s skippy the bush kangaroo: monster mash-ups

skippy the bush kangaroo

Saturday, June 07, 2014

monster mash-ups

belle waring over at crooked timber writes a bit about a few new mash ups, most notibly one from one of the best mash up artists ever, dj earworm.  belle's examples, while definitely more recent than the ones we chose to highlight below, are, in our opinion, not the best representatives of what a clever, complex mash up can sound like.

with all due respect to belle, whose writings we enjoy regularly at ct, the strokes/christina aguilera opus is pretty much just christina's lyrics over the strokes' bass line, with a bit of "hard to explain" over-laid towards the end.  not that it's a bad mash up;  believe us, we have heard plenty of attempts where the keys, the tempos, or even the meters of the songs don't coalesce, which is, after all, the very essence of a mash up:  taking different songs and fusing them seamlessly into a new piece.  the "stroke of genie-us" that belle provides definitely is seamless, listenable and complete.  and we do admit that the new dj earworm has all the hallmarks of that artist's work:  disparate songs deconstructed and then reassembled into something that is a million times more than the sum of the parts (we save our fav dj earworm for last, below).

call us old school, but one disappointment we have with mashing up current songs is that (and this is a whole other conversation) today's music tends to sound alike, because the hits are produced alike, because what sells in one song will sell in another.  and before you accuse us of yelling at kids to get off of our lawn, we ascribe that process to every era of music within itself:  a disco mash up, due to similar beats, production, and vocals of that genre, would simply come out sounding like a medley instead of a whole new piece.

therefore we love it when songs that are at least a decade apart are sewn together for a new frankenstein.  our first case in point, while rather simplistic in its structure (1 stanza of artist a, 1 stanza of artist b, repeat), is debbie harry's rapture riders (doors vs. blondie) [ed note: pls. forgive the embedded ads]:

simplistic, yes, but we enjoy how the under-current of bells, saxophones and bass guitar of blondie's rapture perfectly holds up jim morrison's lyrics.

stretching across decades even further, we love nine inch nails vs. beatles "come closer together."  we are sorry, we couldn't find the artist who first made this (we didn't try too hard, we admit).  and the video was done by someone else after the fact.  but what we love, aside from nin's industrial grundge perfectly contra-punctuating lennon's non-sequitored description of timothy leary, is that, when mixed together, it sounds like the two different songs are the same song at their very cores:

but our favorite example of decade-bridging takes two different songs that nobody in their right mind would ever have thought of putting in the same thought in the same night, week, or very possibly month, let alone mashed together into one.  and somehow, it goes beyond astounding and amusing to actually work.  again, we apologize for not citing the original artist (and for the pop-up ad), but sit back and behold gwen stefani vs. the soggy bottom boys, in "hollaback girl of constant sorrow":

lastly, as promised, we present our very favorite mash up of all time, by the great dj earworm.  it's one of his early works, and while not as complex as his united states of pop series, it still has more depth musically than the other works presented here.  earworm takes the scissor sisters, melds them together with paul mccartney perfectly, and then threads them in and out of george michael (with a dash of aretha franklin thrown in for good measure).  eventually at the end all the songs are playing, and while you'd think the result would be cacophony, it instead becomes and exciting crescendo to a perfect end.    with a video by steve colson, here's "no one takes your freedom":

what's your favorite mash up? be sure to show your work.
posted by skippy at 3:40 PM |


Beg pardon, but is your "shift" key broken? Reading all lower-case text is very tiring for my eyes--everything looks like a run-on.
commented by Blogger Asterix, 12:13 PM PDT  

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