Have you ever found yourself in a situation where — not really knowing the original — you get used to a song cover so much, that later on, once you finally hear the “prototype”, it sounds strange and wrong and you just can’t get “un-used” to the other version?
I did. Many times, as a matter of fact.
Now, I want to be clear about one thing: I’m am not talking about classics here, about songs everyone knows that have been covered millions of times. Those covers usually don’t stick around so much.
I’m talking more about 21st century songs, that are known only to a certain group of fans or that are completely unknown and made famous only by someone else who does a cover.
Going back to the beginning. It has happened to me several times that I discovered some really amazing songs only because of their covers I heard in tv series or movies. Just look at the soundtrack of Grey’s Anatomy that consists of so many really great covers of really great songs. And then there was Glee. I can’t even count how many songs I have discovered thanks to it (although the last two seasons were mostly using very famous and popular songs, which wasn’t so cool anymore).
But Glee has done some harm to me too, musically speaking. It was a sort of “thing” of the Glee producers to do many mash-ups in the series. To those of you not familiar with the term, a mash-up is when you take two or more songs and you mix them together, using some of their lyrics, music, beat etc. — the effect being practically a new composition. Now, it’s good enough if you know at least one of the songs used in the mash-up, cause in this way you are able to distance yourself and recognize how the mash-up was made.
The “problem” is when you don’t know any of the songs and you just hear it the way it is for the first time. And let’s say you like the song, let’s say you start to sing it when you’re cooking or taking a shower. And then you finally decide to listen to the original, because you know there is one. And what happens? The original just doesn’t have the same power, the same message you appreciated in the mash-up.
It’s what happened to me recently with this mash-up from Pitch Perfect 2:
It’s made of two songs, one by Fall Out Boy
and the other one of DJ Khaled feat. Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, T-Pain & Rick Ross
I didn’t know these songs before, even though Fall Out Boy is not a completele unknown band to me. It’s also a kind of music I enjoy a lot, so discovering this song was a very positive experience. I can’t say it about the other one though. Ok, maybe I’m not a fan of rap music, but I do enjoy some songs from time to time. I don’t really know what it’s about, but I prefer the mash-up version much more than the original. It’s also that the lyrics have obviously been changed to a) match the movie and b) avoid the explicit language. I just have to admit that I’m not a big fan of the rap music language that is very often offensive towards women and diversity in general. So maybe this has something to do with my reluctance.
But of course it has to be admitted that without those original songs, there would be no mash-up at all.