By Jake Rivera
Everyone loves a good medley or mashup, right? The idea of hearing your favorite song combined with another to make a whole new piece is always enriching. The key to making a successful medley or mashup has always been matching beats and keys to create a proper blend.
Whether or not an artist can get away with mixing other people’s music to create their own has been very unpredictable these days due to copyright regulations. Once in a blue moon, however, you will find record labels embracing this exceptional art form by officially releasing medleys and mashups that they themselves have produced.
- THUNDER/YOUNG DUMB & BROKE – Imagine Dragons & Khalid – 2017
Not being the CHR radio listener I once was, I never would have listened to either song by themselves. I still refuse to listen to them separately! First curated as a live performance at the 2017 American Music Awards, the two acts took it upon themselves to crank out a studio version, with its release coming a month after the performance. Mixing a loud, energetic pop-rock anthem with a laidback trap-infused R&B croon, this combination may not make sense on paper, but you will be pleasantly surprised once you have heard it.
- THE GIRL IS MINE – 99 Souls featuring Destiny’s Child & Brandy – 2015
Not to be confused with the classic Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney duet, this dance tune solely derives its vocals from Destiny’s Child’s “Girl” and the Brandy/Monica smash “The Boy Is Mine” over 99 Souls’ up-tempo EDM beat. Originally, it was set to feature new vocals by both Brandy and Monica. Monica refused out of fear of disrespecting that piece of history, but Brandy did indeed contribute. It goes to show that late 1990’s and early 2000’s nostalgia will get over with the fans more often than not.
- FOUND/TONIGHT – Lin-Manuel Miranda & Ben Platt – 2018
Listen as the power of two Broadway stars come together in an effort to combat gun violence. This is mainly a medley of songs from both Miranda and Platt’s respective musicals (“The Story Of Tonight” from Hamilton and “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen), but it also samples smaller bits from other songs from the same two musicals. Curated for (and performed at) the March For Our Lives charity event in March 2018, the song managed to reach the top 50 on the Billboard chart and its proceeds were donated to charity.
- DIRT OFF YOUR SHOULDER/LYING FROM YOU – Jay-Z & Linkin Park – 2004
The Grammy-winning “Numb/Encore” was actually part of a 7-track EP of mashups released by the “Holy Grail” rapper and “Hybrid Theory” nu-metal band. This is the EP’s opening track, and it was the one that I gravitated towards most. The mix is mostly driven by the “Lying From You” instrumentatals, but it does open and close with the “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” beat (as well as some admittedly weird “where’s my frappuccino?” ranting at the very beginning). Nonetheless, Jay-Z & Linkin Park really earned the right to brush their shoulders off after this.
- LEAVE IT ALL TO SHINE – iCarly & Victorious Cast Members – 2011
Being a grown man who drifted away from the television shows of my youth, the two things from Nickelodeon that I do actually continue to enjoy are the older episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants and the great music the network provided. This sweet medley from “iParty With Victorious”, the highly-anticipated crossover episode of iCarly and Victorious that debuted in 2011. The fusion of the two shows’ theme songs was performed by its stars at the end of the special. To compliment the episode’s 7.8 million viewers, this song reached No. 24 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart, so you knew TV’s top teens would not let their combined anthem go without its shine, so to speak.
Graphic courtesy of Dave Penney