Tuesday, December 22, 2020

More 2020 music mashups

A few days ago, I published a post with a 2020 music mashup, by someone I’ve posted many times before. That post made me curious and, as a result, I realised it wouldn’t be the only such post. Today’s came about because of that first one.

My main “complaint”, if it can be called that, with the first video, was manipulated audio, but I also noticed (probably for the first time) the level of deliberate choice involved in who is included and who isn’t. I said:
I think it’s impossible to please everyone, and the somewhat short length of the video makes it absolutely impossible. Like anyone else, I think there are some oversights and some overplayed. That’s life, and it doesn’t necessarily change how much I like or don’t like a mashup.
I began to wonder if a longer video might provide a better look at the year just ending. It turns out that there are a lot of year end mashup videos on YouTube (and no, I have no idea why I never looked before now), and most of the ones I saw, and certainly the ones I liked, were considerably longer than the first one—three times, sometimes nearly four times, longer. It turned out that I was right: More time did, indeed, present a fuller picture of a year, however, a shorter one is definitely more accessible in a time-starved world.

Some of of the videos I’ve chosen to share were posted earlier than the first one I shared, but they nevertheless included more songs from the end of the year, which is another reason that it’s a more inclusive picture. The logical assumption is that the earlier a video is posted, the more likely it is to miss out on some big hits, but I suspect it’s more about how early a video is completed, which is a very different thing. Having said that, a video with a longer format has more room to include more songs, including very recent ones, and that’s another way it can seem more inclusive.

The videos are more or less in the order I first saw them. Because they’re all considerably longer than the first one, even I’d come back to this post to watch others later. It’s a busy time of year, after all.

First up, “STUCK IN 2020 | A Year-End Megamix (Mashup of 100+ Songs)” by Adamusic:

When I first watched the video, I really liked it. There’s some manipulated vocals, but it’s at a minimum, and I thought that on balance it worked. I liked the 80s-ish vibe on some of the rhythm tracks laid down over the original songs, but I especially liked that it included a lot of songs I liked that didn’t make the cut in the first one, like Taylor Swift’s “If I were a Man”, which was one of the year’s stand-out tracks for me. I also noted that the video included more of the K-Pop songs of 2020 than just the one megahit, and artists like Conan Gray.

So, I looked up his YouTube “About” page and it said “Adamusic is Adam Wright, a 20-year-old mashup artist and music producer based in LA. Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan!” I began to wonder how much age might have a bearing on song choices (DJ Earworm, who made the first mashup I shared, is 38), but I think it’s more about personal likes and dislikes than age or anything else. After all, I’m old enough to be DJ Earworm’s dad, yet I generally prefer the choices of Adamusic, who is young enough that I could have a grandchild his age (sigh). So, I definitely don't think that age by itself is a factor. 

All of which means that this was making me curious about these videos and the choices made. I needed to investigate further.

Next, “SAY 2020 - Year End Megamix (Mashup of 150 Songs)” by KJ Mixes:

What struck me about this is that there was less vocal manipulation, bit it was otherwise similar to the first one in this post. I noticed that a lot of the songs didn’t make the Billboard Year End Hot 100 Songs” for 2020, more so than in the first video in this post (and, apparently, DJ Earworm uses that list for his annual video). I actually think that straying from the list increases the representativeness of the year, though it doesn’t necessarily present a picture of what was popular in the year. But, then, do the charts? I liked this video, too, but I don’t know anything about the DJ other than what he said of himself, that he’s “just a guy that likes making mashups and mixes.”

Finally for this post, “Make It Alone: 2020 Megamix (A Year-End Mashup of 230 Songs)” by Joseph James:

This was the third of these “alternative” mashup videos I watched, and this was when I noticed that dividing longer videos into “chapters” seems to be a thing. I think that’s a really good idea when it’s done well, and most of them pull it off, at least most of the time. This video has less of a driving dance vibe than a pop music vibe. I like both, so that’s fine with me. I also noticed that it seemed to include a high percentage of songs by former members of One Direction. Like the other videos, it featured some video clips of songs not in the audio (or not for long), which was visually interesting. In this particular case, the overall result of all that was that I thought this video had an almost cinematic feel. Oh, and the DJ? He said of himself, “I'm a 15 year old that makes mashups, that's about it.” Bloody hell.

• • •

That’s it for this collection, but I’ll have one more post in this unplanned series. “Unplanned”—one of many good words to describe 2020.

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