Tuesday, March 18, 2008


In future ages, historians will look at on my generation and subsequent generations as the people who introduced one of humankind's greatest achievements, the remix.

Back in the olden days, a song was a song was a song. When Elvis Presley sang "Heartbreak Hotel," it always sounded like "Heartbreak Hotel." When Roy Rogers sang "Happy Trails," it always sounded like "Happy Trails." When Bach played his Two-Part Inventions, they always sounded like the Two-Part Inventions.

But advances in recorded sound, coupled with improvements in editing capabilities, unleashed the creativity of producers to take song A and make it into song B.

I'll grant that, in some respects, there is nothing new under the sun. We've always had the medley. Robert Plant and his band buddies would often launch into song Z in the middle of "Whole Lotta Love" or whatever. But the whole idea of the remix launched music in new dimensions. The Aggro Mix of Depeche Mode's "Never Let Me Down Again" (on the cassette version of Music for the Masses) comes to mind, but this morning I'm thinking of a different remix.

For various reasons (primarily procrastination), I have been driving my Honda Accord very infrequently during the past three months. The car that I was driving had a cumbersome CD player which may not have been working anyway; regardless, I didn't bother to program my own music when I was in the other car.

Over the weekend I was permanently (well, James 4 permanently) reunited with my Honda, and I ended up throwing Basshunter (a/k/a Jonas Erik Altberg) into the CD player. Now often when I'm listening to a CD, I'll repeat one song endlessly. After doing that here and there for a while (including listening to "We Are the Waccos" over and over, again), I settled on "Boten Anna (Instrumental)." That's what I listened to for part of the drive home last night, and for a good chunk of the drive to work this morning (once I determined that Barack Obama wasn't going to be speaking until after I got to work).

Perhaps you've heard of "Boten Anna" itself, the song in which the singer thinks that "Anna" is in IRC bot, when in reality Anna is a real person. However, the song is encoded (this time in Swedish), so I've relied on other sources to figure out what was going on in the song.

The presence of the watercraft in this video is a joke at the expense of those of us who can't decode Swedish. Here's a cheat sheet, by the way:

I have no such problem with the so-called instrumental. I say "so-called" because, in my view, an instrumental should be a song without lyrics. However, there are lyrics - in English - for the "Boten Anna (Instrumental)." I will reproduce the entire set of lyrics below, realizing that in doing so I may be sued in the Swedish courts for copyright infringement.

Ready for takeoff!
Are you ready?

As most remixes go, this one takes one part of the song and repeats it endlessly, with some rearrangement, and with some slight breaks between the repetitions. The bass part of the phrase which is oft repeated goes like this:


And it's repeated over and over. Specifically, it's played 6 times, followed by a break, then twice, followed by a break, then eight times, break, four times, break, six times, end of song. This repetition, of course, lends itself to the dance floor, although I didn't engage in Ibiza abandon on the 57 freeway.

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