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Athens, Ohio, United States
"Art and love are the same thing. It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Moment of the Decade #4

Release of the Gray Album

Believe it or not but there was a time when record companies were worried about mash-ups and digitally downloaded music.

2004 was a time shortly after Napster had collapsed and shortly before iTunes had become the musical juggernaut it is today. In short - it was a brief window of time when the fate of the record industry hung in the balance.

Enter DJ Danger Mouse.

Danger Mouse would later team up with Cee-Lo to craft the consensus best pop song of the decade, but for now he was working by himself trying to turn The Beatle's White Album and Jay-Z's Black Album into a musical masterpiece.

The Beatles are the undisputed pop music kings for all time, while Jay-Z is the probable pop music king for our time. Still, common sense says that a mash up of light, breezy guitar 60's guitar riffs and aggressive, fast urban-flavored verses shouldn't go together. Danger Mouse somehow made it work.

"What More Can I Say" teamed up with "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Encore" flowed over "Glass Onion" and in my personal favorite "Change Clothes" gently played over "Dear Prudence".

The Grey Album would eventually be honored as Album of the Year by Entertainment Weekly and received praise from several other publications. But it left a longer legacy than traditional good music. The Grey Album is a significant cultural moment of the decade because of its continuation of the theme of electronic civil disobedience.

If it exists and its online...then we all have a right to it. Forget what EMI, Paul McCartney or the U.S Constitution says! Nothing says 2000s more than that ethos.


Ryan Joseph said...

Alec, great job highlighting a great mixtape/album. It's been a staple in my iTunes since its release.

Woozie said...

The Beatle's and their 70's guitar riffs? Oh my.

A.G.B said...

Woopsy-ditters! I will fix that.