Chip Punks
November 2, 2015 5:18 PM   Subscribe


 
If I made you feel second best for leaving out Always On My Mind, sorry about that.
posted by GuyZero at 5:21 PM on November 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


So the original, non-scrambled Chipmunks songs are basically a 1980s Goth cover band. If the suits had thought about it, they could have made a secondary profit with this....maybe some cute cartoon goth band called 'the Plague Voles' or something.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 5:24 PM on November 2, 2015 [25 favorites]


Forget the fact that the slowed-down version of "Call Me" is amazeballs... The Chipmunks covered "Call Me"?!?!
posted by asterix at 5:31 PM on November 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


I listened to this on a whim and I love it so incredibly much. Like more than most of the actual new music I've heard so far in 2015. And there's an entire album's worth? Including My Sharona and Walk Like An Egyptian? Holy shit, everyone I know needs to hear this immediately.

I AM OBSESSED. Thanks for the post, GuyZero!
posted by divined by radio at 5:39 PM on November 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


They do a mean "Anarchy in the UK," even though Alvin really can't play Bass Guitar.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:43 PM on November 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I had not heard all the tracks when I made the post, because I mean, the headline says it all, but the cover of Always On My Mind is actually amazing. It is indeed independently awesome.
posted by GuyZero at 5:43 PM on November 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't know what to say except that this is awesome.
posted by teponaztli at 5:46 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


If the suits had thought about it, they could have made a secondary profit with this....maybe some cute cartoon goth band called 'the Plague Voles' or something.

They still could. Judging by the reactions so far, and I also think the slow versions are pretty awesome, they could release these as a real album and make some money.
posted by Sangermaine at 5:50 PM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


That dangerous combination of Brilliant and Militant. These rodents must be stopped.
posted by boo_radley at 5:52 PM on November 2, 2015


Oh, so that's where Daughn Gibson got his sound.
posted by anarch at 5:54 PM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Somehow the Call Me cover gets even better around 3:10.
posted by malphigian at 5:56 PM on November 2, 2015


TURN DOWN THE VOLUME before playing the slowed down version!! Otherwise you're going to get blasted!

Good Grief!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:56 PM on November 2, 2015




From Wikipedia:
In 1994, comedy punk band The Radioactive Chicken Heads recorded a cover of Suicidal Tendencies‍ '​ "Institutionalized" in the style of Alvin and the Chipmunks specifically due to lead singer Carrot Topp's dissatisfaction with the song choices on Chipmunk Punk.
While I was just saying, "You know what this album needs...?"
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:57 PM on November 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


I totally owned Chipmunk Punk, back in the day.
posted by not that girl at 5:57 PM on November 2, 2015


Chipmunk Punk. Why did this get made?
posted by dilaudid at 6:04 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay the slowed down cover of "Always On My Mind" is fucking incredible. Everything else is great too, but I just want to get into an editing room and make "Always On My Mind" the score to every eighties teen movie ever made now.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:06 PM on November 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


The slowed down Call Me is destroying me.
posted by nom de poop at 6:07 PM on November 2, 2015 [6 favorites]




Beautifully brutal. The "Call Me" riff sounds like a lumbering demon coming to rip your limbs off.
posted by Muncle at 6:07 PM on November 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Damn, it's The Doors...
posted by jim in austin at 6:08 PM on November 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Alvin in the speed-corrected Walk Like an Egyptian sounds like Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs.
posted by zippy at 6:13 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is just the Danzig version.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:16 PM on November 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


All the links have been broken for about ten years now, but the original Chipmunks Christmas Song is also pretty damn great slowed back down to regular speed. (memail me, I will send you the file)
posted by yhbc at 6:19 PM on November 2, 2015


AAAAAAAAALLLLLVVIIIINNNNNN
posted by modernserf at 6:25 PM on November 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


The cover of Always on My Mind is a cover of the Pet Shop Boys cover of Elvis.
posted by carter at 6:28 PM on November 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is awesome.
posted by Justinian at 6:29 PM on November 2, 2015


I dunno, the singing sounds a little pitchy to me. Shoulda used auto tune.

