Mark Paterson
The Smiths vs Oasis: Charming Forever
Direction / Video Editing / Color Grading / Mashup

Just for the hell of it

It’s an a capella of This Charming Man (The Smiths, 1983) mixed over the music from Live Forever (Oasis, 1994). Two songs by two legendary bands from my home town of Manchester, England. The video is sourced from the official music videos.

I've done a few other mashups over the years, two of which are on this site. Beastie Boys vs David Bowie: Let's Move, and Beastie Boys vs The Smiths: Unruly Boys.

The nerdy explanation of why this works

It's fairly straightforward to do a mashup with a rap vocal because the performance is 100% rhythm based. All you have to do is match it to the beat. The chords underneath don't matter because the artist isn't singing, so they'll never be out of tune. It's a lot more challenging to match vocals from a singer onto a completely different song.

I noticed that the chords to Live Forever are almost identical to This Charming Man, but in a lower key (G D Am C D). For the guitarists out there, This Charming Man is capoed at the 2nd fret where as Live Forever is played on open strings.

To test my theory, I recorded myself playing Live Forever into a loop pedal then played This Charming Man over the top, in the same key. It sounded pretty spot on to me.

The only caveat is that This Charming Man's first chord lasts for 1.5 bars, and the second chord for 0.5 bars, where as Live Forever uses a whole bar for each. This has no detrimental effect, and everything stayed in tune.

My Proof of Concept recording to test if the mashup could work

Meeting (almost) in the middle

The next challenge was finding multitrack versions of both songs where every instrument is a separate audio file, allowing me to isolate, remix or remove any part. Virtually no songs are available in this format, so I was incredibly lucky to find both of them in a dimly lit corner of the internet.

I used a Pitch Shifter to raise Live Forever +1 Semitone, and lower This Charming Man -1 Semitone to bring them into the same key. It was a small adjustment that doesn't affect the tonality of either song.

Obviously the tempos are quite different, with This Charming Man bouncing along at a brisk ~107 bpm and Live Forever a leisurely ~89bpm. I chose a tempo of around ~93bpm to retain the feel of Live Forever and change the character of This Charming Man from its upbeat skip to a more wistful, reflective stroll.

I used the amazing Flex Time feature in Apple’s Logic Pro X to match the tempos. It allows you the freedom to manipulate audio like clay, stretching one part, squashing another, with almost infinite variation and incredible ease. Whats more, it’s all done visually. It’s simply a case of lining up the waveforms where the beats match.

Logic Pro's amazing Flex Time feature makes time stretching audio a breeze. If you're interesting in learning Logic Pro, Sound Wow is a great place to start.

Making the video

I purchased the official music video DVDs of both artists (The Smiths: The Complete Picture and Oasis: Time Flies 1994-2009) to get the highest quality source material. I considered ripping the videos from YouTube, but the quality just wasn't good enough.

The style of each video is quite different. This Charming Man is literally just the band playing the song from beginning to end, where as Live Forever is more conceptual with just snatches of musical performance. I employed some of the editing techniques of both videos (such as superimposed imagery and simple cross dissolves) to help unify them. I also applied an overall color grade and film grain so that they appear to be from the same source. The grain also disguised artifacts of MPEG compression and upscaling.

If you enjoyed this, please consider supporting the original artists at the following links...

Apple Music / Spotify / Your Local Record Shop

Apple Music / Spotify / Your Local Record Shop

Producer: Mark Paterson