Your mashup is mashing my brain

What the hell is a mashup? Maybe I’m hopelessly uncool and out-of-touch with those hip kids nowadays, but can someone please explain to me what is going on? I like Girl Talk, that’s cool and creative, but what is with the proliferation of “versus” mashups (those 2-songs-become-1 monstrosities)?

I share a dropbox with a bunch of my friends from high school which we use to illegally share music. I’m not a frequent contributor of new tunes — mostly because I have no idea where people find underground bands if they’re not actually involved in a scene — but my friends have been pulling together some really excellent stuff since we started over a year ago.

Recently though, I’ve been really confused about the music they’re putting in the ‘box. I opened up a folder labeled “OMG WHITE PANDA IS SOO F[***]ING GOOD. 420 soon. lax it up.” Intrigued, I grabbed the files, loaded them up on iTunes, and hit play.

The first track was called “Tipsy in the Sun” and it was by two mashup artists(?) called The White Panda, which only partially explained the name of that folder. The base track was the opening riff to Weezer’s “Island in the Sun” repeated over and over and over again. The only variation was the break down which was just a muted version of the chorus. The rest of the mix was ripped straight off of J-Kwon’s immortal 2004-released single “Tipsy,” the only changes being that the horrendous synthesizer line had been removed and the whole track was sped up a little.

Wow. Most readers may not be able to appreciate this, but the amount of actual technical work that was put into making this song was ridiculously little. I’ve done a fair amount of work in recording studios, and I can tell you that even without a mixing board and the top-of-the-line software, this project could be undertaken in no more than an hour. Very little technical prowess, and not that much creativity (find main riff, repeat; take main lyrics, speed up) went into making this song. I mean, maybe you can applaud Mr.’s Panda for realizing that tipsy would sound great on top of a chill Weezer track. But when you compare this with the incredibly laborious process that producers go through to make beats, it pales in comparison.

Just as I was sitting at my computer thinking about how lazy the members of The White Panda are (how could they possibly need 2 people to do this?), my suitemate came in and said, “Yo! I heard this before on fratmusic.com. It’s really f[***]ing good.”

“Why?” I asked.

He responded, “I mean … It’s just really sick.”

I just don’t get it. I visited that frat website, and it started playing a mashup of Ludacris’s “Move Bitch” and “My Girl” by The Temptations, which was unbelievably even less complex than the Panda thing.

Is this just evidence of the degradation of American culture? We award those “artists” who capitalize on other people’s hard-won recognition, and we think sloppy amalgams are “really f[***]ing good.”

More likely, it’s just evidence of our laziness. Why expend the energy appreciating something entirely new when you can just sit back and feel cool about exploration without actually leaving your comfort zone.

Come to think of it, that sounds pretty nice.

Everett Rosenfeld is an anti-Enlightenment thinker, and a lover of cheap puns.

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