About the only thing I look forward to during this, the least wonderful time of year, is DJ Earworm’s United State of Pop mashup. This year’s effort was excellent as always – despite my initial declaration that it was not his best work. I should really know better – he’s not called “Earworm” for nothing – for as has been the case each of the last three years, once this mashup settles into my brain, it becomes irresistible to me. Of course, relying on hooks from Swedish House Mafia and Capital Cities, along with the piano track from “Can’t Hold Us” makes it nigh impossible for me not to listen to this mashup compulsively.
What never ceases to amaze me is how completely DJ Earworm transforms the source material – it’s very different to me than something like Pop Danthology, which, while certainly impressive technically, sounds more like a medley of songs. DJ E combines lyrics, hooks and backbeats – and videos! – into something that stands on its own as an entirely new and cohesive creation (or at least that’s my view as a known philistine). I inevitably download the mashup to my iPod, despite already owning a good number of the originals – not because I want this remix, but because I want this new song DJ E has created.
I also like that he respects the genre while also poking some fun. This year’s version was pretty subtle – the various “whoa-oh-oh-oh” phrases plucked from a couple of different songs, reminding us of the sameness inherent in pop music – a genre that is by its very nature trendy and derivative. This same technique was rather more pronounced in his 2010 mashup, where he was able to grab lyrics from five (five!) different songs urging the listener to “put your hands up”; and in 2011, we got the “boom-boom-boom” refrain.
Some additional observations:
- Robin Thicke has one of the most punchable faces ever.
- Britney looks fucking great.
- Lorde’s eye make-up is flawless – though I’m on the fence about her eyebrow game.
- Speaking of eyebrow game, what’s up with Nellie’s?
- Despite his association with this year’s rapiest song, Pharrell always makes it work – even with that ridiculous pork-pie hat.
- Macklemore rocks a fur like nobody’s business. Same goes for Batman pajamas. God, he’s cute.
- I just find Katy Perry very appealing as a performer. I know I’m not supposed to, but here we are… I mean, c’mon – the stilletto heel as spearhead? That’s pretty hilarious.
- That trumpet hook from “Safe and Sound” is the hookiest fucking hook of all hooks.
- With Swedish House Mafia running a very close second in the hooks category.
- Poor Gaga…
And here, just for some extra fun, is the charming video for “Safe and Sound.” Sebu Simonian, the hot bearded one, is freakin’ adorable and manages to cut quite a respectable rug – I especially love his Rockette routine at 1:12.