Yes, with the end of the year comes the incessant playing of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” on the radio, the optimal time to rock a red/white/green outfit, scandalous office holiday parties and a lot of us playing the role of Santa, secret or otherwise. However for music buffs, the end of the year also signals the annual flagship productions of two mashup titans: DJ Earworm and Daniel Kim. Both have now unleashed their 2015 pop “visual album” scrapbooks, so let pitting-against-each-other commence!
For me, the success of Earworm or Kim’s productions are contingent largely on whether or not I actually like/know most of the songs used. Cohesion is also a must, especially considering the mashups attempt to make sense out of anywhere from 30-50 songs, so using too many instrumental tracks are used results in a mix that is all over the place. Daniel Kim’s approach is to take the most recognized snippets of (his favorite?) pop songs in a given year and fit the pieces into a structured aural puzzle. DJ Earworm used to follow a similar template but his mashups in the last few years find him adopting a more “sophisticated” approach in that lyrical snippets of songs (familiar or otherwise) are used to construct a production that adheres to a particular theme. Additionally, Mr. Kim’s choices include songs that may not have necessarily been U.S. radio hit while Mr. Worm uses Billboard’s Top 25/50 Hot 100 Singles Of The Year as his source.
Last year’s releases were among my least favorite from both producers because Kim’s mix was full of songs I didn’t know or didn’t like and Earworm went a little too highbrow with a somber theme “song” consisting mostly of unfamiliar samples of the year’s biggest hits. While I tend to favor the Pop Danthology mixes, I was again let down by this year’s entry for pretty much the same reason that I had with last year’s mix. Surprisingly, Earworm emerges as the 2015 mashup champion because:
1) Using “I Can’t Feel My Face” as the foundation for the first half induced involuntarily head boppin’
2) The samples he chose to construct this year’s theme are more recognizable
3) The midtrack tempo shift is kinda dope and
4) The video feels like an epic nostalgic trip down memory lane for a year that will probably resonate even more as it ages.
Immerse yourself in all things pop, check out both mixes below and decide for yourself who gets to walk away with the Mashup King title for 2015. I wasn’t feeling last year’s mixes so much that I didn’t even bother to post either, but you can find my fave mashup year here, the 2013 edition here and DJ Earworm’s website here.
Kim had to divide his mashup into two parts and remove certain songs from his original mix to avoid copyright issues over on YouTube. Check out the full versions here.
His “Symphony of Pop 2015” may not be chock full of hits, but the orchestral approach is a bit more interesting than this year’s Pop Danthology…
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