Trend of music mashups takes off

Pitch Perfect was one of the most popular movies of the year, filled with humor, romance, aca-awkward moments, and mashups. The movie’s combination of complementary songs, whether new or old, struck a chord with audiences and led to millions in sales on iTunes. However, despite the success of this genre since the film, it is not new to the music scene. Mashups first became popular in the early 2000s, when computer technology first allowed for the blending of songs, and since then, mashups have taken off. DJs can produce compositions combining anywhere from two to forty original works. Mashups are not just a way of meshing together songs; creating them requires the ability to meld the most unlikely songs to form harmonies and melodies completely their own.

Sarah Karels, Staff Writer

“Broke Phi Broke”
White Noise
Definitely one of the strangest combinations, “Broke Phi Broke” contains a vast array of musical tastes. Beginning with the banjo chords found in Mumford and Sons’ “The Cave,” White Noise adds a variety of textures over this repetitive melody. Soon “Lollipop” by Lil Wayne joins in, followed by eleven more artists, including Kreayshawn, Jason Aldean, and Bruce Springsteen. Though it may appear to be a conglomeration of random pieces, the song ends up rather catchy and well put together.

courtesy of DJ Earworm

“Fly”
DJ Earworm
Unlike most mashups, “Fly” combines a multitude of songs into one that fits together lyrically, rather than melodically. Creator DJ Earworm, or Jordan Roseman, is one of the most established mashup composers, with nearly hundreds of compilations. “Fly” is the most catchy of these, and is a great spring and summertime anthem. This track includes popular artists such as Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Jessie J, Justin Bieber, and Katy Perry.

“Bittersweet Donald”
The White Panda
The White Panda is a duo of college-aged childhood friends who share a passion for mashing songs together. Their easy, college sound is reflected in their work, featuring catchy backdrops from the nineties, and modern pop sounds. “Bittersweet Donald” combines The Verve’s 1998 hit “Bittersweet Symphony,” and Mac Miller’s “Donald Trump.” Rather than combine all elements of the songs, The White Panda simply places the lyrics of the rap over the orchestral melody. Creating the perfect combination of the up-and-coming and throwbacks make The White Panda’s mashups a hit.

“The Day the Music Died”
Mashup-Germany
Despite the broad name, Mashup-Germany is actually one person. The German native combines songs seamlessly, creating complex layers of sound that intrigue. “The Day the Music Died” is a spectrum-covering work that differs from the sounds of many typical mashups. Beginning with slower, older songs, the track effortlessly adds on modern beats to end with a mesh of thirteen artists, ranging from Mozart to Weezer to Puff Daddy. The variety does not conflict, rather the opposite; it creates a mix that will absorb your attention without the craze of dance beats.

courtesy of Jamie XX Remix

“Rolling in the Deep”
Jamie XX Remix feat. Childish Gambino
Differing from the usual mash-up formula of combining songs and beats, Jamie XX’s remix of Adele’s classic “Rolling in the Deep” revives the song stuck in everyone’s heads two years ago. Jamie XX leads the band The XX, known for their songs “Angels,” “Intro,” and “Crystalised,” and combines his band’s groovy sounds with Adele’s grammy-winning croon. Rapper Childish Gambino, the stage name of writer/actor/comedian Donald Glover, adds a unique perspective to the melody. For fans of both rap and pop, this piece simultaneously throws back to 2011 while staying fresh.

What Makes Your Heart Break
The Jane Doze
Mash-up duo The Jane Doze tackles two teen hits in their mash-up of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” and Demi Lovato’s “Give Your Heart a Break.” The tracks are seamlessly put together, with cheery beats in the background. Instead of sounding like teen superstars singing over each other, the piece takes a more get-up-and-dance feel.

“Oh No”
Girl Talk
Artist Gregg Gillis, known by the stage name Girl Talk, is one of the most recognized mash-up artists. With more than six albums released, his most recent “All Day” in 2010 featured more than 372 individual songs. “Oh No,” the first track on the disc, features 20 works; from The Ramones to Jay-z. The layering on the song is incredible, and combines songs that would seem unimaginable together. As with most of his albums, “All Day” is available for free download.

Guetta’s Calling Solveig Up
Kap Slap
With a choppy intro highlighting the tracks featured in the song, mashup artist/ DJ/college student Jared Lucas, better known by his stage name Kap Slap, begins the song with a preview of the techno-beats the song will continue with. David Guetta’s beats form the backbone of the piece, Martin Solveig’s “Hello” and Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” create the perfect blend of electronic noise with happy pop vocals. The integration of these songs is entirely unique, and they fuse well together.

courtesy of Passenger and Ed Sheeran

“No Diggity vs. Thrift Shop”
Ed Sheeran and Passenger
Known for their rasping vocals, artists Ed Sheeran and Passenger have teamed up for an unexpected mash-up. Macklemore’s hit “Thrift Shop” and Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” are integrated into each other by these singer-songwriters into a memorable tune. The blend includes an acoustic melody with their voices singing the raps of the original tunes. Though atypical, the combination works, and the vocals turn bumping beats into a pleasant composition.

Boulevard of Green E.T.s
Deejay Keoma
It’s said that opposites attract. This is certainly true in the case of Deejay Keoma’s mash-up of Green Day and Katy Perry. Perry’s “E.T.,” a pop hit, and Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” a punk anthem, combine together to create an edgy, almost haunting sound. Perry’s higher pitched vocals soar over the guitar riffs, with Billie Joe Armstrong’s backing vocals adding textured layers to the piece. Good for fans of pop, punk, or neither.

“Don’t Worry, I’m Yours”
DJ Dain
A mash-up of the ultimate feel-good songs, DJ Dain expertly melds Bobby McFerrin’s classic “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” with Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours,” all over Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Mellow, yet catchy, this mix is complex; ukuleles blend with acoustic guitar, whistling with humming. Why listen to one song to cheer you up, when you can listen to three at once?

How is this legal?
Since mash-ups combine many copyrighted works, it’s easy to question the legality of it. In fact, in 2005 a court case dedicated solely to the issue, Bridgeport v. Dimension, ruled that the unauthorised usage of a copyrighted work to be infringement. This ruling is the exception, not the rule, however, as many mash-up artists are protected under the Fair Use doctrine. This doctrine defends the use of copyrighted works in some cases, such as parodies. Mash-ups can be declared “transformative use” of these songs, under the First Amendment, making the combinations of these songs legal.