bioephemera

I’ve been a big fan of mashups ever since Freelance Hellraiser superposed Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle” on the Strokes’ “Hard to Explain.” But what happens when the pop music monoculture becomes so homogenous, you can mash just about anything together? In this track/video, DJ Earworm remixes twenty-five pop hits into a concoction that makes just as much melodic sense as most hits do. Frightening.

When music is this interchangeable, you know you’ve got a dangerous genephonic bottleneck on your hands. . . and that’s a recipe for extinction, baby. Just sayin’.

Comments

  1. #1 Patricia
    December 31, 2008

    Is it wrong that the sum of the whole was generally better than the parts?

  2. #2 Stephanie Z
    December 31, 2008

    I know that just about everybody gets nostalgic for the music of their teens, but this is one of the things that makes me think we really did have better pop music in the eighties. A mashup of The Stray Cats, Prince, Cyndi Lauper, Joan Jett and Falco would be hilarious.

  3. #3 Pseudonym
    January 6, 2009

    Stephanie Z, I get what you’re saying, but to be fair, Joan Jett and Cyndi Lauper are different genres.

    Think of a mix of 25 late 1970s disco songs. Or the same number of 80s euro-electro-pop songs or big-hair-metal songs. Don’t just remember the ones you liked, remember the ones you didn’t like and tuned out.

  4. #4 Pseudonym
    January 6, 2009

    One more thing. This is one of my favourite scenes from The Simpsons:

    TV host: Thank you, that was Whitesnake!
    Vocalist: We’re not Whitesnake man, we’re Poison.
    Guitarist: I thought we were Quiet Riot?
    Drummer (looking at the logo on the drum): Uhh, it says here we’re Ratt.

  5. #5 Stephanie Z
    January 6, 2009

    Pseudonym, I agree. They are widely different genres, but the thing is that they all got plenty of play on the local Top 40 stations (and the music video shows) when I was growing up. So did some of the hair metal bands. That’s what I think was beautiful about eighties pop music. Everything was pop.

    And yeah, that’s a great scene. Of course, I can still mostly tell them apart.

  6. #6 Pseudonym
    January 6, 2009

    Just for reference, here is Billboard’s top 25 singles for 1985:

    1. Careless Whisper, Wham!
    2. Like A Virgin, Madonna
    3. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Wham!
    4. I Want To Know What Love Is, Foreigner
    5. I Feel For You, Chaka Khan
    6. Out Of Touch, Daryl Hall and John Oates
    7. Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Tears For Fears
    8. Money For Nothing, Dire Straits
    9. Crazy For You, Madonna
    10. Take On Me, A-Ha
    11. Everytime You Go Away, Paul Young
    12. Easy Lover, Phil Collins and Philip Bailey
    13. Can’t Fight This Feeling, REO Speedwagon
    14. We Built This City, Starship
    15. The Power Of Love, Huey Lewis and The News
    16. Don’t You (Forget About Me), Simple Minds
    17. Cherish, Kool and The Gang
    18. St. Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion), John Parr
    19. The Heat Is On, Glenn Frey
    20. We Are The World, U.S.A. For Africa
    21. Shout, Tears For Fears
    22. Part-Time Lover, Stevie Wonder
    23. Saving All My Love For You, Whitney Houston
    24. Heaven, Bryan Adams
    25. Everything She Wants, Wham!

    If any aspiring DJ wants to have a go, there you are.

  7. #7 Jessica Palmer
    January 7, 2009

    We got into a discussion of the 1984, ’85, and ’89 Billboard lists last weekend, and concluded that they would make some really rocking mashups in the right hands. However, I’d still argue that the 2008 mashup is more sonically homogenous than an ’80s mashup could be. However, I’d love to see someone take up the gauntlet and prove us wrong!

    Incidentally, I find that I really like this DJ Earworm track. I keep listening to it, although I tune out as soon as it comes on. It’s just that hooky. Imagine how powerful it would be as the backing to a commercial: Must. . . buy. . . (product of choice here)

  8. #8 Pseudonym
    January 7, 2009

    Just to prove that you don’t just need modern pop… While searching around I discovered another amazing DJ Earworm track. The artists used are:

    Ace of Bass
    Mamas and the Papas
    Brandy & Monica
    Aaliyah
    Britney Spears
    Beyonce
    Donna Summer
    Maroon 5
    Eminem
    Alicia Keys
    Destiny’s Child
    Snoop Dogg
    DMX
    The Who
    Madison Avenue
    Eurythmics
    Peter Gabriel
    Irene Cara
    Kanye West
    Lynyrd Skynyrd
    Jason Mraz
    Phil Collins

    A more heterogeneous mix would be hard to find without going way outside the mainstream (e.g. mixing fusion jazz and Scandinavian death metal, though the combination of 80s thrash and 50s boy band comes pretty close). Still, it works.

  9. #9 Caitlan
    January 11, 2009

    Um, that was really well executed for what it was but it nonetheless hurt my ears a lot. And I don’t remember any of the components doing that.

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