This week, the world was blindsided with the release of the most absurd mash-up album in years.
Fans of the genre, or odd internet thingies in general, may recognize the name Neil Cicierega from his viral smashes Brodyquest or Bustin. He's also a talented musician who had two elaborate pop-culture mash-up cult classic concept albums in 2014's Mouth Sounds and Mouth Silence, each named or their overabundance or absence of Smash Mouth's "All Star."
Now it's a trilogy with the emergence of Mouth Moods.
If you were obsessed with '90s/early-aughts media, there are certain songs and sounds forever etched into your conscious, subconscious, and ID. Regardless if you loved or hated them, you probably haven't encountered them in years. Cicierega is here to dig them all up. He has mastered the element of surprise and uses a bevy of samples to play the instruments of our memories, putting your nostalgia to a fresh, inventive use.
Tracks like opener "The Starting Line," created out of memorable opening acapella lines, or "AC/VC" that matches up "Back in Black" with "A Thousand Miles," all have a virtuoso at the helm. Calling it merely a mash-up album is to do it a disservice. It's a miracle.
Let's examine the track "Annoyed Grunt"
The title comes from voice actor Dan Castellaneta's "annoyed grunt" script cue to make Homer Simpson say "D'oh!"
Cicierega uses the legend to make an entire track centered around pop culture's most famous grunts, including Tim Allen (by way of the Home Improvement theme), Disturbed, KoRN, the Mixtures' "Pushbike Song," and Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura 2, with them all eventually bent enough to slide in clips of Annie Lennox, Third Eye Blind and Rammstein in almost undetected.
We also get moments of Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime" backing things, and bizarre clips of Larry King bookending the track (as well as introducing a famous Phil Collins moment) with sprinkles of '90s hallmarks like sounds from Super Nintendo's Mario Paint and Austin Powers saying "Yeah Baby!" between M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes."
Even the brief momentary perfect meshes like Green Day's "Basket Case" with the Home Improvement theme and Van Halen's "Running with the Devil" dialogue feel almost like rewards for retaining such pop culture minutia for so long.
All of Mouth Moods is like this, and it's an absolute treat. And it's free.