Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Jaydiohead -- "Dirt Off Your Android" (2009)

Got some dirt on my shoulder
Could you brush it off for me?

"Dirt Off Your Android" is featured on Max Tannone's Jaydiohead album, a 2009 collection of mashups combining music by Radiohead and music by Jay-Z.  As the title indicates, "Dirt Off Your Android" combines "Paranoid Android" (from the OK Computer album) with "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" (from Jay-Z's The Black Album)  Click here if you'd like to read what 2 or 3 lines had to say about "Paranoid Android" a few days ago.

There are about a zillion covers and mashups of "Paranoid Android," by the way.  The Easy Star All-Stars did a reggae cover.  A classical pianist (Christopher O'Riley) and a string quartet (The Section) have also recorded the song.  Weezer did a cover that one reviewer compared to "hearing Tupac sing a Smashing Pumpkins song."

Without a doubt, the oddest cover version to date was the one done by the percussion section of the University of Massachusetts Minutemen Marching Band.  It's worth listening to:

It's hard to imagine two more dissimilar artists in terms of musical style, but most of the Jay-Z/Radiohead mashups on Jaydiohead work reasonably well.  (Jay-Z tweeted "There are 3 or 4 REAL gems on jaydiohead," and Gwyneth Paltrow included a Jaydiohead track on a 2009 list of her ten favorite party tracks.)

"Dirt Off Your Shoulder" got a lot of attention during the 2008 presidential campaign, when Barack Obama responded to attacks by primary opponent Hillary Clinton by pretending to brush dirt off his shoulder -- a clear reference to the Jay-Z song.  (When questioned about the gesture, an Obama campaign spokesman admitted that "[h]e has some Jay-Z on his iPod.")

Ian Kinsler brushes the
dirt off his shoulder 
Pretending to brush dirt off your shoulders is a don't-give-a-damn gesture -- if you get knocked down and end up with dirt all over your clothes, Jay-Z's advice is that you just pick yourself off and brush that dirt off like you don't really care. 

Obama adapted the gesture to the dirty business of politics.  He didn't literally have dirt on his shoulder, of course.  His message was that Clinton's strategy of attacking him was just typical Washington mud-slinging.  The appropriate response?  Just brush all that dirt off your shoulder and go about your business.

Here's video of Obama's gesture:

And here he is appearing to give good ol' Hillary the finger.  (He denied it, of course, but the audience reaction and his reaction to the audience reaction sure make it look like that's what he was doing.)

Here's "Dirt Off Your Android":

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