Friday, 25 February 2011

Mashed?

One of my sons is in love with the song "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz. If ever there was a time where my kids see me as old, "past it" and outdated, it is now. I hate the bloody song! And the fact that it gets played around the house a million times a day doesn't help matters.

On a side-(yet somehow related) note, about this time each year since 2006, I eagerly await the new Best Of Bootie Compilation CD from Bootie Mashup. This year's comp had a song on it that has divided the music lovers of our house down the middle. It's a mashup of the aforementioned "Dynamite" and "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie. It's planted a wedge between the music fans because my 8-year old and I love Queen, but not Taio Cruz, and my 5 year old loves Dynamite, and hasn't heard Queen yet.

But "Dynamite Pressure" has become one of my favourite mashups of the moment.

WTF??? I hear you thinking. You'd be right in thinking that.

Mash-ups have been described by a good friend of mine as "Jive Bunny music". To be fair, he's not far wrong with that description.



Jive Bunny took existing songs and mixed them together in a huge medley. This is different to Hip-Hop and rap, which samples a short passage of an existing song, and sometimes reworks it so that it sounds new and different, giving it a different identity in the context of a new rap song.

Jive Bunny and the mashup guys don't want to change the identity of the original songs - they use easily recognisable pieces, and juxtapose them against each other, retaining each songs identity and familiarity, while creating a new song all the same.

"Dynamite Pressure" does exactly that - it takes two songs I already know and blends their identities together to create something new and interesting.

Technically, taking a crappy pop song and superimposing it over a classic song should be considered sacriligious, but I believe there is actually a purpose to this style of music.

Firstly, I think this type of music is great for breaking down the snobbery that is endemic among music fans. While the old adage "one man's trash is another man's treasure" rings true with music, music fans take this concept to ridiculous extremes. The beauty of a mashup is that it takes music or vocals from a song that is a classic, and is instantly recognisable, and places something over the top that is different. This broadens the music's appeal. Because here you have something that the listener does know really well, and adds something to it that they don't know, thus recontextualising already familiar music with something else that is unknown. And when it's done well, it is truly awesome.

The crew who contribute to BootieMashup.com are some of the best in the business when it comes to mashups. At worst, these tracks are merely interesting. At best, they blow your mind - because when you hear something that you know, your brain thinks expects to hear a vocal line, but then something else happens. In the playlist below, take "Passenger Fever" as an example. You know Iggy's "The Passenger" by heart by now (what's the bet it's playing in your head now as you read this!). Well, you'll expect to hear Iggy start singing "I am the passenger...", but he never does. Instead, you hear the familiar, soft dulcet tones of Miss Peggy Lee: "...never know how much I love you...". You would never think to blend those two songs together, but someone has and it's awesome.

Some of these tracks include some music that I wouldn't normally listen to. I've never listened to a Jay-Z track (by choice) in my life, and chances are I wouldn't listen to his work otherwise. But here, blended with the rhythm section of his track "Pimpin'" is the vocals from Billy Joel's "Big Shot", thus exposing me to something I've never heard of, along with something I know quite well. And it works wonderfully.

Check out the tunes below and let me know what you reckon in the comments.

Cheers - until next time!

Note: there is language warning on some of these tracks.

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