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Mommy, What’s a Mashup?

Topics: Music | 1 CommentBy admin | July 30, 2008

What do you get when you cross the Black Album with the White Album?

I was surprised recently to find out how few of the young hipsters in my social circle seem to know about Mashups. For the uninitiated, read the overblown, self-important Wikipedia definition here. The concept is simple. Take two or more familiar pop media elements (from virtually any media), and mash them together to pleasing or amusing effect (I’ve never adequately defined for myself how they differ from “remixes”; they just do). The YouTube clip at left is a great example: George Bush covers U2′s Sunday Bloody Sunday, from RX’s “Party Party” mashup. Since mashups involve using large recognizable pieces of intellectual property, they’re often subject to takedown notices by the RIAA or MPAA as soon as they become popular. For that reason it’s often easiest to BitTorrent them. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but some faves of mine include Party Ben and Team9′s Dean Gray -American Edit (Green Day – American Idiot); Danger Mouse’s Grey Album (Jay-Z’s “The Black Album” mashed with The Beatles’ “White Album”) The Ciccones – The Immaculate Concoction (Madonna mixed with just about everything); The Beastles (Beastie Boys with the Beatles) and RX’s PartyParty (George Bush with a variety of artists, the highlights being Sunday Bloody Sunday, Dick is a Killer, and Who’s tha Nigga). For an amusing RIAA-endorsed (and seriously plagiaristic) mashup check out Lily Allen’s Alright Still. Although an official commercial release, it happily repurposes (without acknowledgment) an entire CD of music by other people. Check out “Alright, Steal” to see where Lily gets her, ahem, “inspiration”.

Read Comments

  1. Posted by musiclikedirt on 07.30.08 4:30 am

    Thanks for the link. To be fair to Lily if you look at the song writing credits on the album she does credit her samples. Many of the samples were recreated for either ease of use or to pay less royalties but especially on the vinyl edition of the album it lists the original songs. Had to do a bit of detective work to track down the correct versions.