I have kind of a love-hate relationship with mash-ups. Done right, they are freaking amazing, like peanut butter and chocolate. I’m in awe of people that can hear two songs and realize that they fit together like hand and glove. The trouble with mash-ups is that there a million and one bad ones for every five good ones. For starters, if the songs aren’t in the same key, forget it. It’s going to be like nails down the chalkboard. You can slow down or speed up one of the songs to get them into the same key, but I really feel like that’s cheating. Also, you can’t force them together. I can forgive a few seconds in which there’s some dissonance, but generally, it has to be just like my favorite pop songs – smooth and effortless.
Over the years, I’ve amassed quite a collection of mash-ups thanks to the internet and I thought, what better topic for a seven songs post? The hardest part was finding a YouTube video for all of them. Alas, some of my favorites didn’t make the cut for that very reason. I toyed with uploading them to Soundcloud but in this day and age, that’s just too risky and I didn’t want to end up being sued, or worse, the blog being taken down because I violated copyright.
1) Never Give Up Your Holiday / Rick Astley vs. Madonna
It seems only right that I start off with a Madonna mash-up. “Music” is probably the most frequently used Madonna song in mash-ups, but “Holiday” is certainly used a lot too. There are more Rick-centric versions of this mash-up, relegating Madonna to background status while the lyrics of “Never Gonna Give You Up” are more prominent, but I like this one better. Note: this YouTube video is extremely awful, but it was the only one I could find.
2) Slow (Don’t You Want Me) / Kylie Minogue vs. Human League
This song could use just a little bit more Human League, but it really works, as opposed to the attempt to mash-up “All the Lovers” with “How Bizarre” which is an example of a mash-up that almost works.
3) A Slim McShady / Eminem vs. Wings
Eminem mash-ups are a dime a dozen, mostly because the a capella of so many of his songs is so readily available. But of all of the Eminem mash-ups in the world, this is probably my favorite, because its bedfellow is so unexpected.
4) Rapture Riders / The Doors vs. Blondie
This mash-up became so well received that Blondie ended up putting it one of their greatest hits CDs. There’s no arguing that they really do go well together.
5) Need Bananas Tonight / Gwen Stefani vs. INXS
This was the version of “Hollaback Girl” that finally made me appreciate it.
6) Out of Talk (Hall & Oates Mix) / Darren Hayes vs. Hall & Oates
What’s this? An official mash-up? Indeed it is, and it’s a keeper. Darren Hayes’ lead single from his latest album was mixed in with Hall & Oates “Out of Touch” and the results were pretty spectacular.
7) Virgin O’Reilly / Madonna vs. The Who
We started with a Madonna mash-up so it seems fitting to end with one. This one had to grow on me a little bit, but in the end, I’m convinced it works. I love the pissy comments on the YouTube video from dudes who act like Madonna’s cheesy little pop song somehow befouled their classic rock. To these guys I have one thing to say: Lighten the fuck up! It’s just music. It’s supposed to be fun.
As I said, some of my favorites didn’t make this list due to the lack of a YouTube video. My favorite Madonna mash-up, “Express The Love”, which mashes up “Express Yourself” with Hanson’s “Where’s The Love” is probably the most notable. I also couldn’t find one for Kelly Clarkson vs. John Fogerty’s “Since You Been Centerfield” (“Since U Been Gone” and “Centerfield”) and Katy Perry vs. Snap!’s “I Kissed A Dancer” (“I Kissed A Girl” and “Rhythm Is A Dancer.” Oh well, you can search the series of tubes for those. Or just ask nicely.
Did I miss your favorite? Fire away and let me know.