Longtime readers will recall that every year I post MP3s of Christmas music (or you can look at this post from 2005 for background). I’ve been collecting such works since the early Eighties; I always feel like I don’t have enough, even though I have quite a bit.
I have my prejudices. I tend to prefer unusual arrangements of Christmas classics and/or original songs. Over the past 25 years or so, it seems like the practice of releasing holiday songs has become more popular, but people tend to just do cover versions of the same old songs. Sometimes, they reach to some relatively obscure song, in an attempt to be clever, but now all the obscure songs have been covered multiple times as well.
This year, I think I’m going to generally default to less well-known songs, either from artists you’re unlikely to have heard of or versions you probably haven’t heard before. I might throw in a particular favorite of mine, just as an indulgence.
I thought I would start things off this time with a pair of holiday mash-ups. As I have written before, I’ve been a fan of the form for about nine years. The popularity of mash-ups rise and fall; they fall out of favor and then a hot one sparks another run. For example, Girl Talk released his new mash-up album and about broke the Internet.
Recently, I was having a conversation on Twitter about mash-ups and someone wrote: “Only Glee fans like mashups now.”
Glee does not do mash-ups, even though they call them that on the show. What they do are medleys, combining two songs. That’s an old thing. Remember Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels did songs like “Devil With a Blue Dress On/Good Golly, Miss Molly.” Actually, a better example is when Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand sang “Get Happy” and “Happy Days Are Here Again” as a contrapuntal duet.
Anyway, in an actual mash-up, you take the vocals off one song and lay it over the instrumentals of another, hopefully creating a new effect. Like these two examples from the Swedish producer Divide & Kreate.
After all, what goes better with the Jackson 5′s rendition of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” than the Velvet Underground’s drug dealer anthem “I’m Waiting for the Man“?
And does not “Jingle Bells” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles go wonderfully with “Sweet Jane,” also from the Velvet Underground?
I think it does.
Divide & Kreate — Jingle Jane Divide & Kreate — Velvet Santa