On their surface, mashups may seem like little more than simple jokes: take the vocal from one song and mix it with the music from a song in a completely different genre, and let the hilarity ensue. But the best mashups go a little deeper than that.
Yes, they’re often hilarious, entertaining, and even educational. But what they ultimately reveal is that, while musical genres are not unimportant, truly good music — a catchy melody, a solid groove, a great hook or riff — transcends arbitrary constructs like genre. When you hear a really good mashup, it sounds like the songs involved were always destined to be together, and indeed, may be even better now for having been combined.
Make no mistake, the mashups of Bill McClintock are really good, indeed — and especially because they’re so counterintuitive. Most people would probably never think to combine Slayer’s “Chemical Warfare” with Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine” but McClintock’s mashup isn’t just hilarious (I dare you not to chuckle at the juxtaposition of lyrics like “I feel alive, I feel the love, I feel the love” with “The torture kills the troops that try to fight”), it’s also an insanely catchy song in its own right.
McClintock’s first claim to fame was his 2018 mashup of Ratt’s “Round and Round” and Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.”
However, I recently discovered him via this insanely clever — and catchy — mashup of Chic’s “Good Times” and Iron Maiden’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” It’s almost eerie how well Chic’s vocals pair with Iron Maiden’s riffs, particularly on the chorus.
Some of McClintock’s best mashups are his “soul metal” mashups, which — as the term suggests — blend classic soul/R&B/funk with heavy metal. Some of his best “soul metal” mashups feature the Jackson 5 and Van Halen, The Marvelettes and Pantera, and (my favorite) Kool & the Gang and Quiet Riot.
And there’s plenty more where that came from on McClintock’s YouTube channel. A word of caution, though: You may never hear Marilyn Manson, James Brown, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the B‑52s, The Clash, or Bob Marley — to name a few — in quite the same way ever again.
Back in 2018, McClintock briefly explained his approach to mashups in this interview. Having a background in music theory obviously helps, as does being a big fan of ’80s rock music. He uses vocal and instrumental tracks that he finds on YouTube, and though it can take weeks to find some tracks that work well together, the actual production of a mashup only takes 5 – 10 hours, plus a few hours for the video production.
Time well spent, considering how enjoyable the end results turn out to be.