Lenlow – Go, Mercedes. “That’s it!”
Hunting mashups on YouTube and the web generally is strange iterative process – link after link lead round and round in circles through countless repetitive and not very interesting mashups – is that all there is out there? Michael Jackson, Madonna, Daft Punk, Nirvana, etc?
And then, like a hidden button revealing a sliding door onto a secret passageway, one choice of words takes you off down a Chinese whisper trail to a whole new selection of unusual (yet familiar) combinations of songs. On this occasion, it was ‘Doris Day mashup’ that was the open sesame. Nothing involving the 50’s songstress directly, but she laid the way open to new treasures.
Many mashups sound interesting, possibly gimmicky, possibly ghastly, but don’t hold the attention for too long. This one has instant appeal and long lasting quality right through to Janis Joplin’s chuckle.
I know both Joplin and Beck, of course, though I wasn’t familiar with Beck’s song from the album Guero before. It didn’t matter – it was so much in his style that it fitted like a well-tooled pair of leather loafers.
And I love the easy way the vocal duties pass from one singer to the other, like they were in the same room. How Beck’s voice is so in sync with the bass, which, with the clapping beat swings so sweetly, it’s like a musical hammock strung between two trees with dappled sunshine dabbing down between the tones of beck and Joplin. How the gently raucous guitar kicks in. How Joplin’s usually histrionic voice is tethered and soothed by the backing vocals and humming organ.
To my ears, it’s exactly what Janis Joplin needs. Her beautifully fractured and powerful voice normally sounds so frantic. Like whisky, it’s so strong, I can only take it in small doses. Given the right musical dilution, like here, it can spread out and more comfortably seep into and massage the inner folds of the ear.
And Janis is what Beck needs too. Without her, he’s a bit too matt, too bass – warm but unfocused. Her broken glass slashes surgically across the soft skin of the music he offers up.
Though I can’t say I’ll be too sorry to leave this mashup month behind, due to the time it takes to find good sounds, I must say, when a good one comes up, it’s a real pleasure to listen to.