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"Shine Brighter"
December 20, 2012 12:19 PM   Subscribe

DJ Earworm has released his annual "United State of Pop" mashup of the year's 25 most popular songs according to Billboard's charts: Shine Brighter.

Related
* Lyrics Video
* Download the MP3 on SoundCloud
* Official Site

The Videos
* Gotye and Kimbra - Somebody That I Used To Know
* Fun - Some Nights
* Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
* Maroon 5 - One More Night
* Fun. and Janelle Monáe - We Are Young
* Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa - Payphone (Explicit)
* Ellie Goulding - Lights
* Rihanna - Diamonds
* Bruno Mars - Locked Out Of Heaven
* Ke$Ha - Die Young
* Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)
* Flo Rida - Good Feeling
* Nicki Minaj - Starships (Explicit)
* The Wanted - Glad You Came
* Adele - Set Fire To The Rain
* Lumineers - Ho Hey
* One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful
* Flo Rida and Sia - Wild Ones
* Phillip Phillips - Home
* Bruno Mars - It Will Rain
* Katy Perry - Wide Awake
* Alex Clare - Too Close
* PSY - Gangnam Style
* Taylor Swift - We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
* Flo Rida - Whistle

Past Remixes
2007: United State of Pop Previously
2008: Viva La Pop Previously
2009: Blame it on the Pop Previously
2010: Don't Stop the Pop Previously
2011: World Go Boom Previously

Previously and Previouslier
* Like, OMG Baby
* Party on the Floor
* Fly

Bonus
Rewind YouTube Style 2012. The site invited some of their members to star in an end-of-year mash-up. Included here solely for a moment of awesome: at 1:48 Felicia Day parodies "Call Me Maybe"
posted by zarq (39 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
When I saw Nicki Minaj halfway through I was instantly distracted by my usual line of thought that she is, in fact, an alien, and "Starships" is about her desire to go home to whatever strange planet she came from.
posted by spitefulcrow at 12:27 PM on December 20, 2012


Nooooo, I forgot my headphones today and I have two hours left.
posted by gracedissolved at 12:28 PM on December 20, 2012


I find the way these blend together entertaining, but mashups make me feel old. The other night I was hanging out with a friend who's five or six years younger than I am, and she said she basically only listens to mashups. Then she played a few, and I was drunk enough to pretend like I was enjoying them, but in my head I spent the whole time thinking "I like this song and I like the other song, why can't we just listen to them consecutively?"
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:35 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well we all shine on.
posted by inturnaround at 12:40 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, these always make me hopelessly nostalgic for the past year of pop music I never listened to and didn't really like much when I did hear them. Always an excellent job.
posted by yellowbinder at 12:42 PM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have much love for DJ Earworm, but this year the Pop Danthology just really blew me away.

The addition of song titles on the lower left (MTV-style) which tell you which lyrics and music he's mashing up really are great, and the songs flow together while still maintaining a little more originality than in the Earworm mix.
posted by librarylis at 12:43 PM on December 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


That Rewind YouTube Style video was surprisingly fun. For some reason, a zebra doing the running man with both sets of legs is pretty hilarious to me.
posted by vytae at 12:49 PM on December 20, 2012


Can someone explain to me how stuff like this is even possible? I mean, he's just working from the released studio tracks, right? How does he pull out the vocal track, instruments, etc., from that? (I don't really know how audio editing works, so maybe it is easier than I think.)
posted by jcreigh at 12:50 PM on December 20, 2012


When I saw Nicki Minaj halfway through I was instantly distracted by my usual line of thought that she is, in fact, an alien, and "Starships" is about her desire to go home to whatever strange planet she came from.

You know it's Christmas, right? To get our hopes up like that is downright mean.
posted by Talez at 12:50 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I like this song and I like the other song, why can't we just listen to them consecutively?"

*nod*

Part of the problem is that (especially when they're done poorly,) mashups become noisy, rather than lyrical. I know mashup artist "Girl Talk" is a Mefi-favorite, but I don't like a lot of his stuff because of it. But no matter who the artist is, dissonance can be a real problem when large numbers of songs are being combined.

