Parodic Remix

You have probably seen that cool series of Volvo Truck adverts where stunning experiments are being performed live to demonstrate the stability and reliability of the trucks. One of them was the Epic Split where Jean-Claude Van Damme performs a split standing between two Volvo trucks moving backwards and slowly drifting apart.

This advert stirred quite a bit of attention and soon a Hungarian CGI company released a parody video called Greetings from Chuck (The Epic Christmas Split). In it, the action star is performing a split standing on the wings of two jets flying high in the air. But that is not all - on Chuck Norris' shoulders are standing ten soldiers in combat uniform making a Christmas tree!

Van Damme's response soon followed in the Zero Gravity Split. In the video, Van Damme performs his epic split standing on the wings of two satellites orbiting the Earth. Can you go more epic than this?

Counterpointing the homage/tribite remix is the parodic remix, where the new song/melody aims to ironize an existing piece of music – for instance Abba’s Take a Chance On Me performed by the British synthpop duo Erasure (1992) or Weird Al’ Yankovic and his parodying of songs by contemporary musical acts, including Dire Straits, Frank Zappa, Madonna, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails etc. Parodic remixes, however, function more effectively on the new and higher level of artistic expression achieved by in the blend of two arts, music and film – the popular “music video” format. The above cited example of parodic remix, Erasure’s interpretation of Abba, will probably not be fully understood as ironizing unless also seen, not just listened to. In the Take a Chance on Me music video the two band members appear dressed and made up to resemble (as closely as possible for two men) all four of Abba’s members – both the male and female ones. Weird Al’ Yankovic’s work is also better comprehended as parody when in the music video format. Among others who have adopted a similar approach to the original they are remixing are Elton John and RuPaul, in the 1994 remix of Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, originally performed in 1976 by Elton John and Kiki Dee, or Marilyn Manson’s 2001 Tainted Love (Gloria Jones, 1964) and 1995 Sweet Dreams (Eurhythmics, 1983).

A neat example of parodic remix is the music videos produced by Bulgarian comedy show Palna Ludnitsa (Complete Madhouse), which make a highly ironic representation of very popular performances from both Europe and the US, and Bulgaria. Follow this link to watch their take on Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive.