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Nirvana vs. Rick Astley: Never Gonna Give Your Teen Spirit Up
July 19, 2009 10:58 PM   Subscribe


 
Damn, that was actually pretty well done.
posted by phrontist at 11:07 PM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lord Monkey Dingus, when will the insanity end?
posted by chasing at 11:09 PM on July 19, 2009


Nevermind.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:10 PM on July 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Brilliant! Now someone just needs to do Nirvana vs. Boston -- oh, wait ...
posted by maudlin at 11:10 PM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


KristRolled?

I want to snark. I'm trying to snark. I can't manage it - this is actually pretty damn snappy.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:11 PM on July 19, 2009


This is why Kurt Cobain killed himself.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:14 PM on July 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


I should have probably hated this, but I actually liked it.
posted by dead cousin ted at 11:17 PM on July 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


That was really quite good. Good, too, is Never Gonna Fool Your Gold
posted by bunglin jones at 11:18 PM on July 19, 2009


That was good and ultimately led me to U Can't Touch My Humps, which seems an almost perfect joining the the poor taste of the 80s with the lack of class of the 00s.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:23 PM on July 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


That was terrible. Keys are all messed up; made my ears hurt.
posted by dopamine at 11:26 PM on July 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Keys are messed up, but the dissonance does get sucked into the disortion pretty well. Thumbs up.
posted by hanoixan at 11:29 PM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


What!? No.
posted by loquacious at 11:32 PM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I...wait. What? I can't...umm...what are the...uh...the what. I have to sit...wait.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:37 PM on July 19, 2009


This is why Kurt Cobain killed himself.

Because he was opposed to individuals re-interpreting his music? The same dude whose Unplugged in New York set was almost half covers?

Kurt Cobain seemed to me extremely concerned with the commodification of his band, not with people remixing his songs. He might not have been thrilled to see this, but since he had absolutely no frame of reference for the culture that spawned this mashup, I think it's hard to say how he'd react. Saying that this is why he killed himself is ridiculous.

Plus, we all know Courtney Love had him murdered.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 11:50 PM on July 19, 2009 [6 favorites]




Yes he was extremely concerned with the commodification of his band, if he had not made the effort to properly brand, package, and market his band we would never have heard his music.

PS: way to ruin a perfectly funny suicide joke by overexplaining it
posted by idiopath at 12:03 AM on July 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


That was dope wicked.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:04 AM on July 20, 2009


Because he was opposed to individuals re-interpreting his music?


No, because it's mixed with the very personification of a commodified made-for-market pop music act, which is the the painful, sadistic point of the mix.

All things considered Nirvana's Nevermind was pretty heavily polished, packaged and sold as well, which I would be happy to read as an intentional statement.

Oh, hell. I just realized something in retrospect. When I was about 16 or so I was hanging out at the local skate shop wishing I could buy new bearings. The owner or manager was opening the mail and as larger record companies do they had randomly sent the store a copy of the Nirvana's Nevermind - they probably sent lots skateboard stores tapes. When he opened it and saw what it was and looked at it like someone just mailed him a turd.

All this time I thought he gave me the tape because he thought I was cool. Damnit, I was wearing rollerblades in a skateboard shop that only reluctantly sold inline skates. "Righteous, brah, David Geffin just emailed me poo! Fuck yeah, I'll give it to the fat fruity-booter kid and maybe he'll fuck off and stop asking if he can have any stickers and I can finally go rip the morning bong."
posted by loquacious at 12:09 AM on July 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh F*word... Nirvana vs Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give Your Teen Spirit up
Source: www.youtube.com
DJ Morgoth is an excellent mashup creator and DJ based in Germany. He runs an awesome night called Mashup Your Bootz. He made this great mashup, so I made a video of it for him. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit versus Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up

I keep missing FPP.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:09 AM on July 20, 2009


Love mashups. Couldn't listen to whole thing. Ears burning from tone deafness of mixer.
posted by fcummins at 12:11 AM on July 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Kurt Cobain seemed to me extremely concerned with the commodification of his band, not with people remixing his songs

Yeah right. A cheap rickroll wouldn't haven't bothered him at all.

