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My Five Favorite Christian Music Mash-Ups / Medleys
To the untrained ear, a mash-up and a medley are often used interchangeably and this article will also do that.
It takes a special talent to line up 2 or more songs and mix them up to make a music project that is musically and aesthetically engrossing. The Christian Music genre has a lot of songs that people love to mash up together. While a Christian mash-up/medley is partly a musical project, many also aim to create a song that has deeper and more engaging meaning with a common thread or theme through the different songs.
I do love listening to some of these mashups. During our worship sessions at church we sometimes do something similar, but what we do is more like a medley - stringing 2-3 songs together and going back and forth to create an atmosphere of worship that engages the congregation more.
Here are 5 Christian Mashups that I found impressive both musically and lyrically. I find it difficult to grade them as 1 to 5 - so these are just my overall favorites. I don't have a clear winner on my list!
1. What A Beautiful Name / Agnus Dei (Live) - Travis Cottrell feat. Lily Cottrell
This song showcases the musical concept of tension and release
"What A Beautiful Name" is a gentle song that builds up a little with the second chorus and then releases to a soft interlude before building up with the bridge and releasing to the chorus. What this mashup up achieves effectively is an explosive entry of "Agnus Dei" just after the 4-minute mark. Just when you think "Beautiful Name" has built up and will close, there is a brief musical respite for a beat before "Agnus Dei" bursts in to take over! The build-up continues onto a flowing, inspiring instrumental after 5 min and then crescendoes to a false finish at 5:30. The next 1 minute is a meditative rendition of the chorus of "Beautiful Day"
2. Elevation Worship Mashup | Red Sea Music
This collection of Indian Christian Artists manage to mix together 7 songs by the worship band Elevation Worship -Grateful, Do It Again, Forever I Run, Echo, Call Upon the Lord, Overcome & Resurrecting. That's quite an impressive list, isn't it! Set up in a casual home room the mash-up is as clean as that room! There is a brilliantly common feel that runs through these songs and the transitions are flawless. You also get a feel of the vocalists and the instrumentalists as the video highlights their faces, the way they jive together, and shows their expressions quite well. My favorite bit (non-musically) is the camera showing the guitarist Joshua start of his guitaring between 15 and 22 seconds of the song - that casual stance while he is playing and the smirky smile after the camera focuses on him is a fun moment that I can't get out of my brain for some reason!
3. Evolution of Worship Music - A Cappella Medley by David Wesley
David Wesley made virtual bands cooler 10 years before the pandemic lockdowns forced people to sing virtually together! And to top it all he is a one-man vocal band, This 'worship music' medley showcases his vocal and technical talent very well. But what is so different about this medley is the way it lines up music over centuries! Starting with c560 and going all the way to 2017 - that's about 1500 years of music crammed into 8 minutes of acapella music! The bulk of the songs are from the last 50 years though. David effortlessly goes from one song to another, easily changing tempo, rhythm, scales, and mood. The list of 21 songs he has done on this mash-up is on the youtube link. If you do have a chance, check him out on YouTube - He is an ED nurse who was in the frontline during covid. I wonder how he manages to do so much musically. His latest projects are massive virtual choirs of hundreds of singers from all over the world.
4. Hymns Medley | Caleb + Kelsey Mashup
Amazing Grace / Great Is Thy Faithfulness / Be Thou My Vision / Holy Holy Holy / I Need Thee Every Hour / It Is Well / How Great Thou Art
This husband-and-wife duo have an extensive list of songs have done do and they specialize in medleys and mashups too. Their repertoire of songs stretch from worship to Christmas to hymns. Amazingly, they pack in so many hymns into 4 minutes of video!! They preserve the traditional feel of these hymns, but do add a few twists to get them to mash up well. Their vocals match up and complement each other really well and it's also cute to see them steal a loving look at each other as they sing. Don't miss those special moments too as they mesmerize you with the voices
I have to finish my list with a mash-up that also features a local language (Tamil) mashed up with English
This song was released in the early part of the pandemic when singers in India were just getting familiar with recording multiple parts virtually. This was a massive effort and really merges the different languages well both lyrically and musically. My only gripe is the drum-pad which sounds very computerized! I love the transition to the instrumental interlude which leads to the change of song and language. They also do a brilliant job in getting back to Waymaker and finishing with it. The "Whoo" at the end gives you a feel of how excited the team was I guess!
So that's just a sneak peek into the world of Christian Music Mashups and Medleys. There are probably a million such projects out there and I'm sure you have your favorites too. Do take a moment to mention what you like and if possible throw in a link. If you are a music artist or producer, let us know what you like about mashups and link us to your projects!