YouTube ‘shreds’ didn’t take off on social media the way trolling and cat videos did. And yes, they are possibly a little bit ‘niche’. But what I really like about these musical parodies is that they take on a quality all of their own, producing a surreal, appealingly-amateurish mash-up of cheap synths, terrible guitar sounds and fake drums.
There is some intelligence behind them too – it’s not easy to sound this bad. You need a bit of talent. The clips also bring home just how great these players are.
But hey – some possibly need taking down a peg or two…
6. a-ha play ‘Take On Me’
I like the badly-played synth motifs, Morten’s little off-mic asides and the unexpectedly-early chorus. And also the drummer’s Herculean efforts juxtaposed with the tinny, inconsequential sounds he is producing…
5. The Chick Corea Elektric Band play…something
This band were always one of the more unsavoury fusion units of the late-’80s. Their freakily-flawless musicianship, cheesy synth sounds and ‘zany’ stage performances are ripe for a bit of a rave-up…
4. USA For Africa play ‘We Are The World’
This one gets in for sheer oddness. It sounds like it’s been overdubbed by people whose first language is not English. Chinese? French? Kenny Rogers, Tina Turner and Billy Joel always get me.
3. Miles Davis plays ‘Tutu’
Sorry Miles, but I like the way this classic piece is re-imagined as a kind of remedial reggae/world music/’50s rock jam. Check out the intensity of percussionist Don Alias’s performance. That little ‘tinging’ ride cymbal gets me every time.
2. Dire Straits play ‘Money For Nothing’
This is ‘Money For Nothing’ played by a bunch of teenagers who have just been given a few cheap synths, a crap bass and a few rubbish guitars for Christmas. I particularly dig John Illsley’s backing vocals.
1. Chick Corea duets with Herbie Hancock
Yes, yes, why not some more Chick? There’s something about his smug performance style that lends itself to these clips. And of course the fact that he has made so much tasteless music for someone so near to genius…