By Larry Weintraub, Chief Innovation Officer & President of Music
Once a year the entire TMA State Farm team gathers for an event we lovingly call Farm Fest! We come together to bond as a team, celebrate the great work done throughout the year, and discuss what’s coming next. This year’s virtual version of Farm Fest started with a number of warm up interactive activities that focused on fitness, food, and music.
For music, a large group assembled together and created the soundtrack to Farm Fest in real time, picking songs and sharing stories about why that song meant so much to them this year.
Thank you to the over 40 people who contributed to the 50-song and nearly three-hour playlist! We had a fun and lively discussion and dance party, and so many people shared wonderful stories about why they chose their songs.
With huge gratitude, we applaud everyone that participated and everyone that listens. Enjoy the music by clicking your link of choice below, read some of the stories, and join us as we celebrate great work, making it through a tough year, and what is still ahead!
“Real Deal Momma” by White Denim – Larry Weintraub
The first time I heard that The Real Deal was our State Farm theme, this song popped in my head! Play this one loud to start your day. And if you add the Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy,” White Stripes’ “Fell In Love With a Girl,” and JAY-Z’s “99 Problems” to your morning routine, you might not even need coffee.
“Liquor Store” by Less Than Jake – Scott Kemper
Because it’s from my college years––and in those days ‘ska’ was a thing. It’s got a great up-tempo pacing. And the horns! The beautiful horns. If I remember correctly, there even appears to be a trombone at one point. And the name of the band is very relevant––in State Farm’s world, “everything is LESS THAN JAKE.”
“Everything We Need” by Kanye West – Jordan Shatley
Couldn’t be more grateful for the last year this entire team has had. Almost a year ago, we won this new business and have faced lots of changes: loads of exciting new work, a pandemic, and more. It’s been quite the rollercoaster! I can’t help but be reminded that even amongst all of the craziness, this team has been given everything we need.
“Inspiration Information” by Shuggie Otis – Andy Shaw
Choosing just ONE song proved challenging. But I went with my gut. The first song around “Inspiration” that popped in my head likely did so because “Inspiration” is literally in the title. “Inspiration Information” by the severely underrated Shuggie Otis and his brilliant (but also severely underrated) 1974 album of the same name “Inspiration Information.” The song instantly enchants with a dreamy choral intro arrangement accompanied by a floaty instrumental. It then drops into an infectious vocal and instrumental groove that begs you to move along with it and practically forces you to put a smile on your face. If you haven’t heard Shuggie Otis before, do yourself a favor and check out this album. It’s an all-time great and one of my all-time favorites.
“Who Gon Stop Me” by Jay Z & Kanye West – Destiny Modeste
The “new normal” has pushed us to do everything differently, but has also given us a new motivation to be even more creative and innovative. With this, we’ve been producing fantastic content nonstop. We haven’t slowed down, but have been growing and glowing. So, “Who Gon Stop Me” reminds me of the State Farm team because, despite all that we’ve been through this year, WE ARE UNSTOPPABLE. Who gon’ stop us, huh? Also, JAY-Z shouts out State Farm in the song when he says, “Yeah, who gon’ stop me? No brakes, I need State Farm.” 😉
“The Underdog” by Spoon – Craig Miller
The song I immediately thought of. First off, it’s a jam that’s super melodic and catchy (Spoon is a great little rock band out of Austin, TX . . . my favorite city in the US), and its message rings true for both TMA and State Farm. When we were working on the pitch, I truly felt like an underdog. Of course we all know what happened, proving Britt Daniel’s lyrics quite prophetic: “You got no fear of the underdog. That’s why you will not survive, right!” Look at us now. One year in and really doing fantastic work across the board. Secondly, I’m so proud of the work the team is doing.
“Good News” by K.Flay – Baily Gorey
I’m sure you can relate, but it’s such a bittersweet feeling when listening to a song. It reminds you of a past show, festivals, and/or a time where we could be with people enjoying live music. I keep coming back to this song now more than ever. This song inspires me to look on the bright side of everything that’s been going on in our world. I think it can even relate to State Farm because they are always trying to be good neighbors and provide good news to communities and organizations that need it! Listening to this song in the car when you’re feeling down can really be a mood booster and turn your day around!
“Jack and Diane” by John Mellencamp – Susan Schwartz
It’s been a tough year. We’ve been living in separation from each other for nine months and it doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon. From COVID-19 to everything somehow becoming politicized to trying to juggle home-schooling with a job, life has become multi-layered and complex. It’s exhausting. I love this song for so many reasons. It makes me nostalgic for high school and college, of looking forward to where my life would take me, to all the possibilities in front of me . . . when things were so simple––pre-adulthood, before you have any big responsibilities. Listening to it takes me back to those days and immediately puts a sappy smile on my face.
“New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down” by LCD Soundsystem – Dave Wasserman
This song is exactly how I feel about 2020. But substitute “New York” with America. It’s essentially a love letter that acknowledges the flaws. The connection to our country is obviously pretty easy to get, but I feel like it sums up my relationship with advertising as well. It’s an amazing industry full of talented people. But for me, one of the best parts of my job throughout my career have all been stripped away this year: the daily interactions and moments with coworkers and clients. So . . . America/advertising/most parts of life in general right now . . . I love you. But you’re bringing me down. Here’s to 2021.
“All I Need” by Jake Bugg – Aaron Frye
Love the anthemic nature of this song. Lyrics like “This could be our time” and “Show me where the fight is” ring true as we look to continue to push our work. And of course, dude’s name is Jake!
“Listen to the Music” by The Doobie Brothers – Maria Mejia
Why? Because sometimes you just need to listen to a song that makes you feel good. The timing for this song is kinda right too, given all the stuff that’s happening in the world.
“Color Esperanza 2020” by Diego Torres and many others – Maria Mejia
Not sure if you have heard of it, but when it came out it made me happy to see soooo many amazing talented Latin American musicians coming together to help a cause. It has a great beat to it as well!
“Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer – Bailey Robillard and Nikki James picked this (and many others agreed)
Heard this song on XM Radio one day a few months ago and really listened to the words, and at that moment it seemed so fitting. Kept hearing it over and over and it just felt inspiring and positive given basically all of 2020.
“What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye – Hunter Mejaly
Because that’s the first question that crosses my mind each morning when I roll out of bed. It’s also a beautiful song.
“Rainbow” by Sia – Ellen O’Donnell
Granted, it’s mostly because I have an eight year old playing My Little Pony music all day, but it has a beautiful message, is inclusive, as well as hopeful and inspiring––and that is how I am feeling this week!
“Do What I Want” by PENZDEEP w/ Sofia Camille – Kimberlee Borland
This song was created during COVID-19 and makes me want to get up and dance! Oh and my hubby was the producer. #funfact
“WAP” by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion – Chloe Lebamoff
Kidding, but kind of not.
Note: Lots of shout outs to this choice. Thaxton Scott says simply, WAP . . .
“Young” by Kenny Chesney – Brooke Adams
Sorry, but gotta bring country in the mix.
Editor note: Brooke wanted a Garth Brooks song, but sadly Garth isn’t on the streaming services . . . yet. Come on Garth, we want you here!
“Time Will Tell” by Gregory Alan Isakov – Edyta Czaplinksi
A wicked folk song––you listen to it and suddenly the world is not as confusing place for three very odd minutes.
Listen to the full playlist below . . .
[Note: may contain explicit content]