star in the music world.

That New York is the epicenter of the nation and every Super Bowl should be played in the city, that is New Jersey, hereafter. There's never been as much press, as much attention to the game as this year. Because it was in media central, amongst the most cutthroat of our citizens. I don't want to go, but it's fun to observe the spectacle.

That Jerry Seinfeld's spot was better than most, but it didn't have that twisted I'm an outsider feeling his sitcom possessed. Jerry's just too self-satisfied for me to cotton to him anymore. The man without problems who knows everything about parenting…eek. However Jason Alexander was excellent!

That the best band on the telecast was the Muppets. Turns out truth on TV is radiated by puppets and cartoons, everybody else pulls their punches.

And the big loser was Philip Seymour Hoffman. Who had the bad luck to O.D. on the day of the biggest sporting event of the year, and was therefore bumped from the front page.

But one thing you've got to say about Hoffman is he always swung for the fences, even in semi-incoherent films like "The Master." He was our Lester Bangs. And although he won an Oscar for "Capote," it was his work in small films like "The Savages" that endeared him to audiences. Because underneath it all, Philip Seymour Hoffman was a regular schlub, like the rest of us. He was real, unlike Kim Kardashian and the rest of the plastic surgery patrol.

That's right, as young men shorten their lives on the gridiron, a press scared of extinction keeps trumpeting the efforts of no-talents and we all sit at home flummoxed, wondering whether to protest, join in or give up. We're angry, but we're not sure we can win, so too often we turn to drugs. Which have been glamorized for no reason.

Is that how bad your life is, that you want to escape?

That's the essence of intoxicants. And we all live so close to that line, and so far from satisfaction.

So, so long Peyton Manning! You're not really gonna come back next year are you, there's no way you can win.

So long New York City, where the squeegee men have returned and the artists have been squeezed out. The Super Bowl is emblematic of the metropolis, all shiny, but with a dangerous underbelly, where cash rules and if you ain't got it, we're not interested.

And so long Philip Seymour Hoffman. You didn't even get to see the game!

P.S. Featuring Ellen DeGeneres in an ad for Beats Music is like featuring Harvey Fierstein in an ad for the NFL. Not everybody can sing and not everybody can play football. Let's stop lionizing the wannabes and focus on the true talents. To employ Ms. DeGeneres to hawk Beats is to eviscerate all the cool from music, and without cool, we've got nothing… Wasn't that the essence of Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Johnny Rotten, Kurt Cobain… We want stars who march to the beat of their own drummer, like Joni Mitchell and Amy Winehouse, not corporate tools working on Jimmy's farm.

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