After you’ve listened to a song often enough that you can sing the whole thing karaoke –style without a screen assist (and make it even more embarrassing when you screw it up), you can either move on to new music or try to approach it in a new way. Since we can all happily laugh off the “move on” option, let’s take a look at a way that awesome popular songs have been given new life: mashups. Whether it be musical portions that are blended into each other for effect or mixtures of instrumentation with vocals, some very exciting results are just waiting for you to experience them. Here are my top 10 mashups:
10. Firework & Grenade
by Bruno Mars, Taio Cruz, Katy Perry and Sam Tsui
Frankly, I wouldn’t be would be surprised if listening to Sam Tsui’s addictive mash-up covers distracted you from listening to the rest of this list for the next hour. What they may lack in bass, his songs more than make up for in smoothness of transition, sheer sexiness of voice (if you like that kind of pitch), commitment, and energy.
9. The Final Teen Spirit
by Europe and Nirvana
Some might find this mash-up too repetitive or the two musical choices overly familiar. Some might even have hated Nirvana or Europe straight up in the first place. But this is perfect in a deeper sense. Cobain went on record as saying he hated Spirit and that he wrote it as a joke, and yet people insist that it’s a great and meaningful song just because it rags on mainstream teen interests. The Final Countdown, by contrast, is about as mainstream as you can get. It’s in the top five for use in sporting events (if only the opening notes.) Mixing that song with Spirit is a really killer way of spitting on Nirvana’s alleged counter-culture ambitions and the depth that people like to project on it.
8. Viva La Romance
by Lady Gaga and Coldplay
This one was chosen because the hatred for Lady Gaga and Coldplay is just too pervasive to not be tapped into. If you’re one of those people who hate either of these bands so much you do a fist pump whenever you see comedians like Maddox or Opie and Anthony insult them, this might be almost the exact opposite of a Zen experience for you, which can be great for learning about yourself.
Also it’s on here because I like it, but that other reason I gave sounded better.
7. Rigby Stew
by The Beatles and Green Day
Nobody hates The Beatles or Green Day, right? Right, the whole notion is utterly ridiculous. What makes this one worth seventh place on this list is the contrast between the most depressing song the Beatles ever did and the intense instrumentation of the Green Day song. Listened to today, it seems to take the vocals of a song from the 60’s that was somewhat fresh and original in it’s day and put it in an environment where it’s out of place and anachronistic. It’s like imagining an old lady (Eleanor Rigby herself, perhaps?) in a modern, busy, and oppressive world full of noise and fury. It really makes the original song like the words of a sermon that no one will hear.
Not that I think this is deliberate or that the guy who mixed it had anything artistic to say, mind you. It’s just fun to analyze and speculate like this.
by Michael Jackson and Ray Parker Jr.
No analysis necessary. Out of all of these, this is probably the most pure fun. It’s definitely the most 80’s of all of these, for better or worse. Just one change that should have been made: the youtube video should have been a photoshop mash-up of the Ghostbusters with Jackson from Thriller, even if it’s the wrong song.
5. How Six Songs Collide
by Howie Day, Five for Flying, Jason Mraz, Three Doors Down, Boyzone
Remember back when you watched TV and there were commercials for compilation discs that included the most popular five seconds of songs? This mash-up is basically the best possible version of one of those commercials. Even if you’re one of those cynics who hates songs in the least bit of sweetness, with this the saccharine flavors will vary enough to make it worth a try.
4. Monkey Gone To Opera
by Giacomo Puccini, Pixies, Goldfrapp, Stanley Kubrick
Ah, space travel. Ever since 2001: A Space Odyssey included a match cut between a bone flung in the air and a satellite orbiting Earth, we’ve linked humanity at its most evolved with humanity at its least evolved through that subject (unless you‘re more one of those Star Wars-types.) This one really captures and luxuriates in that feeling, allowing for a great trancelike experience. (Editor: embedding is disabled, click here to see video.)
3. A Fifth of Golddigger
by Walter Murphy/Beethoven and Kanye West
As of this writing, we mostly remember hating Kanye West for his publicity stunts, but remember when he was fun, like back when he did Golddigger? Oh… you remember that song being ridiculously overplayed, and kind of annoying? Well, even if you do, with some help from a Beethoven remix by Walter Murphy (also known for doing the music for Family Guy) the song gets some nice progression and more of a sense of humor. If you don’t find the contrast between Beethoven’s awesome strings and West’s petty relationship griping at least kind of funny, you disappoint us.
2. Rapture Riders
by Blondie/The Doors
Keeping up with the music scene is just plain hard, but I think I’ve caught up. Nothing more current than Blondie and The Doors. I think we can all agree that, if he keeps his act together, there will be big things in the future for this Jim Morrison kid.
1. Staying Another Alive Brick In the Wall
by The Bee Gees/Pink Floyd
For sheer synchronicity of chord progression and themes, you just can’t beat this combination captive boarding school British kids and John Travolta reminding us why disco was tolerated for a time. Seriously, watch Saturday Night Fever and Pink Floyd’s The Wall back to back and see if you don’t feel an overwhelming urge to both dance and mope. Luckily this mash-up only provides the dance, unless you actually listen to the lyrics.
By Dustin Koski
Add your favorite mashup to our TopTenz YouTube mashups playlist.