Remember the '80s Swiss electronic duo Yello? Nope? Doesn't ring a bell? Okay, let's try this again: remember that awesome "chicka chicka… ohhhh yeahhh" song that plays at the end of Ferris Bueller's Day Off? Yes, of course you do; in fact, you're probably pissing off your loved ones by mimicking that epic, computerized baritone right now. First of all, stop doing that, because it's ridiculously annoying. Second of all, you're not the only one who remembers the song; apparently, Karl Rove remembers it too. His super PAC American Crossroads came under fire this week for featuring what sounds like a sample of the track in an anti-Obama attack ad. And Yello (the aforementioned Swiss electronic duo who authored the tune) is none too pleased about it.
The commercial, titled "Cool," paints the president Obama as a bumbling, ineffectual fametard, flashing shots of him singing Al Green and shimmying with Ellen DeGeneres over what sounds like the famous "Oh yeah" sound effect on a loop. Although American Crossroads says that the sample was not listed from the beloved John Hughes movie — "the audio was taken from a sound-effect website, then processed and lowered by four half-steps for pitch to produce the desired sound for the video," spokesperson Jonathan Collegio says — a representative for Yello says the band is considering taking legal action against the super PAC.
"Yello were not asked, and would not have given permission for such a political campaign," band rep Peter Vizthum recently told BuzzFeed. "We'll have the legal options checked out here."
Of course, even if American Crossroads had lifted the song directly from the movie, politicians have been using campaign songs without the artists' consent for ages; in fact, that's how John Mellencamp belatedly earned the "Cougar" in his nickname, a few decades into his career, after telling John McCain he couldn't use "Pink Houses" for his 2008 campaign. It's just kind of odd that the site of all this controversy is an obscure 1980s European electronica duo whose last non-"Oh Yeah" film credit was on a reality TV ice-skating competition.
Still, I guess it's a testament to how awesome your song is when it's being used to underscore the awesomeness of the president, even when the point of the ad is to show how not-awesome it is that he's so awesome. Or something. I dunno, Karl, I think both me and you could've thought this one through a little more.