In my opinion this mix was technically adequate, but thematically obscene. What kind of brilliance does it take to come up with an idea like "let's mix a rickroll with X"? Hey, wouldn't it be great to mix Never Gonna Give it Up with Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech? Hey, wouldn't it be great to mix the Constitution with Rick Astley? Hey, wouldn't it be great to have an anniversary of the moon landing where instead of "one small step" we had a really cool rickroll? Yeah, that would be great, because a rickroll is funny. A rickroll is always funny. Doesn't matter about anything else, because the rickroll part is worth my attention.

Fut dat sit.

/sarcasm
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:11 AM on July 20, 2009


Yes he was extremely concerned with the commodification of his band, if he had not made the effort to properly brand, package, and market his band we would never have heard his music.

I don't think so. He didn't brand, package, and market his music, David Geffen did.

When Bleach came out on Sub Pop it sold 30,000 copies.

MTV Unplugged in New York debuted at number 1 on Billboard, after he was dead.

Sorry if I wrecked your lulz.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 12:17 AM on July 20, 2009


I have to give a shout out to my favorite mashup: Tricky Child O' Mine.
posted by zardoz at 12:20 AM on July 20, 2009 [21 favorites]


I don't think so. He didn't brand, package, and market his music, David Geffen did.

Cobain & Co. contributed the opening track on The Beavis & Butthead Experience album - ultimately a sort of mashup of brand extension and ancillary merchandising for a Viacom product. The song was entitled "I Hate Myself And I Want To Die," and was clearly intended as self-parody. In the song's fuzzy lead break, Cobain softly mutters a "Deep Thought" by Jack Handey (it's the one ranked #10 on this list).

Tally that up, and I'm pretty sure it equals not even a twitch in the vague direction of a roll in the ole grave for dearly departed Kurt.
posted by gompa at 12:34 AM on July 20, 2009


From "In Bloom" (on the same album as "Teen Spirit"):
He’s the one
Who likes all our pretty songs
And he likes to sing along
And he likes to shoot his gun
But he knows not what it means
Knows not what it means

posted by twoleftfeet at 12:35 AM on July 20, 2009


I try to refrain from commenting in my own threads, as a general rule, but given the way this discussion is steering, I will say this.

As someone who puts themselves in the camps of 'Music Lover', 'Nirvana Fan' and 'Artistic-Credibility-Is-A-Must-For-Any-Band-I-Am-To-Like', I share similar concerns that Kurt would have balked at the idea of Rick Astley having anything to do with his music in any way, shape or form. Rick and Kurt are polar opposites on the Artistic Credibility Scale, and Never Gonna Give You Up is an abomination of a song to boot, it's badness being so terrible that it became the internet joke that it is almost on that point alone.

But damn, after seeing this video, I couldn't help but think that not only was this well done but I couldn't help but note how much better Never Gonna Give You Up was when being backed up with the 'Teen Spirit' music.

And I hate myself for thinking that. I really, really do. But them's the breaks.
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:45 AM on July 20, 2009


solipsophistocracy: Try selling 30,000 copies of something some time. You probably won't succeed without thinking seriously about the image you present to your audience, and how to properly sell that image. I am not arguing in favor of the record industry here, but let's not pretend he wasn't a willing accomplice in his own commercial success. Geffen did not commercialize what Nirvana was doing, he just took it a bit further. If he hated fame that much, Cobain could have retired from it, like Rick Astley did, for example.

Astley and Cobain have alot in common. their commercial success relied to a significant degree on their ability to keep the interest of teenagers, boys who would think they were cool, and girls who would think they were dreamy (and a certain percentage of visa versa).

There are arguments for music that stands on its conceptual, performative, or compositional merits rather than a commercial image relying on sex appeal. Nirvana is not a very good example of that. Cobain created a successful commercial image for himself that did a great job of wrapping up the self doubt, ambivalence, self absorption and arrogance of youth. Creating an image for oneself is definitely an artform, and I have a huge amount of respect for performance art. It is just too bad that a performance artist can for the most part only be respected and successful in our society if they are called a musician, and furthermore, can only be taken seriously if they put on a show of being really sincere and authentic and not putting on a show.
posted by idiopath at 12:47 AM on July 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


This was not good.

