May 10, 2006 at 12:00 am

Apple, together with its longtime ad agency TBWA/Chiat/Day, is tops at tagging its iTunes/iPod campaign with tracks that scream "UNIQUE!" and "CATCHY!" at equally dangerous decibels. The chosen song needs to sound fringe and club-ready at the very same time, while being disposable like so many ones and zeroes. And by that rationale "Cubicle," from the latest spot, is a hit. Rinôçerôse, the French duo responsible, has made a career out of sidling by on good looks and keen trendcasting. Over three albums they've attempted Daft Punk-like proto-disco, "chillout" and dollar store house music; now, with "Cubicle," they're channeling the last vestiges of the '90s big beat movement. Manipulated to digital death and accompanied by the stroke-inducing histrionics of guest vocalist Bnaan (from the UK's equally plastic Infadels), it's tailored perfectly to downloading's hang-ups with obsolescence and voyeurism. "Cubicle" is unreal, just blips, a beat, some clanging guitar chords, and then the payoff spit — "Spend all your time ... in a little cubicle." It claims to be your salvation from cubicle death, but it lies, and Rinôçerôse lies with it. Because aside from a few facsimiles of the hit most of Rinôçerôse is just Dimitri From Paris without the fancy moustache. Downloading is the way of the future, and the future is now. But why does the future sound made for TV?

Johnny Loftus is the music editor of Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].