Microsoft just announced the Surface Laptop, and, as is tradition in the tech industry, the announcement was accompanied by a fancy “making of” video unveiling the device by showcasing the various (stylized) parts of the manufacturing process. The video is pretty cool, but I’m here to talk about the soundtrack: a bizarrely slowed-down (and slightly creepy) cover of “You’re the One That I Want” from the finale of Grease.
Look, I get what Microsoft was going for here. The company is hoping that, just like Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson, you will similarly recognize a new Surface Laptop as “the one that you want.” The fact that lines like “the power you’re supplying is electrifying” also can apply to a laptop (I guess?) in addition to the intended subject of young love is probably an added bonus.
But it’s just plain weird to hear the song slowed down to the dramatic, soulful rendition that Microsoft’s commercial features, given the extensive cultural weight attached to the song by, you know, Grease. Even stranger, it’s not the first time a brand has sucked the joy out of the Grease finale for a haunting cover version! Chanel did it, too with a similar version by singer Lo-Fang in 2014 for a N°5 perfume ad.
That said, the move is right in line with a trend in modern movie trailers: taking upbeat pop songs and turning them into moody, slo-mo covers for more weighty drama. It puts Microsoft’s cover in a list that includes, but is certainly not limited to: 50 Shades of Grey’s cover of Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love,” 10 Cloverfield Lane and “I Think We’re Alone Now,” Avengers: Age of Ultron with “There Are No Strings On Me,” The Social Network with Radiohead’s “Creep,” and many, many others.
However, I do have to admit: even slowed down and overly moody, it’s still pretty catchy.