A little over 12 minutes into If You're Listening It's Never Too Late, the new mixtape from production trio Captain Cuts, you'll hear the lingering, melancholy piano line from My Chemical Romance's ode to freaks, "Welcome to the Black Parade." Then, that effortlessly recognizable opening beat from Fetty Wap's "Trap Queen" drops in. At first, you're like, Noooooooooo. But soon, the ivories blend with the beat like they were made together, and you're like, What's happening. By the time Blink 182's teen angst anthem "All the Small Things" enters the mix, you're like, I need to be alone right now, please.
This is the recipe for the songs on If You're Listening It's Never Too Late: Mix one or two parts emo or pop punk classic (best if released sometime between 1998 and 2003) and pair it with one or two parts recent pop song (best if released sometime between 2013 and 2015). Find out where they fit with each other — don't force it — then, serve up some confusingly good magic.
"Wow I Can Get Hotline Bling" makes Say Anything frontman Max Bemis' stubbornly pained baritone something that Drake could dance to. In "Where Are You Swinging, Clarity," All American Rejects' frontman Tyson Ritter's "swing" takes the place of the little mangled Bieber vocal that punctuates the chorus in "Where Are Ü Now." "You Know You Like Sic Hands Down" puts Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba in a room with Brand New's mopey bass and traps them both with DJ Snake's clipped beats. And it turns out Head Automatic's theatric sludge punk is a perfect companion for RL Grime's cold synths.
After Girl Talk's rapid rise and just-as-rapid fall from dance party god to copyright-infringing hack, mash-ups in general have since been something best approached with caution. But If You're Listening It's Never Too Late doesn't just slap a Jimmy Eat World song over Gotye's one-hit-wonder. It sews them together, making that nostalgic Gotye beat sound like something that was accidentally cut from Clarity.
Plus, there's something disorienting about listening to that Bruno Mars song everyone played at their weddings this year rubbing right up against that Sum 41 song you used to blast whenever your crippling need to be an anti-establishment suburban teen reached its peak. So here, have some disorientation.