Earworm has a song that I particularly like, which combines Tom Petty's Free Fallin' with Beyonce's "If I Were A Boy." If more mashups sounded like it, I'd probably listen to 'em more often.
posted by zarq at 12:50 PM on December 20, 2012


I thoroughly enjoyed both this and Pop Danthology. Great work by both DJ's.
posted by deezil at 12:59 PM on December 20, 2012


That Rewind YouTube Style video was surprisingly fun

I just noticed that the video itself has easter eggs! If you mouse over the video window, you'll see transparent black frames show up on each new clip. Some are harder to find than others. Click on one, and they'll bring up a behind the scenes video. Here's the first 7. I'll find and post the rest soon.

1: PSY Smashes WOTE's Guitar
2: AlphaCat as Barack Obama Poppin' n Lockin'
3: KassemG as Ryan Lochte + DailyGrace as Katniss - Elevator Magic
4: KassemG as Ryan Lochte - American Grill
5: MysteryGuitarMan, DeStorm, DaveDays, Peter Chao - OKGO Dance Battle
6: Annoying Orange as Felix Baumgartner Mouth Dancing
7: FreddieW as Halo Master Chief + Corridor Digital as Minecraft - Dance Party
posted by zarq at 1:06 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


8: Smosh as NASA Curiosity Rover Controllers - Epic Fistpumping
9: FreddieW as Halo Master Chief - Funky Shimmy
10: Corridor Digital do the Minecraft Robo-Boogie
11: FreddieW as Halo Master Chief - Fun with Explosions
12: Felicia Day as Carly Rae Jepsen - Carwash Reheasal
13: ChesterSee as Justin Bieber wants to be your Boyfriend
14: iJustine as Lindsey Stirling Violin Fantasy
posted by zarq at 1:15 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


15: Epic Meal Time + My Drunk Kitchen = Raw Bacon Rager
16: The Many Faces of GloZell
17: Jenna Marbles as Harvard Baseball Captain - Drama with Shit Girls Say
18: Shit Girls Say is on an Emotional Rollercoaster
19: Rhett and Link's Dope Zebra on the Loose
20: Epic Meal Time + My Drunk Kitchen = Sausage Fest Weiner Party
21: Ryan Higa as Felix Baumgartner - Epic Slow-Mo Screams
posted by zarq at 1:20 PM on December 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can someone explain to me how stuff like this is even possible? I mean, he's just working from the released studio tracks, right? How does he pull out the vocal track, instruments, etc., from that? (I don't really know how audio editing works, so maybe it is easier than I think.)

There are a few different methods. Modern tracks may be released as "stems," or portions of the song, broken down into individual instruments or grouping beats, effects, and vocals. Otherwise, you can filter a studio track based on a variety of different criteria. When you have multi-channel audio, vocals are typically centered, whereas the instrumentals may be single channel or multi-channel. Otherwise you can filter out highs or lows with some precision. At least, this is how I've come to understand various methods of getting individual parts from studio tracks. If you want to muck around with this yourself, here's an Audacity forum discussion with more information.

Otherwise, you can try to re-create the track yourself, which seems to be the case for some "instrumental" versions of tracks that are released by 3rd party producers or labels.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:23 PM on December 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


For me (and I know this is my old-and-lame-ness showing through) the Pop Danthology was too close to being in a room where two teenagers are both hitting next on their iPods as fast as they can. I recognize that an amazing amount of effort went into insuring all the pairings actually worked together, and an amazing amount of skill went into making all the transitions smooth, but I still couldn't get past the fact that it was like I was just hitting Scan on my car radio too fast.

The Earworm mix, on the other hand, blew me away. I am in complete awe at how he constructed a new song out of all those different songs.

I guess for me, the difference is whether you could read the lyrics to both and feel like they were both songs. I think one is, I think the other is a "best of" compilation.
posted by jermsplan at 1:51 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yup, this rocks, as always. It was actually 2009 release that made me finally understand pop music. I always thought it was vapid, which it is, but good pop songs can just be so damned happy.
posted by Buckt at 2:14 PM on December 20, 2012


At first I was like, wow someone managed to salvage something decent from the wreckage that was pop music in 2012, but then I was like, oh snap all the good songs were technically released in 2011 or earlier and only CHARTED in 2012.

