Video upload sites like YouTube provide the perfect platform for the creatively twisted to add their own unique spin to music videos and Internet memes. From parodies to remixes of single songs to mashups of many, you can find some pretty innovative stuff out there.
Following is our greatest hits compilation of inspired YouTube music video remakes. But we couldn't possibly have seen all the great ones. So please let us know about your own favorites! We'll use your suggestions to assemble a followup "reader's mix" collection. We've also put our wrap-up video for this story on YouTube, and we encourage you to remix it at will. Let us know if you take a crack at it, and we'll promote your efforts on PCWorld.com.
But on with the show, kicking off with possibly YouTube's best music video ever.
Kutiman: The Mother of All Funk Chords
Kutiman's ThruYOU project takes unrelated YouTube videos of people singing and playing instruments, and edits them together into a funky, jaw dropping greater whole.
You may already have heard of it: The story goes that Kutiman--aka Ophir Kutiel, a solo jazz/funk producer from Isreal--informed just 20 friends about the completed project earlier this year, and from there word spread quickly. Ultimately, this, the first of 7 remixes, received over a million YouTube hits in its first week on the site.
When Stanford law professor and remix culture advocate Lawrence Lessig saw Kutiman's work, he simply blogged: "Watch this, and you'll understand everything and more than what I try to explain in my book."
If you like DJ Shadow's sample-based grooves or Dangermouse's mashup of the Beatles and Jay-Z (The Grey Album), you're in for a treat. (Also see YouTube's own The Internet Symphony, a similar concept for classical music fans.)
VIDEO: The Mother of All Funk Chords by Kutiman
DJ Steve Porter, Vince Offer: Slap Chop Rap
Here's what you get when you cross Massachusetts electro producer Steve Porter with TV pitchman Vince Offer, aka the Slap Chop Guy. If you recall this infomercial from December 2008, you probably remember it for lame double entendres like "You're gonna love my nuts."
Overall, though, it's been a tough year for TV's pitchmen. While no formal charges were filed against Offer (real name, Offer Shlomi) after he was arrested following an altercation in February with a prostitute, the incident was hardly a triumph for the king of ShamWow. And regrettably, chief rival Billy Mays is now pitching the Big Guy in the sky.
VIDEO: Slap Chop Rap (featuring Vince Offer) by DJ Steve Porter
A-Ha: Take On Me, The Literal Version
For the uninitiated, a literal music video parodies the original production by overdubbing the lyrics with ones that literally describe what's happening on screen. Dustin McLean from Current TV kicked the trend off with this awesome redub of A-ha's 1980's hit, "Take On Me."
Close up eyes / Hand comes out / Sketchy arm / Grab the hand!
VIDEO: A-Ha's Take On Me, The Literal Version by Dustin McLean
Bill O'Reilly: Do It Live Remix
No matter what your political bent might be, O'Reilly's timeless flip out on Inside Edition rewards you with an undeniable jolt of schadenfreude. And this rockin' remix, nominated for a 2008 Webby Award in the category of Best Viral Video, only makes it harder not to smile just a wee bit. Never has "We'll do it live" sounded like such an ominous threat.
Note: There are a numerous rhythmical f-bombs in this one. If you're not offended by that sort of thing,
VIDEO: Bill O'Reilly: Do It Live Remix by Lucian Piane (audio) and Torrey Meeks (video)
Lasse Gjertsen: Amateur
This amazing video from Norwegian musician/animator, Lasse Gjertsen, has had almost 11 million views since it was posted in November 2006. Lasse uses stop-motion edits to remix his own chopsticks-like single note drum and piano playing into an actual song.
VIDEO: Amateur by Lasse Gjertsen
Stephen Colbert: Remix Challenge
After Stephen Colbert interviewed Lawrence Lessig about his book, Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy, Colbert suggestively "warned" viewers that he'd be angry if a "remix with some great dance beats" were to show up. As you'd expect, they did, and here's the trippy music video Colbert made for one of the first remixes.
VIDEO: Remix Challenge by Stephen Colbert
DJ Le Clown: Xmas in New York City
This video mashup of Frank Sinatra, AC/DC, the Rolling Stones, Benzino, and the Pogues won Totalrecut's Video Remix Challenge 2008. One of the judges (the panel included Lawrence Lessig) said that it "perfectly captures the spirit of anarchy, irony, and pop culture that infuses remix culture in its purest form."
VIDEO: Xmas in New York City by DJ le Clown
DJ Steve Porter, Michael Jackson: This Is It
We were going to finish up with this funny "David After the Dentist" remix. Instead, and in honor of the late great Michael Jackson, we'll close with Steve Porter's remix from earlier in the year, when MJ announced what were to be his final London concerts. RIP Michael.
VIDEO: Michael Jackson: This Is It by DJ Steve Porter
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