I have to give a shout out to my favorite mashup: Tricky Child O' Mine .
posted by zardoz at 8:20 AM on July 20 [+] [!]


This was good.
posted by Magnakai at 12:49 AM on July 20, 2009


I couldn't help but note how much better Never Gonna Give You Up was when being backed up with the 'Teen Spirit' music.

Kool-Aid tastes better when mixed with Vodka. But why bother with the Kool-Aid when you have the Vodka?
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:53 AM on July 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I believe maudlin's Nirvana-playing-Boston video eloquently makes the point that Cobain was not one to treat anyone or anything, least of all his own work, with stifling reverance.

My guess? He wouldn't baulk at the Rick Astley mashup, but he would think we were all a bunch of douches for having this conversation.
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 12:55 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]




I started clicking related links and discovered Michael Jackson vs. Nirvana Smells Like Billie Jean. Strangely compelling.
posted by showmethecalvino at 1:26 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thinking about this more, I speculate that there is an interesting set of symmetries between some expectations we have of women and what we expect of rock stars.

We expect women to be sexually attractive but not to display any actual outward desire for sex. We expect women to be somewhat sexually inexperienced, but to enthusiastically enjoy sex (but only with me and only because I am so special).

We expect our rock stars to dress like a cool person, but not to follow fashions or be interested in whether people find them fashionable. We expect them to be kind of obscure and cryptic, but sincerely expressing something very personal about themselves (and funny enough, unlike most people, I really understand that too, because I am so special, like my favorite rock star).

The difference I guess is that rock star oppression is really a kind of non-issue.

caveat: I don't actually expect those things of women or rock stars, I was using the rhetorical social consensus we. And while I'm at it I didn't think the suicide joke was funny at all and chiding solipsophistocracy for ruining the joke was really a back-handed compliment.
posted by idiopath at 1:42 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I didn't think the suicide joke was funny at all

I've seen worse.

It's easy to forget that Kurt had a sense of humor about suicide.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:51 AM on July 20, 2009


The beat worked well, but the dissonance drove my poor little ears nuts. I can just about take dissonance with listening to jazz, but this... not really.
At this point, though, I'm inclined to say they went together really well - both are really annoying songs but they come out of it better together.

Before anyone jumps on me about that, I do love Nirvana, but that particular song was overplayed so much that I can't listen to it anymore. Boo.
posted by neewom at 2:42 AM on July 20, 2009


so now we know what happens when the crassly comercial collides with the crassly comercial: "ladies and gentleman, allow me to introduce the shibboleth..."
posted by artof.mulata at 3:43 AM on July 20, 2009


I refuse to watch this.
posted by caddis at 4:16 AM on July 20, 2009


Mrs. FoB and I were eating at a Latin fusion restaurant yesterday, a local favorite. As you might expect, most of the staff are from Central or South America, but on a previous visit I noticed a skinny white guy working there. He had red hair and protruding ears. I made a comment to the missus, pointing him out and indicating just how unnecessarily much he resembled Rick Astley.

Yesterday I learned that he's the younger brother of my best friend from elementary school.

That is all.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:24 AM on July 20, 2009


Smells Like Sloop John B
posted by Evilspork at 5:00 AM on July 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I didn't think the suicide joke was funny at all

SLYT my wrists.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:11 AM on July 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Nirvana and Rick Astley: Together At Last Forever

I am not sure that Kurt Cobain would have had a conniption over this. I've heard Weird Al Yankovic tell the story of how he approached Cobain about doing a parody of his song "Smells Like Teen Spririt". The dialogue went something like this:

Yankovic: I'd like to do a parody of "Smells Like Teen Spirit".

Cobain: Hey really? How are you going to parody it?

Yankovic [tentatively, unsure how Cobain will take this]: I thought we'd do it on how no one can understand a word your saying.