The guitar stuff is way metal though.
posted by musofire at 6:31 PM on November 2, 2015


I feel like I'm listening to the soundtrack to a hideous 80s-themed ritual murder and I LOVE IT
posted by prize bull octorok at 6:32 PM on November 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Also, Heaven is a Place on Earth sounds remarkably like Washed Out.
posted by modernserf at 6:32 PM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Venus apparently recorded in their Steve Miller Band phase.
posted by nom de poop at 6:50 PM on November 2, 2015


Jolene, the Dolly Parton version slowed down, sounds very similar to the White Stripes version
posted by bobdow at 6:57 PM on November 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, as far as I can tell Washed Out's sound is based on slowed-down samples.
posted by STFUDonnie at 6:59 PM on November 2, 2015


Jesus Christ, that "Institutionalized" cover is the kind of thing they break prisoners in CIA black sites with.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:02 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Type O Alvin.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:04 PM on November 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Thanks, this is awesome! Ms. LastObelus & I are both cackling with glee.
posted by lastobelus at 7:04 PM on November 2, 2015


Keep Me Hanging On is unexpectedly classic-80's synth with soul and sludge. It's Sympathy for the Devil meets Laibach and something completely so alien alien…actual relevance? Amazing. This is the best music I have heard in maybe a decade. Maybe more. So much heart. I now feel like there's hope for grown-ups too. It's freeing.
posted by Mike Mongo at 7:15 PM on November 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also, Katniss slowed down is Will Ferrell.
posted by xedrik at 7:26 PM on November 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Holy shit this is amazing. The guitars on Call Me reside somewhere between Mark Sandman's bass on early Morphine records and the Orange amped sludge of Thorr's Hammer. Combine that with the Quaaludy vocals and this is some serious stoner shit.
posted by Existential Dread at 7:31 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


The slowed-down Always On My Minds is startlingly poignant. The Chipmunks version would be hellaciously vile, tho
posted by Existential Dread at 7:37 PM on November 2, 2015


From "Jukebox Dave's" amazon review of Chipmunk Punk, a little explanation of how this all happened:
THE CHIPMUNKS-CHIPMUNK PUNK: ROSS BAGDASARIAN's cute cut-ups have been around in one form or another for decades, but in 1980 they were a nearly forgotten entity best remembered for their novelty hit THE CHIPMUNK SONG (CHRISTMAS, DON'T BE LATE) and a short-lived sixties cartoon series. Released as a lark by BAGSDASARIAN's son, CHIPMUNK PUNK updated the boys for a hipper generation; the crude cover art depicting them in an alley decked out in skinny ties and safety pins is priceless.
posted by edheil at 7:37 PM on November 2, 2015


Holy shit, the intro to My Sharona is fucking Godflesh.
posted by Existential Dread at 7:46 PM on November 2, 2015


jim in austin: "Damn, it's The Doors..."

Space Coyote: "This is just the Danzig version."

You're all wrong; it's obviously Joy Division.
posted by capricorn at 7:57 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


There was a slowed down Alvin exerpt that showed up online many years ago that sounded EXACTLY like Jello Biafra.
posted by davebush at 7:58 PM on November 2, 2015


AAAAAAAAALLLLLVVIIIINNNNNN

This is what we will hear as Great Cthulhu rises from R'lyeh.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:07 PM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Walk Like An Egyptian sounds so ominous. I'm loving it.
posted by A dead Quaker at 8:13 PM on November 2, 2015


If you play the mp3 file backwards you can distinctly hear in the chorus.... "...alvin is dead ..."
posted by AGameOfMoans at 8:14 PM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Walk Like An Egyptian sounds so ominous.

OMG, that bell - it's the theme from Top Gun!
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 8:26 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's an instant in "Always On My Mind," right at the end of the bridge, I think, that sounds like the distinctive bits of Siouxsie's "Peek-a-Boo."
posted by Navelgazer at 8:30 PM on November 2, 2015


I still want a hula hoop.
posted by Daily Alice at 8:31 PM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is the logical conclusion of vaporwave right here. Shut it down, it's over.
posted by emptythought at 8:48 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I need to go to the basement, crank this up on headphones, and play Doom until four in the morning.
posted by Banknote of the year at 8:59 PM on November 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


I had Chipmunk Punk on 8-track because my bass player picked it up from a thrift store for trips out to our rehearsal space in my Buick Skylark.

