Mashups v. 2.x

If you were to peek into my iPod these days, you’d find a lot of mashups. The ones that really have me impressed are from DJ Earworm, who has done some really great stuff. My favorites include “No One Takes Your Freedom,” which effortlessly mashes up the Scissor Sisters, George Michael, Aretha Franklin and the Beatles, and “Policy of Sweet Dreams,” which collides Depeche Mode’s “Policy of Truth” with the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.” Excellent stuff.

If you were to use a software metaphor for mashups, we’re starting to see the 2.x series, which are more technically polished than the first generation. Like software, music gets better with each iteration, so by the time we get to 5.0 things should be great.

Take hip hop, for example. If “Rappers’ Delight” and other early stuff was 1.x, by the time Public Enemy came around it was 3.x, and now we’re out in the 7 or 8 series.

But back to mashups. Check out CCC’s “Revolved” with its brilliant Beatles mashups including “Eleanor Ciccone” which mashes up ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and Madonna’s ‘Ray of Light’, as well as ‘Got to Get You In The Mood,’ which hilariously mashes ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’ with Glenn Miller’s ‘In The Mood.’

7 thoughts on “Mashups v. 2.x

  1. I couldn’t disagree more with your statement:

    “Like software, music gets better with each iteration, so by the time we get to 5.0 things should be great.”

    An original can never be replaced with a mix, just cause it mixes old with new. Don’t get me wrong I love DJ Z-Trip and those who diliberately take old beats and songs, and introduce classics to new ears, but they are not saying that there mixes are making the original sound better.

    It’s time to pick up an instrument, and back away from the keyboard.


  2. Yeah, but he doesn’t sound like he’s comparing the originals to the mashups, just the current generation of mashups to the previous.

    I would agree that the analogy holds up for certain genres, especially when dealing with electronica, but the number of exceptions greatly increases when you’re discussing genres that are instrument based.

  3. This is one of those conversations that is best had over a few beers. Of course mixes and original songs are two different things.

    Maybe the reason I get a kick out of mashups is because I suffer from Joyce DeWitt Syndrome (Czechs should translate that as Iva Kubelková syndrome), in which your knowledge of who Joyce DeWitt is is displacing actually useful information from your brain. You could be an expert on EU VAT policy, but you’re not because you know who Joyce DeWitt is.

    Mashups are a manifestation of Joyce DeWitt syndrome, because they take all these songs everybody knows all too well and recombine them. Is a mashup better than the original? That’s not the question. The better question is: Is there a party going on? If there is, I’m with it.

  4. Hi Douglas,
    This is the “cool CD” guy from Portugal! There is a very interesting DJ playing in the UK. His name is Erol Alkan, and he mashes up every underground song from the 80’s mixing it up with awesome electro space sounds from 2020! Mashups can be interesting, specially if you can’t stand listening to Europe “The final countdown” on the supermarket speakers down in Flora Shopping Center everyday… or Depeche Mode’s 3514 different remixes available in the Internet…
    Ok, everyone is invited to show up at Tulip Cafe every Friday, to hear Edgar from Portugal + Jeff from Texas US in a live act mixing soft synths, dj software and hardware samplers! Yes the future is here, at Tulip! Thanks for this one Doug! Hasta la vista!

  5. “This is one of those conversations that is best had over a few beers.”

    Amen. Hallelujah.
    I actually grabbed a beer when I opted to post. It was an involuntary response to the subject matter. 😀

    I’ve never heard it called Joyce DeWitt Syndrome before, but by god, that’s perfect!

  6. Doug, that is what I called blog bait. My first post was to push your buttons, but in a good way. I know your background in music, and would be a retard to suggest that I have more knowledge or appreciation of good music than you. I just saw an great opportunity to bait you into a good debate.

    And of course, you have once again came through as the bigger man. Damn it!! I hate when that happens.

    Oh yeah, you missed a huge weekend out in Cali. Let’s see if I can some it up:
    1) Booze
    2) Carne Asada
    3) Grandma’s fresh salsa
    4) Booze
    5) Your Dad’s cheesy jokes
    6) Poker
    7) laugh ’til your side hurts
    8) *repeat #4-7 ’til 6:00 A.M.


  7. I think Grant’s comment is a bit off base in that mashups aren’t mixes of one song, but of at least 2, and tend to create something truly new from the combination. I mean, is ccc’s “Sunshine” a manipulation of Good Day Sunshine? Of Groove Is In the Heart? Of Eight Miles High? Or a new song that happens to utilize these and other tunes?

    I’m kind of bugged by people who say, in effect, that mashups are just a craft, and a hackish craft at that. “Ordinary” music, too, involves craftsmanship, and mashups, too, involve having an artistic idea. It’s just that the ratio of idea-to-craftsmanship is… sometimes… more on the “idea” side with music. But even the sheer amount of blood sweat and tears in a proper mashup is worthy of respect… ccc wrote, for example, that Revolved took a year to compose. And I believe him.

    Anybody for continuing this over a beer if yer all in Brno anytime soon?


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