Listen and download:
Deeply enchanted mashup album.
- Party’s On: Hello to you too!
Having made 2 mashup albums already, both of which had really dense, frenetic intros, I wanted to do something different for the third. I liked the way that the Cabaret theme (from the movie) and the Elmo rap fit together (both have a distinctly lo-fi sound), and from there I got the idea to bookend the album with Cabaret (since I always thought the ending of the movie/play was really impactful).
Cabaret has a lot of thematic baggage to it. It’s essentially a story about queer and marginalized people living in Germany during the rise of Nazism. The titular cabaret is a bastion of the risqué and spitting in the face of everything the Nazis stand for, but eventually it all falls apart. So I started getting ideas that maybe the album would be about queerness and fascism in the modern day. I thought about this in a pretty abstract and detached way… at least until I realized I was a woman.
This happened partway through production of the album, and led to some recontextualization. I didn’t find the “Hello, Allison” sample from Jet Set Radio by myself; it was sent to me by a friend after I told him my new name. It’s fitting that this is followed by the extensive, protracted greeting of the Cabaret sample. “Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome!” It’s like I’m throwing a party for myself. (Almost like that’s the name of the song…)
The second half of the track isn’t as interested in these themes, but I had a lot of fun with it musically. The Bjork sample makes everything sound really heavy, and I think I was able to make something exciting without just retracing my steps from previous albums.
- Wonderwall but it keeps getting faster: Party’s On is about a lot of different things, but after that we pull back and just mess around a little. Every musician has to do Wonderwall eventually. I think the way the Space Jam sample is pitched down makes it sound somewhat weak, but I like the way the melodies interact a lot. Originally this track had a second half with more stuff, but it was cut for sounding terrible and overstuffed; the same is true of tracks 1 and 3.
- Never Got Back: This is a pretty standard (and short) mashup, and is mostly notable for the choice of samples being really… special. The most interesting thing here, though, is the last third where two rap samples get layered over each other at different positions. This sounds really chaotic without actually having many samples.
- A Thousand Ponies: This track is more rhythmically focused, as opposed to the harmonically focused mashups I usually make. In fact, I end the song just before Ponyboy introduces more tonal elements. The interaction between 16th-note staccato strings and 16th-note metallic percussion is what really makes the track work, I think.
- Very Normal Human Culture: A spoken word interlude. The first leg of the album is ending, so we start to bring in more counterculture-y stuff (similar to Care’s structure). Aaron Sorkin is a hack and this clip was going around during album production, so I thought it’d be a fun thing to lampoon. Unlike the similar track from Care, there’s not one but two samples here. One lasts a minute and 42 seconds while the other lasts 4 seconds, but somehow they feel equally important.
- David Koch: Sometimes you watch a silly obscure short YouTube video and decide you just need to sample it. This begins the more hip-hop focused section of the album. The Dog-Faced Hermans riff fits here perfectly, which is funny to me because my dad used to listen to that shit constantly.
- Scum Fuck Superman: Finally, a longer track! These get more common as the album progresses and solidifies as it goes. Billie Eilish is fun to sample, since her music is very impactful yet has relatively few elements to worry about clashing (as long as you mind the bass). It adds a sense of intensity to Tyler’s track, which on its own is a pretty depressing song.
The second half of the track leans more into the lethargic feel of the original sample (we can feel the album slowly start to get heavier), but there’s still many layers of memes to be found.
- Battle Thot: Reading the comments on the music video for JPEGMAFIA’s “Jesus Forgive Me, I am a Thot”, I came across someone comparing the instrumental to the Fortnite lobby music. Whoever said that is responsible for this blight on humanity.
Also I have a hunch that Tunak Tunak Tun is gonna get a meme revival soon, so I’m getting in on the ground floor.
- Dream Dream Dream Dream Dream Dream: To 9-year-old me, Sharkboy’s dream song was basically the coolest thing in the universe. there’s dARKNESS IN THE AIR
Combining it with the gorgeous loop from Earl Sweatshirt’s “Shattered Dreams” feels like a crime against art, but that’s never stopped me before. Hearing the “imprecise words” clip as an Epic Pre-Drop Sample is very surreal.
- Light 6: This is where the album gets good; sometimes I feel like the whole thing is just to contextualize this and the track after it. There’s so much going on here, all in service of creating a dense and percussive feel, but I have to specifically highlight the percussive loop I stitched together from Anthony Fantano making noises during his The Big Day review. Also am I the only one who remembers that Air Heads Bites commercial coming on YouTube way too often a few years ago?
The second half is grounded more by the MBDTF sample, and then hits you with everything at once. Despite all this complexity, my favorite part is still the Chance the Rapper spoof near the end. I had to listen to this many times as I worked on the album, but somehow that never stopped being funny to me. The very end is an explicit verbal setup for the next track that feels like a natural extension of this one, which is a pretty cool trick.
In conclusion, I will use Ben Shapiro’s body like a fleshlight.
- HORSE!!!: Normally after a dense track like Light 6, I’d put a quieter track so people can decompress and the next intense track’ll have more of an impact. But just this once, I decided to zag on ‘em by instead ratcheting up the intensity even more. This track starts off really in-your-face, and just keeps on heating up until it finally explodes into an absolutely demented drop made by layering 3 ridiculous drops at once.
“Stupid Horse” is the obvious focus and namesake of the track, but I think the “Homeward Demon” sample’s wild synths are crucial to the sense of overwhelming intensity that was needed to make this track work. If I’m going to make nightcore, I’m going all in.
The “Groove is in the Heart” sample at the end was put in because it’s an in-joke in my friend group. I don’t really know how popular it is to most people, but Deee-Lite is a fairly notable artist sooo sure.
- ~slow car~: This track is created specifically to be a low-key interlude to space out the intense bits more. I’ve done this in mashups before, but I think this is the most successful I’ve been at making this type of track. The trick is to find something to make the track interesting even though it’s deliberately low-key; in this case it’s leaning way into the kinda cheesy vaporwave affectation.
- Gun 3: If the mashup album trilogy concludes, so too must the Gun trilogy. This is the sort of track that I previously ended these albums on; a long, slow build of loops that harmonize really well. The middle section is more elaborate than in previous finale tracks though, which helps keep things interesting.
The way the Caller 10 sample loops creates the nonsense phrase “she rign by the deli”. This doesn’t mean anything, I just thought it was neat.
- I Love Myself: This track is the climax, but in terms of sample layers it’s actually pretty barebones. Mostly it’s carried by the fact that “i” by Kendrick Lamar is a really really good song (at least the album version is). Recontextualized, I can’t help but think of the lyrics being about Trans Stuff. It’s a self-acceptance anthem! I mean it’s a self-acceptance anthem that samples Despacito but it’s still a self-acceptance anthem
- Party’s Off: Simple, conceptually-oriented outro. We bookend the Cabaret thing and finally end with a Sopranos reference. I’m fatigued from making so many mashups, so actually let’s stop.