Still a deeply dark, sad year for pop. 2011 was so, like, epic and stuff.

Vocal fry.
posted by Yowser at 2:28 PM on December 20, 2012


Everything sounds better when it sounds like Till The World Ends.
posted by Yowser at 2:30 PM on December 20, 2012


Yowser: "At first I was like, wow someone managed to salvage something decent from the wreckage that was pop music in 2012, but then I was like, oh snap all the good songs were technically released in 2011 or earlier and only CHARTED in 2012."

To be fair, most of Earworm's 2011 mix was released in 2010.
posted by schmod at 2:46 PM on December 20, 2012


vytae: "That Rewind YouTube Style video was surprisingly fun. "

So, apparently I wasted less time on YouTube this year than I thought, because I didn't get most of the references.

When the guy picked up the red telephone and the music faded away, my mind automatically filled in this next bit:

"It's for you"

[Hands phone to other NASA guy]

"Hello?"

"MAHNA MAHNA"
posted by schmod at 2:49 PM on December 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


After thoroughly enjoying the sophomoric delights of the "Butts" thread below, I read this post as "United State of Poop".
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:14 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Heh. Does that count as threadshitting? :D :D
posted by zarq at 3:58 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Adele and Bruno Mars are the only act on that entire list that I would pay for to listen to again.

And I'll fight you.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:13 PM on December 20, 2012


Gonna have to try it even though I'm old and know almost none of the artists on this list and even fewer of the songs. Mashups are my intro to top 40 songs these days.
posted by immlass at 4:18 PM on December 20, 2012


The other night I was hanging out with a friend who's five or six years younger than I am, and she said she basically only listens to mashups.

OH GOD YES. I, a not-totally-out-of-it thirtysomething, have a twentysomething friend who claims he only listens to remixes. Which to me is like, "Hey, why would I EVER care about the actual craft of a good song when I can blend it into the same ol' nts nts nts every other crappy dance 'artist' employs?"

We did meet at a Scissor Sisters show, so.
posted by psoas at 4:25 PM on December 20, 2012


2012 will be defined by
Call Me Maybe and Gangnam Style.

Interesting that Ke$Ha's Die Young is there. I read an article yesterday that seemed to suggest she doesn't like it at all and was forced to sing it (which, who knows?) and it wasn't doing *that* well in the charts, and that it bombed out pretty damn quickly after Sandy Hook.
posted by Mezentian at 5:07 PM on December 20, 2012


It's not a party until Dan Deacon mashes up Grimes and Beach House with "Gangnam Style."
posted by Mothlight at 5:40 PM on December 20, 2012


After hearing the pop mashup Pop Culture by Madeon, nothing has wowed me since. I was really looking forward to this United State of Pop 2012, but I feel letdown :(
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 5:42 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I like this song and I like the other song, why can't we just listen to them consecutively?"

Right. Mashups are clever, but I think that's about all they'll ever be.

Sampling is one thing. Using other tracks as essentially musical instruments and building a new song around the reference is interesting in and of itself. There's some technique involved, to be sure, but it's far more about interacting with existing texts to create a new text. So when Eminem sampled Aerosmith in "Sing for the Moment" or Dido in "Stan," the samples weren't just interesting audio gimmicks, but contributed to the meaning of the song. Intertextuality and shit.

But mashups are basically pure technique. Yes, we can be impressed by the skill of putting the track together, but there doesn't seem to be an attempt to say anything about anything, even using other people's words to do it. I mean, bloody hell, just look at the damn lyrics. Incomprehensible babbling.* So mashups are just "Hey, look at this cool thing." Cool thing is cool and all, but it's only good for about ten minutes. There's no interpretive work going on here, nothing to have a conversation about beyond the finer aspects of audio engineering.

