3/16/17 – Neil Cicierega “Mouth Moods” (2017)

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Neil Cicierega is musician, comedian and youtuber that has been influential in internet culture for over 12 years. Mouth Moods is the 3rd in a series of mashup albums made by him, and my introduction to him was Mouth Sounds (2014)- an album that almost entirely mashed up Smash Mouth’s All-Star with a number of pop hits. It was seen as mainly a joke album – and I loved it for that, but I saw there was more potential- and Neil delivered. He followed it up with Mouth Silence (2014) and improved in literally every way. Then finally came Mouth Moods – and he again improved his craft.

Mouth Moods is hands down the funniest album I’ve listened to (stand-up comedy excluded). He’s so perfected the art of mixing two songs so well that it feels more than natural sometimes, it’s hard to separate Neil’s mix with the originals. The Starting Line is a great collage of opening lines of a number of pop songs, as well as it being the first song. Neil forces them to fit so well together that it never feels like he’s just throwing noises at you, it feels very put together.

I’m afraid I’m going to have to talk about every nearly every song because they just demand to be talked about… so this will be a long review. Floor Corn mixes up The Popcorn Song and Let the Bodies hit the Floor  and it just lines up so perfectly. I always laugh when it gets to “Let the bo-bo-bo-bo-bo-bodies hit the flooooor”. AC/VC mixes up Vanessa Carlton’s A Thousand Miles (Makin’ my way downtown, walkin fast, faces pass, and I’m home bound) and AC/DC’s Back in Black… and I just laughed my ass off when the vocals come in, I had to pause it. Later on is Annoyed Grunt which is just a cacophony of grunts from all sorts of sources, from Home Improvement to Disturbed to Homer Simpson. It’s definitely a fun song to just try and see how many references you can get, as well as being a fun track. Right after is Bustin – you just have to watch the music video for this. That video ruined the surprise of this song, because I think I watched it 20+ times.

The album has plenty of breathing room in the form of interlude tracks, and that’s a smart way for the songs to have their own punch. I think Busta might be the worst mashup though – it feels like a track from Mouth Sounds. The mash doesn’t really fit and the audio quality on No Scrubs by TLC is poor. Following that though is Tiger – a combo of INXS’s hit Need You Tonight and Eye of the Tiger. It’s a fun song that you eventually realize is just about tigers, and I can’t help but smile throughout. Again the mashup is so seamless you catch yourself not thinking it is one. Speaking of seamless mashup, next up is The End – which puts The Doobie Brothers and Linkin Park. What a Fool Believes‘s groove is just so happy that it changes the angst of In the End into such an upbeat song that makes it perfect for walking to. What amazes me is that Neil takes two songs that I liked in the past and no longer do, takes the best of them, and made something unique that I love.

T.I.M.E is just depressing as all hell, Y.M.C.A‘s vocal track and Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar soundtrack creating what sounds like a funeral for some young man who died that could’ve saved himself by going to the YMCA. Barenaked Ladies, Michael Jackson, and Rob Thomas come together to make Smooth – an admitted guilty pleasure. Wallspin is probably my favorite track to listen to again and again. Wonderwall with Spin me Round‘s beat makes such a funky track I sing along to, as well always laugh when it gets to the chorus and I hear Liam Gallagher’s pitch shifted and demented “wonderrrwAAaaAAaAlllll”

And that’s the thing with this album, some mashups and edits catch you so off guard the first time you listen that it’s impossible to not laugh. On subsequent listens though, the punchline for many of the songs is softened by the fact that you know what’s coming. This lead me to listen to my favorite tracks – ones that were genuinely enjoyable like The End and Wallspin over tracks that impressed me (Annoyed Grunt) or made me burst out laughing (Stand by Meme) on my first listen.

I recommend this album to everyone, even though I know it’s not everyone’s style – it is worth checking out. The album is even free to download!