I’m unashamed to say that I’m a huge fan of Adele’s music. I don’t mean to play the hipster card, but I discovered her around the release of her debut album, 19. All it took was one listen to the chorus of “Chasing Pavements” for me to believe that this young lady was destined for big things. Fast forward a few years: I own all three of her studio albums and, Lord willing, I’ll see her live in October.
I thought that Adele would make her way into my mashup canon, but I didn’t expect it to happen like this.
A few days ago, I found out about a lovely cover of “Hello,” the lead single from Adele’s latest album. Actually, calling it a cover doesn’t quite do it justice. The Piano Guys took it a step further and mashed it up with “Lacrimosa” by Mozart. I already knew about that song thanks to Evanescence’s second album, but I’d never actually heard it in orchestral form until I heard The Piano Guys’ mashup.
Now, if you’ve been following my work for a reasonably long time, I shouldn’t need to explain what happened shortly afterward. This isn’t even my first foray into chamber music, but nonetheless, this is a mashup which I am fiercely proud of. Given that I’ve released 87 other mashups, that’s saying a lot.
It’s been a very long time since I entered a mashup contest at Mashstix. The last time I did that, I ended up winning. I was hoping to continue that streak; that task would have been easier if there weren’t thirteen other entrants!
Truth be told, the theme of January’s contest, Decades, was pretty great. Suppose you made an A/B mashup and one of your sources was from the 90s. Your other source could come from the any decade up to and including the 1970s, or from the 2010s. However, the 1980s and 2000s would be off limits. These rules were more complicated as the number of sources increased, but you’ve got the basic idea.
I didn’t plan to enter this contest, but once again, a trip to the library sparked a mashup idea. I ended up pairing a jazz song from 1965 with an alternative rock tune from 2001. If that concept sounds as interesting to you as it did to me, you’re my target market for this release.
Even though I struggled to come up with worthwhile mashup ideas in the latter part of 2015, I always held out a flicker of hope that I would hit paydirt once again.
Fortunately, my employment prospects were improving; I started working for a company on a temporary basis in August. I didn’t expect my tenure to last until December, but I’m glad that it did. In my last months with the company, I worked on a data entry project. In order to distract myself from the (tolerable) monotony of the task at hand, I brought CDs from home to play in the office. One of them was Air’s Moon Safari.
One of the songs which struck me as a possible mashup candidate was “Ce Matin La.” I must have listened to it shortly after the release of Adele’s massive comeback single, “Hello.” At the time, I thought that these songs would sound good together, but the time I had for making mashups was limited. I ultimately shelved that idea.
Fast forward to the evening of January 1st, 2016. I was still struggling for ideas, so I thought that checking my folder of unused acapellas wouldn’t hurt. One of the first songs I considered was Dragonette’s “Easy”; since the acapella sounded decent enough, it only needed a suitable instrumental match.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to look far to find it.
2015 wasn’t much better than 2014, but at least it was better. That’s a start which I hope to build on this year.
I started 2015 in a bad place. I was unemployed and going deeper and deeper into debt. On top of that, I was on my annual social media hiatus, so I cut myself off from any aid I could have received…or so I thought. At least my creative well wasn’t running dry at that time.
Fast forward to the present: I’m unemployed again, though I expect it to be a temporary situation. I’ve cut back on my involvement in producing and reviewing mashups, though this was by necessity more than anything else. Fortunately, since I’m on another social media break, I have more time to play around with for at least a few months.
It was my goal to produce less mashups than I did in 2014, if only to reduce the number of misfires I published. At this point, only “Eye Of Murdoch” stands out as more of a good idea at the time than a good idea. With that said, it doesn’t make me retch like some of my other work.
Of the thirteen mashups I produced in 2015, these are my favourites (listed in chronological order):
Lone Shot (Pat Benatar vs. Hans Zimmer) | Download
Take My Medicine (Franz Ferdinand vs. Snoop Dogg & Willie Nelson) | Download
Waiting For Law & Order (Mike Post vs. Gwen Stefani) | Download
After releasing “The Good, The Bad & The Bananas,” I struggled to come up with a worthy follow-up. It’s not that I lacked for ideas, but none of them inspired me to bring them to completion. On top of that, my employment situation started to improve, so I had less time to devote to the mashup scene. This meant that weeks would pass where I wouldn’t even log in at Mashstix, let alone give feedback on submissions. In my worst moments, I thought I was done with making mashups. Perhaps I’d exhausted every good idea and it was time to bid adieu to yet another creative pursuit.
