That’s Not A Mashup

As a mashup producer, it annoys me when people apply the term “mashup” to something which is clearly not a mashup. Obviously, I can’t make my case without identifying what a mashup actually is.

A mashup is a combination of two or more songs; usually, acapellas are combined with instrumentals to produce a “new” piece of music. I usually stick to combining one acapella with one instrumental, but I’ve heard mashups combining many acapellas with one instrumental. Heck, some of them eschew acapellas altogether and combine more than one instrumental.

Now that we’ve defined what a mashup is, we can examine what a mashup is not.

When two different artists perform one complete song from any of their discographies, it’s not a mashup. For example, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel recently introduced a new segment in his show, misleadingly titled Mash Up Mondays. In its first edition, Weezer was paired up with ZZ Top and they performed “Sharp Dressed Man” by the latter group. I’ve only found one video of the performance, but since I’m not in the United States, I’m unable to watch it. Nonetheless, the only things being mashed up in this so-called mashup series are the artists’ names. That said, Wee-Z Top is pretty clever, as is Morris Day And The Haim.

When sections of unseparated (i.e. not split into parts, like instrumental and acapella) songs are put together, it’s not a mashup. Recently, this collage of country songs went viral; it was made by Gregory Todd.

We have proof that these songs sound very similar and that Mr. Todd’s ear is pretty sharp. However, since no acapella from any song has been combined with the instrumental from any of the other ones, we do not have a mashup.

I have nothing personal against Mr. Todd or Mr. Kimmel. However, when you incorrectly describe something as a mashup, you look foolish to people who actually know what a mashup is.

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