September 24th, 2011 marks 20 years since the release of Nirvana‘s iconic Nevermind album. We don’t need to discuss this further with you — every other music news outlet on Earth has covered it.
However, it would seem wrong if we failed to acknowledge this milestone — so we have compiled a list of the five best mashups using Nirvana’s biggest hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
While typically not a huge fan of mashups, the Wugazi “album” made me realize that, when well-done, mashups can breathe substantial new life into music that has been over-played, making the parts of the sum newly listenable.
The Dance Track: Nirvana vs. Dead or Alive
If you hate tracks fit for a dance club, this might not do much for you — still, this is remarkably well done (and really bizarre), and the creator FAROFF has a slew of mashups on his Youtube page worth checking out (including a mashup The Beatles, Joan Jett, Cypress Hill, House of Pain, and Rage Against the Machine!).
Smells Like Billy Jean: Nirvana vs. The King of Pop
While perhaps not the most impressively executed mashup on the list, this one still holds special significance. In January 1992, Nevermind knocked Michael Jackson’s Dangerous off the number one spot in the Billboard charts. Never mind (see what I did there?) that the media was already heralding Nirvana as ringing the death knell for hair metal — now they were dethroning the King of Pop, and redefining popular music.
This mashup, though, just proves that Nirvana and Michael Jackson are two tragic tastes that taste great together.
The Riff: Nirvana vs. Biggie Smalls
The opening riff of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is probably one of the most recognizable in rock music history. Simple and understated, this mashup utilizes it well, looping the six-second riff for four minutes, letting the Notorious B.I.G.’s words carry the track.
Woo Hoo! Nirvana vs. Blur
Featuring two of the biggest hits of the alt-rock decade, this “Nirvana vs. Blur” mashup is like the heavyweight boxing match of ’90s radio rock. Also, this is the only track on the list that utilizes Kurt’s vocals but none of the instrumentation from “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
Rickrolled: Nirvana vs. Rick Astley
Yeah, sorry if you thought I was going to pull some obscure mashup out of my ass, but this is it: the number one Nirvana mashup. It succeeds on two levels, the first being that it makes Rick Astley listenable. More interestingly, though, it features literally no tweaking or remixing of the instruments or vocals — this is merely Astley’s vocals replacing Cobain’s, exposing just how simple and brilliant the pop formula is for creating a memorable, catchy song.
What do you think? Any memorable “Smells Like Teen Spirit” mashups we left out? Leave us some comments!