*To be sure, some of the lyrics being quoted don't make a damn lick of sense in their own right, but that's just bad poetry. This could well be the result of a Markov chain generator.
posted by valkyryn at 6:30 PM on December 20, 2012


Previous editions of the United State of Pop have had more coherent lyrics, and in fact DJ Earworm's modus operandi of actually trying to create a coherent lyric set out of the sampled songs in the first place is pretty unusual amongst mashup artists as far as I'm aware, who are usually just trying to make something that sounds good and is fun to dance to if you play it in a club. (And that's the perfect situation for them, because of that thing where you're drunk and you're like "I RECOGNIZE THIS SONG, HELL YEAH, THIS IS MY FAVOURITE" in response to every single song you recognize - "OH HELL YEAH I RECOGNIZE LIKE ALL FOUR OF THESE SONGS, THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER!")

Sometimes there's an element of music criticism in a mashup, or at least in its song choice, whether it's a sort of "I thought these sounded the same, so why not stick them together" implicit or explicit accusation of unoriginality on the part of the original performer, or an attempt to express something via the juxtaposition of songs with different sources or themes or meanings. But it's usually not at all about making a New Thing, it's about making a New Way To Listen To An Existing Thing.

Which isn't to say that you have to like it, or think it's a meaningful or worthwhile thing to do or to listen to, or that your criticism is ill-founded or anything like that. I just found it kind of amusing that the position that "mashups are basically pure technique, I mean, look, these lyrics don't even make sense" was being taken regarding one of the only mashup artists I'm aware of who even bothers to TRY building new lyrics. It's usually not the point.
posted by titus n. owl at 8:50 PM on December 20, 2012


Gangnam Style is going to end up being one of those wedding disco staples, like Come On Eileen and the Macarena. Somehow, it's a lot more charming when you see people's dads dancing to it.
posted by mippy at 1:47 AM on December 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yeah, one of the things I like about the yearly DJ Earworm mixes is that there's a real attempt there to make the year cohesive somehow... and that no matter how much rotten there is out there in the world, somehow what he gets out of it is so upbeat and hopeful. It's a good note to end the year on.

2009 is still my favorite, though.
posted by gracedissolved at 6:13 AM on December 21, 2012


2012 will be defined by
Call Me Maybe and Gangnam Style.


Pretty clearly, yeah, which made for a weird aspect of this mix. It was crazy well-done, to be sure, but sticking to his rules of using all 25 chart-toppers, he ended up throwing bare, miniscule bomnes to the two towering giants of the pop world this year in a really perfunctory manner. Which was odd.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:50 AM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


So this was already basically all just the same song sung by different people wasn't it? There are only so many ways to musically express this sort of jaw-clenching pseudo-happiness.
posted by mike_bling at 11:14 AM on December 21, 2012


I love how Psy shows up like a clown pop terrorist in among all these acts that look like they're taking themselves a little too seriously.
posted by mariokrat at 12:17 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can someone explain to me how stuff like this is even possible? I mean, he's just working from the released studio tracks, right? How does he pull out the vocal track, instruments, etc., from that? (I don't really know how audio editing works, so maybe it is easier than I think.)

Also worth noting that Earworm speeds up, slows down or changes the pitch and key of most of the audio tracks in these mashups to make a more coherent-sounding whole. I noted this last year in the "World Goes Boom" thread:
One odd note... I found the change in pitch and speed he gave to Britney Spears 'Till the World Ends track a bit jarring. Here's a link to the Spears' track on the Earworm video, and the same clip from the original Spears video. Pretty dramatic difference there.
In the "Shine Brighter" video, he has very obviously sped up and changed the tone on the clips used from Fun and Adele, among others. The faster speed change on Nicki Minaj's Starships is quite apparent, too. It's like he's jumped to 45rpm from 33 and a third.
posted by zarq at 12:59 PM on December 21, 2012


I have much love for DJ Earworm, but this year the Pop Danthology just really blew me away.

I hadn't seen it, and am really enjoying it. Thanks for linking!
posted by zarq at 1:00 PM on December 21, 2012


The guy who produced the Lumineers track is a friend of mine. I feel happy whenever it comes up on the radio and I am delighted to see it on this list, 'cuz the man works hard and it is great to see him succeeding. Also, it's a good song.
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:38 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


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