American Edit

Dean Gray

Independent release, 2005

http://soundcloud.com/dean-gray

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/21/2005

Some of you may recall that last year, an obscure DJ took The Beatles' White Album, and Jay-Z's The Black Album, mixed them together, and created The Grey Album. Of course, the record labels immediately came down on the album, lawsuits were filed, and it was all really messy. However, the album spread like wildfire over the net, and DJ Dangermouse became a legend. Enter 2005, and American Edit.

American Edit is essentially the same type of record as The Grey Album, except instead of mixing just two albums; multiple artists under the pseudonym "Dean Gray" have taken multiple other songs and mixed them with Green Day's modern classic, American Idiot. This is what is referred to as a "mash up" album. It was released on Nov. 23rd and within ten days, Warner Bros. sent a cease-and-desist order despite the fact, "...it was released as an Internet-only release with no commercial gain for the team of mash-up artists involved"(www.americanedit.org). As a sign of protest, the album was re-released to the net on Dec. 13 for a 24-hour period.

Judging this album in terms of the music was extremely difficult for me. On the one hand, it's most impressive that the various artists of "Dean Gray" have completely changed these songs around, in terms of the tempo, pacing, etc. However, on the other hand, one could make the argument all they have done is edit and paste. I prefer to come down on the side of the former. To be perfectly honest, this is a fun listen.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

If some of you out there need a new drinking game, put this album on and whoever can name the samples used should take a shot. Trust me, by the end everyone will be wasted. In songs like "American Jesus," instead of listening, you end up playing a game of music Trivial Pursuit. I can't begin to name half the outside songs that crop up throughout American Edit. Some are easy to spot; "Novocaine Rhapsody" takes "Novocaine" off American Idiot and mixes it with "Bohemian Rhapsody." Here is where the aforementioned artistry part comes in; the lyrics chosen from both of the individual songs complement each other, moving with the ebb and flow of the track.

"Dr. Who on Holiday," is a kick-ass splicing, taking the best part of the Dr. Who theme song and throwing it in as the main refrain to "Holiday." Dare I say I enjoy this version more than original? "Summer of '69" by Brian Adams makes an appearance on "American Jesus," and the scary part is it sounds an awful lot like the real song. The Mission Impossible theme forms the back bone of "Impossible Rebel," and I say whoever is making MI:3 should use this as the theme song. Why the hell not? "Greenday Massacre" has the lyrics to "Wake Me Up When September Ends" set to The Eagles' "Lyin' Eyes." This one is pure brilliance, it seems like the two were made for each other.

However, besides the blatantly obvious samples, there are some more subtle touches to be heard. For example, at the start of "Boulevard Of Broken Songs," in the background you can just make out the opening licks to "Dream On,"(that song appears later on in the track in a much bigger role.) The closing thirty seconds to "Impossible Rebel" spot us that guitar riff to Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing". In a true mind bender, "American Jesus" features sample of Kanye West's "Goldigger," which in turn featured samples of Ray Charles' "I've Got A Woman." Surreal, isn't it?

Honestly, there is so much more to be found on American Edit than what I've brought up. Important of note though is that almost all the samples don't sound out of place. They complement the songs perfectly, in some cases adding to them. Did American Edit need to be recorded? Of course not. But this is as unique a piece of music as it gets, and for that I thank those who had the balls to stand up to the record labels and put this album out there.

Rating: A

User Rating: A


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© 2005 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent release, and is used for informational purposes only.