From Beethoven To Beyonce – 21 Unlikely Mash-Ups

There was much angry spluttering in the office when we listened to the album of abysmal Radiohead/Jay-Z mash-ups that surfaced online recently.


You can hear it in full at, although be warned: ‘Dirt Off Your Android’ is the only track that doesn’t suck gigantic balls.

Perhaps it’s the weaving, irregular nature of his ‘flow’, but – Danger Mouse’s ‘Grey Album’ aside – remixing Jay-Z is almost always a terrible idea. Combining ‘Encore’ with Muse’s ‘Supermassive Black Hole’, for example, was never going to work.

Fusing ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulder’ with The Verve’s ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ is slightly less jarring, but there’s something about Jay-Z’s tone that combines well with heavy guitars (which is presumably why he hooked up with Linkin Park in 2004). Hence Metallica mash-up ‘December 4th Was Sad But True’ has a satisfying, crunchy solidity to it.

For me, though, the best remixes are ones that puncture the earnestness of the originals. Call me puerile, but there’s something irresistible about ‘Neun And Neunzig Problems’, a wonderfully brainless fusion of ’99 Problems’ with Nena’s 1984 Cold War protest song, ’99 Red Balloons’. I defy you not to smile when the chorus kicks in at 0.45.

Jay-Z also pops up on Queen/OutKast remix ‘Hey We Will Rock You’, a good example of a mash-up that tries just that little bit too hard. Others, meanwhile, boast clever titles but not much else – see ‘Britney’s Massive Hole’, which yokes together Muse’s ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ and Britney Spear’s ‘Do Somethin”.

Generally speaking, the more unexpected the combination – the bigger the ‘jolt’ – the more entertaining the results. Everyone’s heard AC/DC’s ‘Back In Black’ bolted on to Eminem’s ‘My Name Is’ and Public Enemy’s ‘Black Is Back’ (although the latter is admittedly magnificent), but how much more refreshing to hear Kanye West’s ‘Golddigger’ spliced cheekily with Beethoven’s ‘Symphony No.5’, or Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams’ bundled up with ‘Seven Nation Army’?

Using that logic, then, (and side-stepping well-worn favourites such as Soulwax’s ‘Smells Like Teen Booty’) here are a few more outstanding examples of the art.

Smells Stronger
Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ vs Daft Punk’s ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger’.

Alphabeat’s ‘Fascination’ vs The Futureheads’ ‘Hounds Of Love’.
[Download MP3]

Crazy Like An Egyptian
Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Crazy Train’ vs The Bangles’ ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’.
[Download MP3]

Justice For Billie Jean
Justice’s ‘D.A.N.C.E.’ vs Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’.

Ride To Interzone
Klaxons’ ‘Atlantis To Interzone’ vs Black Box’s ‘Ride On Time’.
[Download MP3]

No Wonderwall Diggity
Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’ vs Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’.

Shut Up On A Blue Monday
Rihanna’s ‘Shut Up And Drive’ vs New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’.

M.I.A. Wanted Dead Or Alive
M.I.A.’s ‘Paper Planes’ vs Bon Jovi’s ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’.