Bon Iver/jovi mash-up awak­ens ul­ti­mate mu­si­cal Franken­stein

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Opinion -

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

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