Cobain: Cool!

And according to Wkipedia, Yankovic has said Kurt Cobain told him he realized that Nirvana had "made it" when he heard the parody.
posted by orange swan at 5:22 AM on July 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've seen worse.

Most of those are lame but I like this one:

Q: What was the last thing to go through Cobain's mind?
A: His teeth.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 5:31 AM on July 20, 2009


All these years and people are still buying the carefully cultivated and masterfully branded 'internally tortured genius nobody understands' image Cobain so successfully evoked... willing even to blow his own brains out to perpetuate it... now THAT'S marketing.
posted by Hovercraft Eel at 5:45 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


If this thread has proven something, it's that some Nirvana fans are still as utterly devoid of humour now as they were back in 1991. Which is unsurprising, if they've regularly listened "Nevermind", possibly one of the most soul-crushing albums ever, for the last eighteen years...
posted by Skeptic at 5:48 AM on July 20, 2009


Can I complain about the quality of the Smells Like Teen Spirit karaoke track? Because it's kind of lousy.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:07 AM on July 20, 2009


You overthinkin' music critic bastards. Don't you realize you just saw what should be wholly-impossible -- a refresh of the Rick Astley meme that is actually an earwig?!?!

I tired to close that browser for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. I've heard Never Gonna Give... more times in the past year than I'd like to ever , ever hear again. I could not close that browser. Slackjawed.
posted by cavalier at 6:23 AM on July 20, 2009


Lord Monkey Dingus, when will the insanity end?

Sorry, I just heard someone invoke my official title. Surely no one dares invoke the wrath of Lord Monkey Dingus in vain?!?!?
posted by jonp72 at 6:27 AM on July 20, 2009


Lord Monkey Dingus, when will the insanity end?

I'll wager to say that if you're praying to someone named "Lord Monkey Dingus", then for you, the insanity is going to keep going for a long time.
posted by foldedfish at 6:44 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


My favorite mashup: Pump Up the Doorbell
posted by neroli at 7:01 AM on July 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


Cobain is rickrolling is his grave.
posted by gman at 7:10 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I watched it all and I was laughing when the mashup set Rick Astley's little side-to-side jiggle with his hands against the guitar solo in the middle of the video. Hilarious.

Being completely ignorant of music proprieties, it sounded okay, if a little strange.
posted by WalterMitty at 7:37 AM on July 20, 2009


The beat worked well, but the dissonance drove my poor little ears nuts.

i thought that's what made it brilliant - it shouldn't work, but it does - a long time ago, i was in a class where some jazz musicians from detroit were sitting in to teach us some things - and one of the things said was that you can get away with playing ANY note as long as you play it in rhythm

others have said, you can do it but you have to do it with utter confidence

and that's why this works - and i find this kind of polytonal stuff fascinating
posted by pyramid termite at 7:51 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Skynyrd vs. Nelly courtesy of DJ mei lwun.
posted by squalor at 7:52 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Twoleftfeet: He’s the one
Who likes all our pretty songs
And he likes to sing along
And he likes to shoot his gun
But he knows not what it means
Knows not what it means


I was in HS when Nevermind dropped. It hit the skater kids first, but I was in the school play with one of them and I distinctly recall him breaking down these lyrics and saying "I think he's talking about us."

I loved Nevermind, but I clearly recall this guy whenever I listen.

So... uh... there you go. Guess I should hit the 'Post Comment' button now.
posted by unixrat at 7:55 AM on July 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


THANK YOU, neroli! That's awesome on e'ery level.
posted by grubi at 7:56 AM on July 20, 2009


I wanted to hate this, and I did.
posted by ericbop at 7:58 AM on July 20, 2009


I have heard dissonant mashups that work because they sound cool. This just sounds broken.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:06 AM on July 20, 2009


It's the audio equivalent of a really nice bespoke suit... made of teal plaid.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:11 AM on July 20, 2009


This actually sounds like I'm hearing two different songs at the same time, that don't correlate in any way except that they have the same tempo and verse/chorus structure. In other words, it sounds awful. A good mashup takes two songs and molds them into a new, interesting (usually tonally-pleasing) work.
posted by knave at 8:33 AM on July 20, 2009


This is probably my favorite mashup, still: A Stroke of Genie-us

It puts the melody of the Christina Aguilera song in a totally different key, and it works all the way through!
posted by sklero at 8:37 AM on July 20, 2009


2 things come to mind.

