Mashup Roundup: Tom Petty vs. Beyonce, Cure vs. Commodores, Police vs. Bee Gees, Santastic 4

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


mojo-photo-mashups121008.jpg

How crazy is it that this goofball amateur phenomenon of combining the vocals of one song with the instrumentation from another continues to produce interesting, amusing, and hypnotic tracks, despite being declared dead, useless, and stupid? While Girl Talk’s more or less enjoyable album (consisting mostly of fast-paced combos featuring rap over hipster rock) is landing in many year-end Top 10s, I’ve always preferred the well-constructed mashup song to the hyper laptop DJ set, a focused short story to the mixtape’s sprawling novel. Here are a couple of the best recent tracks (and, well, one concept album).

First up, this combo from LA-based BRAT, which has already gotten props from Rolling Stone and Wired. It places the vocals from The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” over The Commodores’ “Easy”; the latter has always been a secret favorite of mine ever since Faith No More’s deadpan cover on Angel Dust. The combination is, honestly, breathtaking: “Easy” has a gentle swing, and seems to uncover the same in Robert Smith’s vocals; the Cure original’s uptempo pace suddenly seems frenetic and ridiculous in comparison.

MP3: BRAT – “Easy Heaven”

Next, it’s Parisian DJ Zebra, whose weekly radio show and sold-out live gigs make him probably the most successful purveyor of the mashup in the world. He’s focused in recent years on French vocals, but when he turns to stuff we know, he still knocks it out of the park. This track combines The Bee Gees’ driving “You Should Be Dancing” with The Police’s anguished “Roxanne,” and it’s an exhilarating listen. It’s a surefire dancefloor smash with the same “whoa” moment when the vocal comes in as Go Home Productions’ now-classic “Rapture Riders.”

MP3: DJ Zebra – “Roxanne Should Be Dancing” (scroll down under “productions” to find the link).

San Francisco producer DJ Earworm got a huge amount of attention with his recent Radiohead/Kanye combo, but I have to say I like his new one even better. It manages to take Beyonce’s annoying “If I Were a Boy” and make it both more listenable and conceptually more intriguing by layering it over Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.” Appropriate lyrical snippets from Petty’s classic ballad drift in and out between Beyonce’s laments that take on new levels of meaning: “She’s a good girl.”

MP3: Earworm – “If I Were a Free Fallin’ Boy”

And there’s a video:

Of course, there’s the inevitable holiday-themed mashup album, just in time to stuff someone’s stocking. Compiled by Boston’s DJ BC, Santastic Four offers up “spine-tingling, pulse-pounding holiday bootlegs,” including “High Tides and Blocked Peace Pipes,” Go Home Production’s combination of a variety of vocals over Blondie’s “The Tide is High,” as well as Austrian DJ Schmolli’s “Pumping Up Christmas” that uses MARRS’ classic “Pump up the Volume” as a basis.

Various Artists – Santastic Four

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate