Wikipedia describes mash-ups (or "bastard pop") as "a musical genre which consists of the combination (usually by digital means) of the music and vocal tracks from two or more different songs, often from completely different genres. In its simplest form, the new song can consist of lyrics from one song overlaying music from another or a much more complex mix of music, samples and vocals. At their best, bastard pop songs strive for musical epiphanies that add up to considerably more than the sum of their parts."
That’s as good of an explanation as any I’ve heard.
For me personally – not being a big fan of mainstream pop as a rule – it is a genre which allows me to listen to music that, in its original form, I most likely didn’t much care for in the first place.
With that in mind, here are the top five mash-ups I enjoyed in 2005.
5. DJ Payroll – Losing My Advertising Space (REM vs Robbie Williams)
Released just under the wire in ’05, this one does what mash-ups do best: It combines an overplayed song (REM’s Losing My Religion) with insufferable vocals (most anything by Robbie Williams) to create something that is… wholly listenable.
4. Cheekyboy – Smack My Bitch Up When Doves Cry (Prince vs Prodigy)
Obviously, lyrics are an important element in any pop song. This is one of the better examples in 2005 of an artist paying special attention to the words and combining two similarly themed pieces, thereby raising it to the next level. Who would of thought domestic violence could be so damn danceable?
3. SmashUp Derby Tainted Like You (Soft Cell vs Dandy Warhols)
Billed as "the world’s only mash-up rock band", this San Francisco sextet does live what other mash-up artists only accomplish in the studio - with often-brilliant results. In this mash, the Soft Cell classic Tainted Love gets the rock treatment and the chorus from the Dandy Warhol’s Bohemian Like You serves to embellish a great original. Seeing SmashUp Derby in concert would be one hell of an experience… but until then, listen in.