Kicking, squealing, Scaramouchey little piggy

If I may borrow a leaf from Laurie Penny's book:  William Maranci has listened to "Bohemian Rhapsody," but not, critically, in the way you or I have listened to "Bohemian Rhapsody."

For instance, take a listen to this, whose title is entirely self-explanatory:  "Bohemian Rhapsody But The Vocals Are Comprised of Entirely Weezer Songs."

Maranci makes mashups.  A lot of them.  Some of them are reasonably straightforward, employing the same kind of basic techniques that Adam Neely explains in this video:

(And by the way, that video is one of Neely's best, combining music theory, history, discussing quodlibets and something called the "parody mass," comparing the 30th Goldberg Variation to "Soulja Boy," and ending with something so crazy great I don't want to spoil it with a description.)

For instance, having discovered two harmonically similar songs, it's journeyman work to clip the lyrics out of one and the accompaniment of the other and stitch them back together.  If you do that, the quality of the result is going to depend mostly on how well (and how surprisingly) the two fit together.  Here's a good example of Maranci doing that, a work entitled, appropriately, "Nine Inch Nails - Closer But It's Ghostbusters By Ray Parker Jr.":

Fair warning:  Once you have heard that, it is very difficult to unhear.  This is probably the most dangerous track in this post.  It's been a week since I heard it, and I still can't completely untangle those songs in my head.

Maranci has made a crazy number of mashups.  A lot of them venture into territory that I don't have a lot familiarity with ("Korn - Freak on a Leash But It's The Circle of Life from The Lion King", "Metallica - For Whom the Bell Tolls But It's Black Skinhead by Kanye West," "Tool - The Pot But It's Plastic Love by Mariya Takeuchi," and a whole lot of Twenty-One Pilots).  But they're still pretty straightforward.  I can hear in each that there's melody from one source and accompaniment from another, even if I don't know both tunes.

But that Weezer/Queen mashup is something else entirely.  Maranci didn't find a Weezer song whose melody fits the accompaniment of "Bohemian Rhapsody."  Instead, he did mental pattern-matching across the entire Weezer catalog, searching for scraps of melody that have the same intervals as the vocal line he was replacing.  He stitched together an alternate vocal line, with similar harmonies, out of source material that sounds nothing at all like what he was copying.  

That's a lot of hard, strange work that requires a strong musical memory and a good ear for intervals, if not harmonies.  And it requires a really, really close listening to "Bohemian Rhapsody."

But, having done that close listening, not only is Maranci equipped to replace Freddy Mercury with Rivers Cuomo, he is also equipped to replace Thom Yorke with Freddy Mercury.  (And also, at a critical point, Jonny Greenwood with Brian May.)

If you're like me, you will listen to this with a growing sense of disbelief, because it really doesn't seem possible to do what he's done here.  This isn't a mashup.  This is something else.  I'll caution you that when it starts out, it is merely just okay.  Give it time.

Here is  "Radiohead - Paranoid Android But It's Bohemian Rhapsody":


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