Back in January, Bill McClintock blew us all away with James Hetfield and the News. That was a brilliant mashup of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and Huey Lewis’ “Hip to be Square” that, frankly, I still don’t understand. It’s ridiculously infectious despite the stone-cold fact that it shouldn’t work at all.
Now he’s back with Van Wonder. The song is “Chained Uptight,” an ill-conceived mashup of Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight (Everything Is Alright)” and Van Halen’s “Unchained.”
This amalgamation of 1960s soul and 1980s metal has no business existing. Granted, both original performances are brilliant. They just have almost nothing in common. The performances in question are 15 years apart.
But it’s just the tonic an angry, divided, and terrified America needs right now.
The seamless musical mixing is one thing. That alone is astonishing. Seeing Stevie Wonder and David Lee Roth trade lines across the decades like Diamond Dave is Stevie’s hype man is another. I can’t get over the seamless video editing too. It’s mindblowing.
McClintock appears to have used this live 1981 VH performance as the backbone for the mashup edit. Notice that drummer Alex Van Halen isn’t wearing sunglasses in this performance.
Here’s the 1966 “Uptight” performance he used. Wonder was 16 years old here, by the way, and already a massive talent.
Now go back and watch the “Chained Uptight” mashup again at about the 2:05 mark.
Alex has somehow across space and time borrowed Stevie’s shades. It’s that attention to detail that puts McClintock’s mashups over the top, separating them from all challengers.
This mashup is a performance that never happened in real life, but it should have. And now, it has.
This is the America we all know and love whatever our backgrounds. We love Van Halen and Stevie Wonder. They’re both on our playlists, along with Carrie Underwood and Los Lobos. The late DMX was a secret fan of the Golden Girls. I don’t like rap and therefore wasn’t a fan of DMX, but I was a closet fan of Golden Girls back in the day. DMX got it right: “This s–t is funny.” Who knew?
America, that’s who.
We all get along and do our thing day in and day out whether it’s soul, metal, or whatever. Other than the nonprofiteers who keep pushing wokeness for their own fun and profit, that is.