30 Day Song Challenge, Day 22: A Song You Wish You Had Written

Surprise surprise, I like to break songs down more than I like to write them; analysis is more my thing than composition. I’ve been thinking about this question for days, and, honestly, I keep coming up with null set. Like, this question feels like “Who is your favorite philosopher?” — The answer to which is always “me.” I don’t want to be like another philosopher, I want to be the philosopher I am. Similarly, I guess I don’t go around wishing I had written someone else’s song…because it would be a different song if I wrote or produced it. And to be honest if I really wanted to put my touch on a song, I’d just remix it.



That said, I would say this: I think the 2 Many DJs mashup project is brilliant, it reflects a lot of the way I hear music (noticing compositional similarities across songs across genres), and it made for some really really fantastic and interesting music. I know, mashups seem, well, old. But in the early 2000s they were really fresh and amazing. I remember buying “As Heard On Radio Soulwax Pt. 1″ in spring 2002 in the (Tower? I can’t remember the chain anymore) record shop on the Champs-Elyse, which I could walk to from the 16eme apartment I lived in while studying in Paris. It blew my mind, in large part because it listened the way I listened–for common structures and features across songs and genres. In particular, I loved how it put pop by black women on top of rock-dad canon bands like The Stooges and Nirvana. I was just beginning work on my dissertation proposal at that point, and this helped me crystalize the idea that it’s not structure but politics that matters to aesthetics (the relative value of Nirvana or Desitny’s Child is political, because their songs are the same), and that Adornian whining about how all pop sounds the same misses the fucking political point.

My favorite moments included:

Missy over Elastica (12:12ish), which, after some Amens, mixes into

The Basement Jaxx/Clash mash (14:00ish)

I can’t say I like the Beach Boys/MJ mashup, but it is pretty brilliant (21:00ish)

The B-52s vs Natural Born Killers (24:00ish)

Freelance Hellraisers’s Strokes/Xtina mash (28:00ish)

Around 37:45, when it “Are Friends Electric?” starts to rise to the top of the mix and then fades into Biggie

The New Order mix, which comes in around 48:00ish

Smells Like Booty comes in at around 54:00

Listening to it now, it’s impossible not to hear this record, with its punk + UK dance music aesthetic, as a progenitor to the bloghouse scene of the later 00s. It also feels incredibly of its time (that’s a nice way of saying ‘dated’), but back 13 years ago, it was pretty mind-blowing to me. It synthesized all these different canonical records with absolutely contemporary stuff, across a ton of genres…and it definitely kickstarted the mashup trend that culminated in artists like Girl Talk (wow, talk about 00s nostalgia).