Tom: DJ Fresh, purveyor of top-quality dance CHOONS. Dizzee Rascal, one of the most energetic live performers I’ve ever seen. Surely this can’t be anything other than spectacularly good?
Tom: Okay, that’s not the best start, but I’m sure it’ll pick up… huh. That’s… well. That’s two very different songs jammed together. One’s an 80s-inspired synth singalong, and the other’s a bassline-fuelled Dizzee rap track. And it keeps switching between the two.
Tim: Yes, it does, doesn’t it?
Tom: And I like it.
Tim: Ah, a difference of opinion.
Tom: Here’s the thing: I can’t explain why I like it. Maybe it’s just because these two are clearly so damned good; even when it seems a bit disjointed, the various parts are still so energetic and danceable that they just work anyway.
Tim: You think? Yes, they’re energetic and danceable, but whenever Mr Rascal’s doing his stuff, I’m thinking, “Hurry up, bring back the other bit,” but when they do bring back the other bit I think that Dizzee needs to come back or it’ll get annoying. And then he does come back, and I want him to go away again. Oh, I DON’T KNOW.
They’re going through the motions rather than actually having fun.
Tom: I saw the artists’ names and immediately thought “hell yes”. The woman who sang the best-selling song of the 21st century so far, and the best British rapper ever? (Don’t argue. I’ve seen him live, and I’ve never seen a crowd get quite so excited.)
Tom: It’s a typical Latin-influenced track, with singing from Shakira and verses from Mr. Rascal (as he’s formally known).
Tom: That’s what you’d expect from a collaboration like this – and there’s even a point where they trade lines as well. But what’s missing seems to be the energy. It almost seems like they’re going through the motions rather than actually having fun recording it.
Tim: One of the problems is that for the most part, Shakira’s getting through so many words that she’s practically unintelligible, so I have no idea what the song’s about. That was particularly the case when Dizzee was talking about feeling ‘el presidente’, and I spent a good couple of minutes wondering what orange juice had to do with anything, before I realised I was thinking of Del Monte.
There’s one time you can definitely understand her though, and it leads to a question I have long wanted to know the answer to: what is it with rappers and wanting to be called ‘daddy’ (or, in this case, ‘papi’)? It’s just plain weird, but it’s all over the place – Usher’s particularly guilty of it. Since when did incest become attractive?
If I was a girl, and my boyfriend said that to me, I would say to him, ‘Okay, I’ll call you daddy, but only if you call me mummy,’ and then I’d watch him run screaming from the room.
Tom: That’s a mental image that’s going to stay with me for a while.
Anyway, the lack of enthusiasm’s the same in the video – him and her have blatantly been filmed separately, perhaps even on different continents with the help of some bluescreen.
Tim: Actually, that is one heck of a distracting video, for a blindingly obvious reason.
Tom: Well, yes, I think anyone who…
Tim: …and that is Shakira’s attitude towards basic safety practices.
Tom: Wait, what?
Tim: She wears kneepads when she’s rollerblading in her very small amount of clothing – looks a bit odd, but it’s okay because it’s demonstrating good procedure for any children watching. However, then she goes on a motorbike without any real torso protection and no sign of any helmet (which is almost certainly illegal, by the way). Totally mixed messages.
Tom: How well will the American market react to “that girl is a nutter” being in there? No idea, but I hope it helps Mr. Rascal crack America. He deserves it.
Thirty years of pop culture in three and a half minutes.
Tom: It’s been a few weeks, so let’s have some more mashups. First of all, here’s Miracles by Norwegian Recycling.
Tom: It’s one of those genius mashups that pulls in a dozen different sources to make a coherent whole. It doesn’t really seem to go anywhere, or do any building, but it’s just rather pleasant to listen to. It’s a run through thirty years of pop culture in three and a half minutes, and the video brings it all together nicely.
Tim: Ooh, I like that – I’ve always quite liked mashups that pile in a whole load of songs together just to see what happens, such as the United State of Pop ones, and Party Ben‘s Boulevard of Broken Songs, and this one pulls it off well.*
* There’s also Axis of Awesome’s Four Chord Song, which whilst not actually being a mashup is still fun to listen to.
Tom: There’s been some very clever autotuning on Cee-Lo Green, as well; while it still sounds like him, I’m fairly sure those aren’t exactly the notes he was originally singing…
Tim: Well, with so many songs you’re bound to need a little pitch correction on there just to keep them in the same key, surely.
Tom: No, it’s more than that: I think they’ve actually got him singing a different melody, not just a different key. I might be wrong, though.
Tim: The only thing I dislike about it is the Jason Derulo track – it’s one of his better ones, but it sounds like he forgot to write words to half the chorus, which gets me every time I hear it.
Tom: Second up, here’s a simple A+B mashup by Sam Flanagan. It’s called “Brimful of Bonkers”, and that tells you all you need to know really. Oh, but watch out for an unexpected cameo just after three minutes in.
Tom: It’s easy – there is, of course, not even any pitch correction to do – but it’s still a hell of a party tune. It could use being a bit shorter, but it’s good enough that I don’t really mind.
Tim: I thought that as well – it could easily lose the first verse/chorus, since it’s identical to the second. Anyway, you’re right, it is good, especially the cameo.
Tom: I know both the original songs off by heart, which normally would just make a mashup like this confusing – but this is just pulled together so nicely that it doesn’t matter.
Tim: Personally, I prefer it when I know the original songs – you get to think ‘Ooh, this is fun – never thought of these going together.’ And speaking of knowing the original songs, here’s a mixture of two Europlop favourites merged together by Benji of Sweden (apparently he’s the only one in the country) to form one big Bromance Killer:
Tim: Aside from the Radio Sweden jingle (which is surprisingly nonintrusive anyway), I think it’s ruddy marvellous, with him still managing to keep the big Lovekiller climax and all the energy that was originally there. Well done Mr Sweden.
Tom: Wow, that’s a belter. Bromance itself is steadily picking up more and more airplay and traction in the UK – the vocal remix with Love U Seek gets released on 25th October, which means it might well be a Big Autumn Hit.