1. Kurt Cobain would probably still be with us if he'd just been "the guitar player"
2. man that Rick Astley can dance.
posted by philip-random at 8:57 AM on July 20, 2009


All the sweet awesomeness of Nirvana's Teen Spirit minus whatever Ric Astley provides
posted by Auden at 9:25 AM on July 20, 2009


The Billie Jean mashup is pretty good, but I think my favoritie is still Smells Like Booty.
posted by daHIFI at 9:42 AM on July 20, 2009


I liked Astley dancing to the solo - but my favorite bit of Nirvana mash-uppery is the Lithium intro/Deee-lite slide whistle/Salt-n-Pepa bit in GirlTalk's 'In Step'.

I assume GirlTalk is really square and so last year, but I do not care.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:51 AM on July 20, 2009


solipsophistocracy: "Kurt Cobain seemed to me extremely concerned with the commodification of his band, not with people remixing his songs."

Agreed. Cobain loved Yankovic's parody of "Smells Like Teen Spirit", for example:

MTV: What about Weird Al's "Smells Like Nirvana"?

Cobain: Oh, I laughed my butt off. I thought it was one of the funniest things I ever saw. He has some good people working for him. Those people really know how to... I mean, I'm sure he has a lot to do with it, but they really know how to reproduce things to the T. He had the exact same setup. It's the same video with him in it. It's great.

MTV: Do you go along with the idea that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

Cobain: Sure. Yeah.
posted by WCityMike at 10:00 AM on July 20, 2009


*puts on monocle*

I'm going to allow this.

*takes off monocle*
posted by prufrock at 10:12 AM on July 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


...and one of the things said was that you can get away with playing ANY note as long as you play it in rhythm

Yeah, to an extent, I agree. Things that came out of my early music training - the ability to identify an open A whether I want to or not (not perfect pitch, but perfect pitch for certain notes), and the hatred of dissonance when it's more than a slight counterpoint to the melody. Both annoy the hell out of me, because there are perfectly good songs I have trouble listening to because they're either slightly flat or have more clashing notes than checks and polka-dots. :(
posted by neewom at 11:19 AM on July 20, 2009


a) man, I remember when that damn Nirvana video came out. Back then, so cool. Now... well, I dunno. Sometimes novelty has legs, sometimes not so much. This is like two dead memes that are so dead that the soil of what used to be their bodies has finally intermingled in the compost pile of pop culture.

b) most nerd-tastic mashup I've ever heard.

lock s-foils in attack position
posted by GuyZero at 12:11 PM on July 20, 2009


Kurt Cobain liked Weird Al's "Smells Like Nirvana." Not that I'm an authority on him, but I think he would have liked this, too.
posted by ignignokt at 2:47 PM on July 20, 2009


I hate SLYT posts. This overcame my hatred. Score!
posted by chairface at 3:09 PM on July 20, 2009


Amazing. Amazingly awesome. Awesomely amazing.
posted by Xoebe at 4:54 PM on July 20, 2009


If he hated fame that much, Cobain could have retired from it
Apparently I am the only person who found this statement sort of twistedly hilarious: really, why won't that Cobain guy just quit already?


Anyway, so...I adore mash-ups. I also spent my early teenage years desperately in love with Kurt Cobain (note: this was after he was already dead. I am late for everything in the history of every cool thing that ever happened.) and back then would have found this a VERY UNFUNNY take on VERY SERIOUS stuff, but I am slowly developing a sense of humor about things, and the concept here totally cracked me. The execution, sadly, was a little lacking.

"Tricky Child O'Mine," however, just made my night.
posted by naoko at 9:51 PM on July 20, 2009


*shoots self in head*
posted by goshling at 7:55 AM on August 12, 2009


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