Rhythm & Views

Dean Gray

It didn't take long for the mash-up to become played out. The practice of editing and fusing two or more songs into one peaked with last year's controversial--and acclaimed--The Grey Album, on which then-bedroom producer Danger Mouse combined the vocals of Jay-Z's The Black Album and music from the Beatles' self-titled album (aka The White Album). Since then, the art form's sudden ubiquity has nearly reduced it to novelty status.

There also hasn't been widespread clamor for any particular mash-up project--until last month. On Dec. 13, some reported 200 Web sites participated in "Dean Gray Tuesday," making available for download American Edit, an entire album of mash-ups credited to a shared alias known as Dean Gray. The album centering on Green Day's 2004 popular American Idiot defied a cease-and-desist order by Warner Bros.

American Edit doesn't greatly advance the mash-up aesthetic, but it's well-produced, fun to listen to and exhibits a scope almost as impressive as its source material, each track interweaving American Idiot songs with at least two other pop nuggets. "Boulevard of Broken Songs" deftly splices Green Day with Oasis ("Wonderwall"), Travis ("Writing to Reach You," which references "Wonderwall") and Aerosmith ("Dream On"). "Greenday Massacre" syncopates Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends" with the Eagles' "Lyin' Eyes" and Talking Heads' "Road to Nowhere," among others.

Infused throughout the album are several saber-rattling proclamations from President Bush, further enhancing the socio-political flavor of American Idiot, as well as the project's rebellious spirit. For more information, visit americanedit.org.

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