27
Apr 04

IHM POP CHAMELEON WATCH

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 598 views

IHM POP CHAMELEON WATCH

Bowie Invites Fans To “Mash Him Up” – this is the sort of headline I dream of, but on this occasion my dream turns quickly into nightmare. The “mash-ups” Bowie is talking about are actually ‘mixes’ of two songs – ‘bootlegs’ in other words, which older readers may remember from late 2001. One lucky punter will recoup part of his colossal BowieNet fees by winning a car (hopefully not the same one David is always crashing in). My views on mash-ups are well-known – two songs in one mean double the pain. My views on mash-ups involving not one but two David Bowie songs are unprintable.

Bowie claims he has already been the subject of many such mash-ups. I asked DJ Monkey Typewriter, my contact in the shady bootleg underworld, if this was really the case. He laughed like a diamond dog. “Listen Tanya, mash-ups use hot, new, fresh artists, like…well, OK, like The Strokes. And, um, Nirvana. But Bowie? Nowie.”

Besides which, there’s a basic conceptual problem with Bowie’s scheme. The idea of mash-ups is that the witty juxtaposition of one artist’s song with another artist’s song creates something marvellous and new, a fresh perspective on familiar sounds. I don’t believe that for a moment, but even I will admit that alchemical sparks are more likely when the basic principle of using two songs by different artists is adhered to. Not, in other words, two David Bowie songs. One of which has to be from his horse-frightening latest album. (“But Tin Machine and David Bowie are diff-” no, JUST STOP. Think about what you’re suggesting. Thankyou.). Bowie is making a rod for his own back here – the only fresh perspective likely for the diehard fan is “Blimey, Bowie’s new songs really ARE worse than his old stuff.” And for the rest of us, that perspective is about as fresh as, well, a mash-up.

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