Thanks to an ElectroSound mashup from last year, I started considering possible matches for a Linkin Park song called “Powerless.” However, this song’s odd verse structure further limits the number of songs it can be matched with. One of those songs was an old Moby song which I hadn’t listened to in many years. One morning, I fooled around with it to see if I could make it fit Linkin Park’s song.
This unexpected moment of creativity ended up being a long-awaited breakthrough.
I was hoping to update this blog with an entry other than “Here’s a video for one of my mashups,” but I’ll take what I can get. For now, I’ll just say that while my employment situation has slightly improved, mashup inspiration is constantly eluding me these days.
Given my creative drought, I’m glad that my latest, “The Good, The Bad And The Bananas,” is still making its presence felt. DJ Morgoth gave it the leadoff position in his latest edition of Mash-Up Your Bootz; if that was the end of it, I’d be happy.
Fortunately, that’s not the end of it.
I was surprised to find out that Tremenz made a video for my mashup; I didn’t even know that he was working on it! I only found out when I logged in to Facebook and clicked on a notification.
Showering has been good for my mashup career, among other obvious things. It’s funny how I usually come up with nothing when I’m trying to generate mashup ideas. However, when my first priority is cleaning up, I can end up with pretty good combinations.
This one wasn’t quite born during the actual shower, but its conception started while I was moisturizing. I initially wanted to pair “Hollaback Girl” with a song from the From Russia With Love soundtrack. I thought that “Hollaback” was in the key of B minor, but a glance at Wikipedia proved me wrong; the actual key is E-flat minor. So much for that idea.
Fortunately, another soundtrack came to the rescue. I’ve had the theme song from The Good, The Bad And The Ugly on my radar for a while. Before I made “Waiting For Law & Order,” I considered pairing it with “Outside” by Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding, but the verses would have been too long. Fortunately, the verses in “Hollaback” fit quite nicely.
Some people can’t live without coffee; others can’t live without sex. I, however, can’t live without a good book. The simple act of reading pages of words written by someone else can be an immersive experience. This was the case with Billy Idol’s autobiography, Dancing With Myself. Naturally, I started vetting mashup ideas involving Mr. Broad, but apart from a possible match with Bonobo, none of them were shocks to the system.
Fortunately, the same day that I started reading the book, I listened to a John Williams greatest hits CD. Mr. Williams is the composer behind well-known music from films like E.T., Jaws, and Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Until recently, I had no idea about his contributions to the Olympics. While Leo Arnaud originally composed “Bugler’s Dream,” Mr. Williams rearranged it, coming up with the version which NBC uses in their Olympic television coverage.
I previously matched this Olympic theme with “Eyes Without A Face,” but it was the pairing with “Rebel Yell” which passed my gut check test and made me laugh before I heard the result.
I love it when ideas come out of nowhere. That’s what happened with my latest mashup.
Mind you, one day last week, I was vetting possible combinations with a song from a movie: the theme from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. Thanks to its infamous nature, it’s been on my radar for a long time. Even with that going for it, I ended up scrapping what I initially thought would have been a viable mashup idea.
Fast forward a few hours later. I was checking my Instagram feed when I saw an image of the late Jerry Orbach and a quote from a long-running American TV show: “In the criminal justice system…” The theme song from that show instantly came back to me; it didn’t take me long to find a suitable match for it.
Imagine my pleasant surprise when I found out that the man behind such well-known TV themes as Hill Street Blues and Magnum P.I. also composed this one. Once again, it’s an honour to pay tribute to the work of Mike Post.
I ended my social media hiatus a few weeks ago; I’ll have much more to say about it in a future blog entry. However, I’ll say this much for now: I had a four-day temporary job at a record label when I decided to return. That gig is over, but I’m now taking a free online course…
This latest mashup is the first one I’ve completed since ending that hiatus, but the idea actually came to me last year. I didn’t think that it was good enough for me to pursue, so I scrapped it. However, it boomeranged earlier this week during a shower. I still had misgivings about it; given my goal of releasing mashups I can stand behind, would this one be the “Piranha Shake” of 2015?
Given the vote of confidence I received at Mashstix, I don’t think I had anything to worry about.