At some point it "fell out" the window as we were driving down I-5.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 9:28 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: Lead singer Carrot Topp's dissatisfaction with the song choices on Chipmunk Punk
posted by schmod at 9:47 PM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is great but at this tempo I find the individual songs over-long. Versions that dropped a verse here and there would work better.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:01 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now I want to hear a sped-up version of the Swans doing "The Chipmunk Song"
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:15 PM on November 2, 2015


The cover of Venus has now officially edged out the NIN cover of Physical as my inner gothish teenager's #1 Stripper Song of Choice. Moving Rammstein's cover of Stripped into third. Sorry AC/DC, Night Prowler no longer has a spot on the podium.

And Diamond Dolls, which was my favorite track from the movie and not a cover AFAIK, is doubly awesome at half the speed! Wow, I watched a lot of bad movies.
posted by monopas at 12:01 AM on November 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Now let's speed up some Leonard Cohen.
posted by longbaugh at 12:21 AM on November 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yes, this is amazing. Nothing I've listened to so far is as good as the cover of "Call Me", though. Portions of several tracks really do just beg to be used in a soundtrack. And the rights would be cheap and it would inevitably generate internet buzz. Anyone working on an edgy television show, take note.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:35 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mike Mongo: “Keep Me Hanging On is unexpectedly classic-80's synth with soul and sludge.”
Yeah, I got a lot of DX7 feels when I listened to that one.

Because the half-speed playback vocals sounded so natural, I wondered if they actually sang the parts slow so they would be in the right tempo when sped up, and lo and behold that's more-or-less what they did.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:00 AM on November 3, 2015


Does anyone have the skills to chipmunk these tracks?
And maybe then re-slow them for proper heavy dirges...
posted by fizban at 1:24 AM on November 3, 2015


Whoo, this sounds like a new opening melody for the combined Outlander and Sherlock shows. Dark. Misty. Mysterious.


(All this reminds me of my old Uher Report tape recorder that has three speed settings, and of the trick I played on my cousin's budgie, a shrieky little thing.
I recorded a few of the bird's shrieks, stepped them down, learned to sing the resulting alto-melisma properly, recorded myself doing so on slow, stepped that recording up again--and played it back to the unsuspecting self-absorbed bird.

The budgie went absolutely bonkers, climbing, fluttering, yelling at me (freely translated): "there's another bird there, with a nasty accent, but definitely a bird...find the bird find the bird!" Ah the fun you have at sixteen.)
posted by Namlit at 2:09 AM on November 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've made a vaguely interesting discovery:

This sounds significantly better out of laptop speakers than it does out of anything else. Played it on the hifi, etc. Nah, laptop speakers. It's sort of like how some mono records(especially 45s) sound best out of one of those suitcase school phonographs.

It's genuinely fucking haunting blasting out of laptop speakers completely cranked, echoing through my entire apartment.
posted by emptythought at 3:00 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is deeply unsettling. It has to be really hard to sing that slowly, too, which I suppose is why the vocals are so pitchy. And also because you're recording a Chipmunks record and nobody wants to do a second take.

Also shit, Always On My Mind is great. Cut the intro by two thirds and I'd listen to it, gladly.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:50 AM on November 3, 2015


The Always on my Mind works with Absolutely's Wedding Video.
posted by scruss at 5:41 AM on November 3, 2015


It has to be really hard to sing that slowly, too, which I suppose is why the vocals are so pitchy.

I think it's also why "Institutionalized" sounds so clipped and over-en nun ci ate ted."
posted by Navelgazer at 7:48 AM on November 3, 2015


I'm gonna call it right now: we're going to hear this version of "Always On My Mind" in movies or television in the next 6 months, probably in one of the prestige grimdark series.

It's like what you'd get if the dude from Smashmouth could actually sing.
posted by scrump at 8:10 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now I find myself downloading Chipmunks' songs off youtube, and playing them back at half speed (with "mplayer -speed .5") to see if any of them are as amazing as "Call Me".
posted by fings at 8:42 AM on November 3, 2015


People tell me Heaven Is A Place On Earth is sacrilegious, and now it can finally sound the part.
posted by ckape at 11:42 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is the best thing.
posted by biscotti at 1:22 PM on November 3, 2015


Holy crap. "Walk Like An Egyptian" is the spookiest thing I've heard in years. Perfect music for a dreary Seattle day.

Gets me dancing, too. Very slowly and gracefully. And obscenely.
posted by egypturnash at 3:41 PM on November 3, 2015


This is deeply unsettling. It has to be really hard to sing that slowly, too, which I suppose is why the vocals are so pitchy.

