I’ve only recently become aware of the musical phenomenon known as “mashups“, where DJs and remixers take what would seemingly be incompatible musical pieces and create coherent songs using said music. For example, Jay Z released an a capela version of his “Black” album which lead to the creation of several mashups based on his vocals and others’ music. DJ Danger Mouse was the first to remix Jay Z’s album, mixing it with the Beatles’ “White Album” resulting in the “Grey Album“. DJ Cheap Cologne chose to mix it with Metallica’s “Black Album” to create the “Double Black Album” (actual recordings of both the Grey and Double Black Albums are available via .torrents at BannedMusic.org, while a video of the Grey Album’s rendition of “Encore” is available from other sources). Philly Native DJ Uh…Mike mixed it with Weezer’s “Blue” album to form the “Black and Blue Album“. Each of those efforts is well worth a listen, although I do think that the Grey Album is the best of the three and works best musically.
While those are certainly interesting efforts, I simply must draw your attention to an “album” by “Dean Gray” – American Edit. Jeff Harrell initially pointed me to this mashup which takes Green Day’s “American Idiot” as its base and turns out an album that is far superior to its punk underpinnings, albeit in an extremely bizarre fashion. For instance, “Dr. Who on Holiday” combines Green Day’s “On Holiday” with the Dr. Who theme to very catchy effect, while “Impossible Rebel” combines Green Day’s “She’s a Rebel” with the “Mission: Impossible” theme, the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen” and Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing”. It’s bizarre, it sounds unlikely, but oh, does it work! See also “American Jesus” for Green Day + Johnny Cash + Bryan Adams + a dance remix of “American Idiot” or “Boulevard of Broken Songs” for Green Day + Oasis + Aerosmith.
Then, if that whets your appetite for mashups, you’d be well served to check out the Kleptones’ Yoshi Battles the Hip Hop Robots and A Night at the Hip-Hopera, a combination of classic hip hop and Queen riffs (see Waxy.org’s complete track listing to see just how many hip hop artists were combined with Queen).
Lyrical note: Each of those projects is based on the work of musical artists whose lyrical vocabularies tend to range from “blue” to “very blue” to “cuss like a sailor blue”, so please treat each link as if it had a “Parental Advisory” sticker on it. You have been warned.