In writing about the music of 2016, I noted that the inclusion of major pop stars was something of an anomaly for me. I’ve long carried a certain snobbishness about the tracks that easily carry over to Top 40 radio (if that’s even a thing any more), an intellectual affliction I suspect a great deal of a college radio alumni carry with them. When bands that fall into the alternative or indie rock realm cross over, they’re reflexively dismissed as a sell-outs, and when material seems as designed to appeal to mass audiences as a plastic container for laundry soap, the wrath of the purists is even more harsh.
That ice wall I built sustained its first few pickax swings when emerging digital technology combined with the unfettered distribution channel that is the internet to allow for an onrush of mashups. The inspired combinations of seemingly disparate artists and songs could be revelatory. I found this was especially the case when some pop trifle was combined with the sort of boundary shredding music that I favored.
There are a few cherished mashups in my digital collection, but none looms larger for me than “Dirty Bottle.” Orchestrated by the Australian deejay dsico, the track takes vocals from Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle” and draped them perfectly over the music from Sonic Youth’s “Dirty Boots.” I’d long heard defenders of Aguilera insist she was a cut above competing pop princesses because of the quality of her actually singing, but I was quick to dismiss such arguments. “Dirty Bottle” convinced me that I was in the wrong. Had she spent her career fronting a band with a propensity for caustic musical deconstruction, I would have relentlessly championed her talents to any who had the misfortune to stumble into a record-centric conversation with me.
Despite my softening toward the artist known as Xtina, I haven’t had much inclination to dig deeper into her discography. But “Dirty Bottle”? I’ll listen to that all day long.
Listen or download –> Dsico, “Dirty Bottle”
(Disclaimer: In this part of the post, I usually go through my labored rationalizations justifying my knowing violation of copyright laws, or maybe engage in some heated typing in ranting about the demolition of “fair use” as a legal concept. Then I’ll sincerely implore any and all who happen to read my words to go out and financially support your favorite local, independently-owned record store. Since I don’t believe “Dirty Bottle” was released commercially, I don’t feel the need to so that this week. Well, except for the record store part. Go buy something from that shop. They need and deserve your business.)