^No, seriously. What the hell is this? It's like the Black Eyed Peas threw up on Lady Sovereign and then let it fester for several years.
Sampling can be awesome. Seriously awesome, at that. Take Paul's Boutique by the Beastie Boys, for instance. All of the music accompanying those hilarious crackers' rapping is patch-worked together from a wealth of funk, rock and pop records. Just little, tiny and vaguely familiar snippets of moderately well known songs elegantly sewn together to create a brand new tapestry of sound that, rather than sounding derivative, breathes new life in to soundbites from the past. It really is something special. In the space of the song 'Shake Your Rump', the Boys rattle through bits of Led Zeppelin, The Supremes, James Brown and Sugarhill Gang amongst others. It doesn't sound like plagiarism, it's just an inventive means of mixing together old sounds to make something new. Fantastic.
Of course, the Beastie Boys (and, by extension, the Dust Brothers) aren't the only ones do the whole sampling thing pretty well. I think even Aerosmith would agree this version of 'Walk This Way' is the definitive one (no, it's not the Sugababes / Girls Aloud one, you spoonknocker). Furthermore, one need only look at the relatively simple sample usage on The Prodigy's Fat of the Land to see that the technique was still being used to good effect in the late '90s. But come the 21st century, something went horribly, horribly wrong.
Simply put, there is nothing inventive about taking the lead chorus hook of a song, stuffing it in your own song and rapping before and after it. This isn't exactly new, as 'Can't Touch This' and 'Ice Ice Baby' depressingly confirm, but at least they only took bass lines. They didn't bastardise an entire chorus with autotune and altered lyrics like the monstrosity featured above. There's a befuddling sense of audacity that comes with these songs, however. I could probably live with it if the musicians were claiming it was a cover or remix - you've got the main fundamentals of the original song, but you've updated it with a modern flair. You know, like that version of 'Sun Is Shining' by Bob Marley Vs. Funkstar Deluxe. Or that Elvis Vs. JXL version of 'A Little Less Conversation'. As amusing a form of giving credit the 'Artist Vs. Artist' tag is, at least it seems to show some respect for the original track and an acknowledgement that the modern artist knows they didn't write the song.
Call me a music elitist, because I probably am, but there is something inherently wrong with people thinking that the Black Eyed Peas were in anyway responsible for the only good bits of their song 'Pump It' - namely, the instrumentals of Dick Dale's 'Misirlou'. Or that Flo Rida had anything to do with Dead Or Alive's 'You Spin Me Right Round (Like A Record)'* - he could barely be arsed to change the name on 'Right Round'. Or indeed, that Cher Lloyd, the gobby-snouted goatclown off that talent mockery / sob-fest X-Factor, has any claim to 'Oh My Darling, Clementine'.
I don't understand why anyone would want to go in to music just to ride on the laurels of better musicians who came before them. Surely it would just be a massively unsatisfying creative nadir? Wouldn't you want to build on what came before to reach a new level of musicianship, thus forging your own identity in the process? Then again, I guess the money helps quell the self-doubt that comes with being a musical whore. I blame Scooter for all of this.
*I know this song is kind of terrible, but dear me, I love it so much.
N.B. I should probably stop turning The List in to a collection of poorly thought out music essays.