Thursday, February 19, 2009

Banjos Direct Us to the Apocalypse

The Mayan calendar ends after 2012.

Which some people think means the end of the world.

If you're looking for signs of the apocalypse, you can find them all around. But until recently, it seemed that music would offer us a way to rediscover beauty that would steer us away from the edge.

But a quick check of the interwebz indicates that the musical signs of the apocalypse are out in full force:

From Swedesplease: Swedish twee rockers Barbara Flor have remade Nena's end-of-the-world nightmare "99 Luftballoons" as a shoegazer classic complete with whistling.

From Cover Freak, proof that when the Devil comes a-calling, look for him to sport a banjo: Hayseed Dixie takes "My Best Friend's Girl" by the Cars on a hayride to hell. And because the end of the world knows no borders, Japanese girl-band Petty Bookabanjo-thrashes (with heavily accented English) Petula Clark's "Downtown".

A quick check of YouTube reveals at least four versions of "Stairway to Heaven" played on the Banjo, including this one (perhaps inspired by the beer cans in the background, and featuring a pal holding up a lighter in front of the camera) by Sean Ray.

Of course, if more banjos sounded like this, we'd all be playing Banjo Hero on our Xboxes.

On the other hand, there might just be hope for the U.S. and the world as long as talented classical musicians from the former Soviet Union continue to come to our shores. Here's a version of the "Star Spangled Banner" played on electric cello (which looks like a cello neck that's been separated from the instrument's body):

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