I would like to thank the Mental Notes for introducing me to this phenomenon. Our Western system of music theory has been around for a long time, and there are only so many chords you can arrange that "resolve" and sound like music and not just atonal shite. One would suspect that Beethoven is, at this very moment, looking down from Heaven and thinking, "Your radical ideas about switching from that chord to an A have already occurred to others," but what are the odds that you'd actually find a song whose structure was--accidentally or not--copied from another song's?

The odds are pretty good, it turns out. You can find this sweet coincidence in all kinds of songs, but, well... So What? There is humor to be found, and the juxtaposition of Alanis with Trent Reznor--of pop with industrial--and the unholy amounts of angst they both bring makes this a particularly rewarding combination to start with. Here's what you do (those reading this node are invited to play along at home):

  1. Put in Pretty Hate Machine and listen to Head Like a Hole until you've got the words and tune of it solidly in your head.
  2. Take it out and put in Jagged Little Pill; turn on You Oughtta Know, but keep your focus on the NIN.
  3. When Alanis sings the first line, "I want you to know..." start to sing along--
  4. --with Trent's lyrics. "God Money, I'd do anything for you..."
  5. at the switch to "an older version of me," sing the "No, you can't take it" lines from the NIN,
  6. and when Alanis gets all angsted up and blows a gasket screaming "And I'm HEEEEERE! To re-MIND YOU!" you can just open up your pipes and scream back, "Head like a HOLE! Black as YOUR SOUL!"
  7. Mix and match sections as needed throughout the song; you'll find that you have to rearrange the NIN song to sync up with Alanis.
  8. The two songs are recorded in different keys, so those of you with perfect pitch, transpose on the fly to get the two to blend. It's like chocolate & vanilla swirl soft serve!
  9. This can be done the other way around, but it's harder to get the two to sync up in your mind; much more skipping around is necessary.

Eerie enough for you? Let a few friends in on the secret before a party, and bring one of the songs on CD; sing the other. Add alcohol, serve chilled.

Other interesting hybrids:

In the last two or three years, this phenomenon has gone big time in the form of commercial bootleg recordings called "mash-ups". You can download MP3 tracks by groups like Soulwax and Soundhog who absolutely abuse the original songs. Christina Aguilera sings over a guitar riff from the Strokes; Vanilla Ice raps over the Fun Lovin' Criminals; Eminem raps to just about anything you can name, including a Britney Spears pop hook. For the love of God: Destiny's Child sing "Bootylicious" against the epic guitar riff from Smells Like Teen Spirit. Enjoy.

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