Brainstorm: Mashing Up Nostalgia with ‘Mouth Moods’

The art of the mashup – taking two or more songs and combining them into one – is a deceptively difficult one to pull off. It is not a simple case of putting two songs together in an unholy matrimony and calling it a day – to make it into a coherent piece of music takes a lot of work and time that could be spent on making original music instead. To then make it funny adds a whole other level.

That is the key behind Neil Cicierega’s third mash-up album Mouth Moods – released for free on his website. The album clocks in at almost an hour and is chock full of recognisable samples re-imagined to bring new life into old songs.

The opening track ‘The Startling Line’ is full to the brim with 16 different songs being represented – from Smashing Pumpkins to C+C Music Factory via Foo Fighters yet it manages to steer clear of being a mess. That is the key to why the album works, it is both comedic and impressive on a technical level.

A lot of the tracks prey on 90s/early 00s nostalgia – Smash Mouth’s ‘All Star’, Barenaked Ladies’ ‘One Week’ and Third Eye Blind’s ‘Semi-Charmed Life’ are regular features on these albums and their inclusion may bring back memories of a time when Nu Metal ruled the music scene. Horrifying, I know, but even Nu Metal gets the mashup treatment – mixing Drowning Pool’s ‘Bodies’ with ‘Popcorn’ is a combination no one ever knew they needed.

‘Annoyed Grunt’ is a song that is built around the sample of the Home Improvement theme song as well as Tim Allen’s signature grunt, ‘T.I.M.E.’ makes the ‘Y.M.C.A.’ a bit more haunting via the Inception soundtrack, while ‘Tiger’ turns ‘Eye of the Tiger’ into a song literally about a tiger.

One of the highlights of the album is barely even a mashup. ‘Bustin’’ takes the Ghostbusters theme and turns it into a song about how “Bustin makes me feel good”. It is simple, it is genius and it is genuinely fun to listen to.

Too many comedy albums fail because the artist focuses too much on being funny or don’t know when to end the joke. While it does have some low points – the mashup between ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and ‘No Scrubs’ is fairly forgettable and two songs in a row revolved around ‘One Week’ which was too much Barenaked Ladies (first time I’ve ever used that sentence) – Mouth Moods succeeds as both a comedy album and a genuinely good mashup album.

8/10

The album can be found here

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