Every now and then, you listen to an album, and every critical and intellectual instinct you have says that this music simply should not work. It’s too silly. it’s too ambitious, it’s too “out-there.” My tastes in music have gotten fairly eclectic over the years so I’m pretty willing to give absolutely any genre of music a chance before I pass judgment, but I must admit that I was mentally preparing myself for some real silliness with 2003’s As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2 by the electronic rock act 2 Many DJs (which is simply a side project for the regular band Soulwax) since the album is a mash-up album of over 114 different songs. The reason I was preparing myself for silliness was the ridiculously diverse and inherently incompatible artists that were being mashed and re-mixed over the course of the album’s considerable length. And while I was right, it was incredibly silly, it was also the definition of a fun dance album which never ceased to entertain me with its shocking but surprisingly well done song selection.
As I mentioned, As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2 is a mash-up album. Therefore, there is no (as far as I could tell) original music on the album, but instead it consists entirely of songs where the instruments of one track like Iggy Pop and the Stooges “No Fun” is layered on top of the vocals of another song, in this case Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It”. Or, the songs are simply heavily, heavily remixed versions of other songs like Peaches’ “Fuck the Pain Away” which some listeners may recognize from the Jackass film. The album simply bounces all over the place in terms of musical styles or speed or general levels of “are they really mixing these two songs together”. It starts off with prog rock mixed over house and then goes to electro-rock/techno to kraut rock to funk to R& B. On one’s first listen to this album (I’ve done it three times today almost), you simply have no clue exactly where this album is going to take you, and even after repeat listens, you’re still in awe of the ridiculous nature of the album.
The album is chock-full of inspired mash-ups. The Iggy Pop/ Salt-N-Pepa combination is an obvious highlight, but there are dozens of others over the albums 30 track length. At one point, Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” is transformed into a rocking disco anthem over the electronic beats of Royksopp’s “Eple”. Destiny’s Child “Independent Women Pt. 1” is used better than in its original format over a 10cc track, “Dreadlock Holiday”. The album instantly draws you in with its open which is the prog of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer played overtop of the house music of Basement Jaxx. They even have the audacity to remix a classic Velvet Underground track beyond any recognizability and yet make it all work within the context of the album. Much of the album segues directly from one song to the next with no pauses. This is beyond a doubt an album that must be listened from start to finish for it to remotely have its full effect.
If you’re a fan of DJ music and the genre of mash-ups like with Girl Talk, then this album needs to be checked out. It might not be perfect and its incredibly erratic nature maybe keeps it from real greatness, but this is one of the most fun and immediately accessible albums I’ve reviewed. It’s got one or two tracks that disrupt from the flow considerably, and “I Sit on Acid” was legitimately probably bad, but that was one blemish on an otherwise fantastic product. Yeah, this is a really damn weird album, but if you can get past the preposterous “take it too far” nature that lends the album its charm, then you’re in for a considerable treat. This is the first mash-up album I’ve listened to in its entirety and it has me really excited to hear some more stuff from the rest of this previously unexplored genre
Final Score: B+