I super wonder now. I actually want to watch a video of the original process, and i can't find a good one. I know they recorded the vocals in music in separate takes... but what was the prompt for the vocals? Did they sing at normal speed then slow THAT down to get the timing, then sing the slow version and speed it up?
posted by emptythought at 4:31 PM on November 3, 2015


emptythought: "Did they sing at normal speed then slow THAT down to get the timing, then sing the slow version and speed it up?"

My assumption would be that they would play the original records back at slow speeds, listen to them a few times to get a feeling, and then for the recording, play them back slowed down in headphones and sing along into a microphone.
posted by Bugbread at 5:35 PM on November 3, 2015


Can we get the original recordings paulstretched? Or these paulstretched?
posted by Going To Maine at 8:20 PM on November 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Really great! Does anyone know where/how to download these tracks?
posted by Buckt at 10:17 AM on November 5, 2015


So, I don't know if I completely understand this. Are we listening to the live recorded speed and then production speeds them up to be 'Chipmunked'? If so, who are these real singers? They actually have some decent voices and the arrangements must have been fun to work out to make them work at the sped up version.
posted by like_neon at 9:40 AM on November 12, 2015


like_neon: "Are we listening to the live recorded speed and then production speeds them up to be 'Chipmunked'?"

Yes. Wikipedia's got a succinct overview. Since this was from the 1980s, I suspect the singers were studio musicians.
posted by Bugbread at 3:16 PM on November 12, 2015


Okay, wait, I misinterpreted your question to be about how the original Chipmunks songs were recorded, not about what this slowed down version is. So here's an overview of the whole thing:

1. Bagdasarian (the guy who made up the chipmunks) would learn what the vocals of the song sounded like slowed down (not sure how, but presumably playing back a record or tape slowed down and practicing singing at that tempo)
2. He would then record himself (or, later, studio musicians) singing this slow version. This would be recorded on tape (i.e. on a 4 track, 16 track, etc.) with the tape moving slower than normal.
If you were to play back this tape at regular speed, the vocals would become faster (that is, they would be the speed of the original song) and higher pitched.
4. He would then record onto other tracks on the same tape the rest of the original arrangement (possibly using the original masters, possibly having a studio band recreate it), without the original vocals. This would be recorded at regular speed.

So what you'd end up with is a tape with, say, the following tracks:
Track 1: Vocals (recorded at low speed, so that when played back at regular speed they are high-pitched)
Track 2: Drums (recorded at regular speed, so when played back at regular speed they sound totally normal)
Track 3: Guitar (recorded at regular speed, so when played back at regular speed they sound totally normal)
Track 4: Bass (recorded at regular speed, so when played back at regular speed they sound totally normal)

So in this here project, what they did was just slow down this whole tape. Which means you get:
Track 1: Vocals (tape is slowed back down to the speed it was actually recorded at, so it sounds like what was actually sung in the studio)
Track 2: Drums (tape is slowed down, so this track is slower and lower pitched than when it was actually recorded)
Track 3: Guitar (tape is slowed down, so this track is slower and lower pitched than when it was actually recorded)
Track 4: Bass (tape is slowed down, so this track is slower and lower pitched than when it was actually recorded)

etc.
posted by Bugbread at 3:29 PM on November 12, 2015


Assuming the chipmunk tracks were recorded at half speed, then playing a (33⅓ rpm) lp at 16 rpm would bring you just about back to the original recording, about a quarter step lower.

My guess is that in addition to the full-speed instrumental tracks, there was also a full-speed vocal guide track that got mixed out when the chipmunks were mixed in.
posted by ckape at 3:34 PM on November 12, 2015


Yup, I discovered the man behind the curtain when I was a kid by using the record player trick. "Hey, every chipmunk is actually Dave! Hey, that's neat!"
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:25 PM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Hey, every chipmunk is actually Dave! Hey, that's neat!"

wait, wat?

Childhood mind. Blown.
posted by like_neon at 1:26 AM on November 13, 2015


This is a like a Joy Division cover of Blondie. Genius.
posted by OrangeDisk at 6:59 PM on November 15, 2015


Strange how Whip It had to have the break your momma's back line changed, but somehow they still managed to record Good Girls Don't.
posted by ckape at 10:48 AM on November 18, 2015


Chariots of Fire is super surreal, listening to Ross recite crappy jokes as the different characters extremely slowly.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:10 PM on November 28, 2015


Man, Whip It really straddles the line between amusing and fucking annoying.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:23 PM on November 28, 2015


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