Friday, March 22, 2013

Super Mash Bros. -- "Islands May Close But Little Hawaii Is Forever" (2012)

How come every time you come around
My London, London Bridge wanna go down

The main character of the Showtime television series, Californication, Hank Moody, is an edgy, angry-young-man-type novelist from New York City.  When the series begins, Hank has been living in Los Angeles for five years, and he hasn't written a word since making the move.  

Actually, that's not entirely accurate.  Hank's worried agent persuades him to write a blog for a made-up Los Angeles magazine called Hell-A.  Hank views blogging as loathsome and a total waste of time, and most of his posts are off-the-top-of-his-head rants directed at whomever or whatever gets under his skin.  (Remind you of anyone?)

Hank Moody blogging
What does a hip novelist with writer's block do to fill up his days?  In Hank Moody's case, he drinks a lot.  He also gets laid at least a couple of times a day -- usually without even trying.

In other words, a lot of young lovelies are letting their London Bridge go down for our boy Hank.  

Hank gets laid so often that you might think he must be a bit of a cad.  But Hank is a good-hearted sort.  He's a loving father (to a very precocious 12-year-old daughter) and is carrying a major torch for his baby momma -- he would gladly stop chasing bimbos if she would just come back to him.  

Unfortunately, Hank learns in the first episode of the show that his ex has decided to marry a creepy rich guy.  The guy turns out to be the father of the 16-year-old girl Hank had picked up the day before at a bookstore -- he noticed her browsing through one of his novels, which is the most powerful aphrodisiac there is for a novelist.

Hank and his 16-year-old fan (Madeline Zima)
Of course, Hank had no idea when he took her home for a romp in the hay that she was 16 or the daughter of his ex's betrothed.  (This girl is a delightfully predatory creature who who was born without a smidgen of conscience -- she will no doubt ruin the lives of many men before she is through.)

We'll learn more about Hank's very busy sex life in the next 2 or 3 lines.  But this is a music blog, right?  So we need to talk about music.

The next several 2 or 3 lines posts are going to feature mashups, remixes, medleys, and "break-in" songs -- all of which are musical creations that take one or more songs and do something to make them different.  In some cases, the resulting creation is so different that the original song is essentially unrecognizable.

Webster's defines "mashup" (or "mash-up") as "a piece of music created by digitally overlaying an instrumental track with a vocal track from a different recording."

Let's listen to today's featured mashup, "Islands May Close But Little Hawaii Is Forever," by the Super Mash Bros.  

The first part of the song combines the vocal track from "Ice Cream Paint Job," a 2009 single by Dorrough (a Dallas rapper) and the instrumental track from "Dani California," the Red Hot Chili Peppers hit that was featured in the previous 2 or 3 lines.  

(Some of you are under the illusion that I just pick songs at random.  Nothing could be further from the truth, boys and girls.  Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously wrote that, "The common law is not a brooding omnipresence in the sky," but 2 or 3 lines is not the common law -- there is a brooding omnipresence at work here.  You may not be attuned enough to discern the subtle pattern that I have woven into 2 or 3 lines, but trust me -- it is there.)  

At 00:23, there's a snippet from EMF's #1 hit from 1991, "Unbelievable."  (Don't blink -- you might miss it.)  

Next, the unmistakable introduction to Led Zeppelin's "Good Times, Bad Times" is mashed up with Fergie's 2006 hit, "London Bridge" -- which is the source of the lyrics quoted at the top of the post.

Fergie in front of a (but
not the) London bridge
The "London Bridge" vocals continue as "Good Times, Bad Times" makes a seamless transition to Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'n' Roll."  

"Islands May Close" then closes with a minute or so from "I'm Real (Murder Remix"), a 2001 collaboration by Jennifer Lopez and Ja Rule.  The instrumental track that accompanies J-Lo and Ja Rule's vocals is from "Heartbeats," a 2003 single by The Knife, which is an electronic music duo from Sweden.

Putting together mashups like this one requires an almost encyclopedic knowledge of pop music.  I'm sure that the process of stitching together all the disparate vocal and instrumental tracks that are vertically and horizontally combined in a mashup like this one requires a lot of technical skill and a lot of time.  But it seems to me that the key is having a brain that can retrieve just the right snippet from just the right song to plug into the musical jigsaw puzzle.

The Super Mash Bros. are a couple of guys who met up in 2006 while attending a Los Angeles high school.  Their name is taken from their favorite Nintendo 64 game, "Super Smash Bros," and most of their song titles are inside jokes that only their close friends understand. 

The Mile(y) High Club cover (2012)
I've been listening to the Super Mash Bros. nonstop for the last few days.  Their stuff is just delightful (not to mention addictive).  Their mashups incorporate many, many songs that deserve to be featured on 2 or 3 lines -- you can expect to see a post about "London Bridge" later this year.

I highly recommend following the Super Mash Bros. on Twitter (@SuperMashBros).  Here's just one example of their tweets:  "Anyone have tips on how to get my beard to look more like gosling in the notebook and less like to catch a predator?"

Ryan Gosling in The Notebook
"Islands May Close But Little Hawaii Is Forever" is from the duo's most recent album, The Mile(y) High Club.  I'm going to embed the song here so you don't have to scroll all the way back to the top to listen to it again.  (Is there anything else 2 or 3 lines can do to make your life easier?)

1 comment:

  1. Your mention of "break-ins" brought to mind what may have been the original "break-in" record, "The Flying Saucer (parts 1 & 2)" on the Luniverse label. And yes, I have an original 45 of this one. I also have "Marty on the Planet Mars", which was a "Flying Saucer wannabe", to use an anachronistic term.