Bon Iver/jovi mash-up awakens ultimate musical Frankenstein
IT IS A MUSICAL truth, generally acknowledged, that Bon Iver fans are at the opposite end of the spectrum to Bon Jovi fans. Not just in terms of musical appreciation but also in general appearance, demeanour and overall world view. There simply is no musical overlap between the sensitive indie sensibilities of Bon Iver and the blue-collar rock bluster of the Jovi.
But circles can be squared, and here we turn our attention to a chamber-rock band called Miracles of Modern Science. In between performing their own material they also endeavour to make musical connections that previously would have been deemed to fall somewhere between implausible and impossible.
Miracles of Modern Science decided to take Bon Jovi’s anthemic You Give Love a Bad Name (a song designed to reach the very end points of stadiums around the world – it’s none too subtle in its composition) and rework it as if Bon Iver had wrote it. The resultant track, with the group catchily rechristened Bon Joviver, is one of the best things you’ll hear and it would help if you paused now to view it on your local friendly social networking site. (See also Shuffle, page 15.)
The beauty of Bon Joviver is in the marriage of a naggingly familiar rock rhythm and the sweet, low-tempo “Bon Iverisation” of the track – they even nail the falsetto down. It may have been done just for fun, but there’s a truth here. Songs you may traditionally recoil from can actually be “sanitised”, and in this case the alchemical change of base metal to indie gold works superbly.
Yes, we have seen these form of “mash-ups” before, but the particular contradictory truth of Bon Joviver has just opened up a whole new direction and the possibilities are plentiful. As a crude working principle (and depending on your own musical preferences) you just take something musically “bad” and filter it through something musically “good”. That much is relatively easy, but the artistry is in the resultant work standing alone on its own merit.
It’s not inconceivable that when Bon Jovi next hit the boards – after duly studying what’s been done to You Give Love a Bad Name – they could get away with doing the Bon Joviver version live without any real upset to their fan-base. And that’s a very fine line.
Over at Stereogum (stereogum. com) they’ve been coming up with some inspired ideas to continue the Bon Joviver meme. The first one to catch my attention was Lana Del Rey Cyrus, although that was immediately relegated to second place when I came across Iron Maiden and Wine, which is very intriguing.
What’s essential is that you rule out the ones that are simply clever wordplay and don’t hold much musical promise. So it’s thanks but no thanks to Emerson, Drake and Palmer, Thom Bjorke and The Grateful Dead Kennedys.
If you really want a challenge, you could go for Kate Perry Ubu, a bit daunting but it would work – and just in case you don’t get the reference there it’s to the new wave experimentalists (to put it mildly) Pere Ubu.
Superficially, The Jesus and Mary J Blige looks appealing but suffers from the fact that both artists are good, which defeats the whole purpose of the exercise. The same argument applies to Earth, Wind and Arcade Fire. Ditto for Peter, Paul, Björn, John and Mary.
Once you get into Badly Drawn Boyz 11 Men territory you’re know you’re almost there. But here’s the one that’s top of this week’s wishlist: Kanye Westlife. Somebody please put it up.
Bon Iver + Bon Jovi = Bon Joviver