Take some of the best DJ’s in the world, some old tunes, and some top-notch songs that climbed the charts this year, mix it all together and what do you have? The best music mashups of 2014. But what classifies as a good mashup? In my opinion, a quality mashup dissects several songs and fuses them back together, altering the rhythm and beat of the original tracks to form an entirely new one. The key is to stagger one song into the other without interrupting the melodic flow.
Now some may declare themselves enemies of the mashup, arguing that the original song is always better because it’s composed to convey a certain emotion or concept. However, a few weeks ago we published an article on the 20 best remixes of popular songs that will make you forget the originals that could easily disprove that notion. My main argument here is that a remix doesn’t necessarily alter the spirit of the song, but to the contrary, can enhance it significantly.
The best music mashups of 2014 do precisely that. By re-interpreting and re-arranging the original melodies of songs like James Brown’s “I Feel Good”, Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”, or Notorious B.I.G’s “Mo Money, Mo Problems”, the following list of DJ’s managed to showcase the most essential aspects of each song and reinforce them by adding a second, third, or fourth lyrical composition. So I invite you to open your ears and soul and get ready to experience some of the truly best mashups of the year.
14. Frank Carmine & acquaintance – Journeys (Pierce Fulton, Yellowcard, Fort Minor, Avril Lavigne)
Carmine does an excellent job at enticing his audience by pushing a soft and melancholic melody into several lyrically dramatic tracks.
13. Notion Sickness – L.U.C.K.Y. (Daft Punk, Tom Budin, Razihel, Justin Timberlake, Justice)
I’m sure you already guessed by the original songs at play here that this is definitely a party track. And you’re right. We always knew that Justin Timberlake’s voice would work well with an electronic beat and this is the proof we were waiting for.
12. Shawn Wasabi – Mac n’ Cheese
A mashup of several classic dance songs and Nintendo infused sound effects, this remix will have you jumping off the ceiling. I personally enjoy the piano solo after minute 2:00. A fair warning: it’s rather intense, so don’t listen to it if you’re not in a good mood.
11. Frail Limb Purity – Juno (Modern English, the XX)
It’s time to bring that mood back down to a place of serenity and nostalgia. The XX naturally creates fragile melodies with soft voices, but this remix adds Modern English’s romantic notion of “I’ll Stop the World and Melt with You”, adding a whole other level of emotional build-up.
10. Discosid – Work Hard, Play Hard, Stay High (Tove Lo, Tiesto Feat Kay)
This mashup reels in Tiesto’s high-strung trance beats, bringing them down to a deep-house level and adding Tove Lo’s low voice to counterbalance the high-pitched chorus.
9. Basement Freaks – I Feel Good With This Hip Hop (James Brown, Dead Prez)
Get ready for 2:22 of funky hip-shaking music. Everybody loves James Brown, and when you add the famous 90’s rap duo from New York, Dead Prez, you get a smashing feel-good track.
8. WEKEED – Sleepless Club (Lorde, Flume)
You might not be a fan of New Zealand’s teenage pop-sensation Lorde, or of electro mastermind Flume, but this mashup might change your mind in just a couple of minutes. Lorde’s mythical voice flows perfectly with the mellow electro beat, creating a solid party track.
7. DJ Topsider – Above (Frank Ocean, St. Lucia & CHVRCHES, Ryan Hemsworth)
I’m not keen on too many sound effects being added to remixes, but I can make an exception if the voice-over remains the dominant feature in the song. This is one of those exceptions.
6. D.VELOPED – Time of the Season (The Zombies, Daft Punk, Missy Elliott, Yello)
It’s very difficult to adequately fuse a classic Zombies tune with Daft Punk and Missy Elliot’s experimental rhythms, but D.VELOPED proves that anything is possible when you set your mind and ears to it.
5. LEEYA – Something Worth Dreaming Of (Santigold, HugLife, Mr. Carmack)
Another example of how slowing down an original song’s beat can enhance its meaning. LEEYA takes Santigold’s “Les Artistes” and completely alters its rhythm to create an entirely new appreciation of the song.
4. JANET JACK’s SON – Drake x Disclosure x Flume
I’ll openly admit my love for the DJ duo Disclosure any day, and I hold a special soft spot in my heart for Flume’s remix of their track “You and Me”. But I would never have fathomed that adding Drake’s rapping to this track would make sense. Well, it does and it’s magnificent.
3. Kendrick Lamar x Taylor Swift – Shake Off (The Hood Internet)
Let me guess…you read Taylor Swift and started to doubt my musical taste? Well, all I can say in my defense is that an open mind goes a long way. Leave your judgment at the door, because The Hood Internet did an incredible job at tugging and pulling on Swift’s ultra-poppy “Shake it Off” beat and decided that adding Kendrick Lamar’s rap skills would balance out all that bubble-gum pink. They were right, and I present you with a renewed and much improved version of the original.
2. Pentatonix – La La Latch (Sam Smith/Disclosure/Naughty Boy Mashup)
If you’ve never heard of Pentatonix before, then I’m glad to be the one to introduce you to this a capella group extraordinaire. Equipped with three superb vocalists and two beat-boxing masters, this quintet has been captivating the YouTube crowd with their mashups for a couple of years. This is their most recent compilation.
1. Matoma – Yeah vs. Mo Money Mo Problems (Ludacris, The Notorious B.I.G)
Put your dancing shoes on and get ready to shake out of your seat with this incredibly well-executed Matoma remix of several R&B and hip-hop classics. My pick as the best mashup of 2014.