VH1 prides itself on being a mashup of pop culture, so it seems only fair that we turn our attention to mashups of the musical variety! Although sometimes frowned upon for teetering towards copyright infringement, blends done with exquisite skill create a track that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Done right, a mashup enhances both songs, allowing us to discover new sonic possibilities contained within sounds that had become stale and boring. If that ain’t art, we don’t know what is.
Since the advent of cheap audio editing software and websites like YouTube, it’s become much easier to create and share “revisions” of well-loved tunes. These DJs work hard on their tributes, and so we’d humbly like to offer a showcase for some of our favorites. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Remix Rewind!
To get us started, we tapped Jay-Z to head-up our inaugural post. Mr. Shawn Carter helped spark our love of mashups back in 2004, when his Black Album was expertly mixed with the Beatles‘ White Album by DJ extraordinaire Danger Mouse, creating (what else?) The Grey Album. The best of two (very different) worlds blew our 16-year-old mind at the time. So now we’d like to check out 10 other awesome uses of Hova’s verses and beats. Enjoy!
Noted “Tom Hiddleston as F. Scott Fitzgerald” enthusiast Meghan O’Keefe and I take on The Great Gatsby and debate each track on this epic soundtrack. How did Beyonce do on her cover of Amy Winehouse? How does Florence Welch compare to Lana Del Rey and Sia?
For most of you, today is simply Saturday, April 20. However, we just KNOW there are a bunch of you out there who have been counting down the days on your calendar for today, particularly those of you who smoke the occasional (or not so occasional) joint. Yes, today is 4/20, a day that marijuana enthusiasts the nation over celebrate with blunts, spliffs, bongs and vaporizers. As a way to acknowledge this the intersection of ganja and music, we thought we’d do some lyrical analysis of musicians across a variety of genres— we’re talking everyone from Jay-Z to The Beatles, from Lana Del Rey to Rihanna—to find out what they do when they get high.
Chris Tomlin —who?— debuts at No. 1, trailed by the scary dudes in Hollywood Undead. Here’s a look at this week’s Nielsen SoundScan sales figures:
CHRIS WHO?: Chris Tomlin tops this week’s chart with his seventh album Burning Lights, which sold 73,000 copies this week, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures released Wednesday. OK, so who is Chris Tomlin? He’s a 40-year-old contemporary Christian artist from Texas whose previous chart high came in 2008 when his album Hello Love debuted at No. 9. Tomlin benefited from a weak sales frame —this week marks the lowest sales tally for a No. 1 album since September, when another Christian act, tobyMac, hit No. 1— and his numbers were buoyed by sales at churches and other non-traditional outlets, which accounted for a full 40 percent of the album’s sales, Billboard notes. Guest artists on Burning Lights include Lecrae, Kari Jobe and Phil Wickham; Tomlin must not have 2 Chainz’ most recent phone number.
P!NK GOES PLATINUM: Congratulations are in order for P!nk, whose September release The Truth About Love crosses the platinum marker this week. The album, which debuted at No. 1 last year with 281,000 first week sales, sold 28,000 copies this week, landing at No. 12 and bringing its total sales to 1.014 million copies. P!nk is mounting a U.S. tour in support of the album which kicks off Feb. 13 at Phoenix’s US Airways Center, and we’re guessing there will be aerial stunts involved. Read more…
Our countdown continues with the 12 of Music’s Breakout Stars of 2012. It’s been a glorious year musically with diverse projects by promising new artists. While Frank Ocean‘s stardom is no surprise, who would’ve expected PSY to sing with Bieber‘s manager Scooter Braun? Meek Mill sketched his name in cement as one of hip-hop’s brightest stars this year transitioning from mixtape storyteller to mainstream success. How good 2013 will treat these breakout stars is unforeseeable, but with raised glasses let’s all toast to the year of stars coming out (no pun intended). Read more…
Last week, we successfully brought you the VH1 staff’s favorite songs of 2011 without any bloodshed, and we’re happy to report that no one’s brain exploded while trying to narrow down the amazing albums of 2012 into a concise list. Again, what VH1 staffers enjoyed in 2012 was a rich and vibrant tapestry of genres, created both by newcomers and veterans.
As far as consensus is concerned, there were 23 LPs that appeared on multiple ballots, but only 6 that appeared on four or more lists: Miguel‘s Kaleidoscope Dream (7 ballots), Emeli Sandé‘s Our Version Of Events and Frank Ocean‘s channel ORANGE (6 ballots apiece), Kendrick Lamar‘s good kid, m.A.A.d. city (5 ballots), Taylor Swift‘s RED and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis‘ The Heist (each with 4 ballots).
Everyone knows that albums don’t sell — exceptions granted to all British neo-soul performers whose names begin with the letter “A” and end with “dele,” because their albums go Diamond — and so tasked with the challenge of assuring that their albums actually sell, artists have done away with the televised performance here, album singing there promotional tours of old in favor of elaborate stunts that include breaking world records, reuniting with abusive boyfriends, large pizza pies and selling at least a few extra records. Here are five of the wackiest pulled in the last 365 days:
The year is running down, and like everyone else, we are bundling up our most memorable musical moments from the year into a slew of Best Of’s. Before we get to the more obvious lists — the best albums, the best songs — we thought we would have a little fun. First up: 9 delightful collaborations, made all the more so for their unexpectedness. We aren’t talking Watch The Throne-style of-course-they-would team-ups, we’re talking collaborations that we couldn’t in our wildest dreams have imagined or that we thought we would never see, like — well, these nine:
Barton Hollow is totally “an indie record much cooler than mine,” but more careful observer might have predicted this unlikely but delightful collaboration, as Swift began yammering about her fellow Nashville transplants The Civil Wars on twitter long before this was even a possibility. We, however, were left breathless upon learning that one of the day’s biggest pop stars had teamed-up with one of our favorite You Oughta Know acts — and for a song for such a pivotal moment in the Hunger Games movie, no less! Joy Williams harmonizing turns Taylor’s girlish coo haunting, and John Paul White‘s patient guitar plucking gets the whole thing swirling. See also:“The Last Time,” Taylor’s distressed duet with Gary Lightbody of Northern Ireland’s mostly absent as of late folk rock set Snow Patrol. Taylor is a slick machine when it comes to her music, and it was a surprise to see her reaching out of bounds for this one.
Hard to believe as it may be given the boom box beats and all the sing-rapping that resulted, Warrior is allegedly a tribute to the genre Ke$ha loves the most: rock and roll. If you really strain your ears, you may hear some of that “old hippie rock” in the breakdown of “Die Young.” You won’t have to try so hard with “Dirty Pop,” which features Iggy Pop, a true and blue rock star and someone Ke$ha has spent a lot of time talking about through the years. The joy she must have felt the first time she heard him call her “Wild Child” on her own song is evident. See also:“2012,” K$’s duet with fellow weirdos The Flaming Lips.