In the past year, mash-up albums have seen an incredible growth in popularity. With the help of DJ Dangermouse's celebrated Grey Album, mash-ups broke away from novelty towards the art of choice for DJs everywhere. With numerous popular rock bands getting remixed (whether they wanted or not), it was only a matter of time before Green Day got thrown in the mix.
Dean Gray is the chosen moniker for a collective of DJs that cut up Green Day's American Idiot with just about every other musician they could cram into the mix. Ten days after its (free) online debut, American Edit and Dean Gray were asked to shut down their operations via a cease and desist order from Warner Records, Green Day's label. Since then, the album has been available through various online blogs and other alternative means such as BitTorrent and Soulseek. Finding this album may be a bit tricky, but if you can obtain it, you're in for a treat.
This is by no means a half-assed mash-up. Some real time and energy went into this. The first track, "American Jesus," starts as a standard techno remix of "American Idiot." The 8-minute track proceeds into a "Jesus of Suburbia" remix that manages to beautifully mix in Kanye West, Smokey Robinson, Bryan Adams, and fucking Johnny Cash at the end! And when I say "beautifully," I mean it -- these clips are seamlessly thrown together. It's as if these artists had asked Green Day to write backing music for them. You hear Johnny Cash singing "Ring of Fire" while Billie Joe Armstrong sings his lyrics at the same time, and it doesn't feel awkward at all.
The album continues in the same vein as the first track. The use of quotes from and about George Bush serve as an even more scathing criticism of the current administration than the original album did. There are very few dull moments on this album, although I felt "Boulevard of Broken Songs" and "St. Jimmy the Prankster" went on for longer than I would have cared for. But both tracks still feature very inspired moments.
"Dr. Who on Holiday" mixes Gary Glitter's "Rock & Roll, Pt. 2" so well that you would think that "On Holiday" was meant to be heard this way. Other highlights include "The Bad Homecoming" featuring U2's "Bad" and "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own." "Impossible Rebel" is a megamix of "She's a Rebel," the "Mission Impossible" theme song, "God Save the Queen" by the Sex Pistols, "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits, and "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple. Also I'm sure that "Ashanti's Letterbomb" sounds way better than the original Ashanti track.
So, ignoring how overplayed and overpraised American Idiot was and the egos of the band members themselves, the original album was actually fairly good. Well, this remix album breathes new life into Green Day that is certainly not novelty, and highly entertaining.
For those wondering who else gets the mash-up treatment, the following is a partial list of other groups that get thrown in the mix: the Daleks, the Timelords, Oasis, Aerosmith, the Offspring, Brian Ferry, Queen (!), Buffalo Springfield, the Who, the Eagles, the Beatles, Depeche Mode, Talking Heads, and the Bangles.