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You Should be Listening to Postmodern Jukebox

I am a huge fan of jazz and standard music. There is just something so satisfying and ethereal about hearing the timeless instruments, the crunching harmonies, and the smooth, buttery voices that fills me up with happiness. Being a vocalist myself and singing jazz before, I have a strong appreciation for the advanced musical knowledge and effort that goes into make the seemingly effortless music. 

As time goes by, standards have seemed to drift away. Luckily, due to the thanks of artists like Michael Bublé, Robbie Williams, and Harry Connick, Jr., they still remain at least somewhat a part of the musical world today. I love all three of those singers, Bublé is my personal musical hero, but for the past few years, there’s been one group that’s stolen my heart when it comes to jazz. That group is Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox. 

Scott Bradlee is a pianist and arranger who founded this musical collective back in 2011. Postmodern Jukebox is known for taking some of the most popular songs of all time, and re-inventing them, turning them into jazz, swing, and ragtime tunes. The group rearranges a song and gives it a whole new flavor, setting them in different styles and time periods to make a truly musical masterpiece. 

The group has almost 400 videos on their YouTube channel, which has over five million subscribers. They’ve taken songs from artists like Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, Britney Spears, Lizzo, Taylor Swift, and Panic! At the Disco, and completely flipped them on their heads. Doing that is a risky thing, but Postmodern Jukebox always seems to hit a home run, I’ve yet to find a cover from them that I haven’t absolutely loved. 

Their arrangements can consist of little melodic changes to help the song fit the time period they are going for, such as in their cover of “idontwannabeyouanymore” by Billie Eilish. This subtle, vintage strings cover keeps a lot of the same aspects of the song but adds a small orchestra to bring it to life, and when sung by ‘American Idol’ alum Catie Turner, the emotion absolutely cuts through and is truly moving (it helps that the original song by Eilish is pretty great, too).

There are other covers, however, that completely change the melody and structure of a song to make it fit the style. Take their Beatles 1960s style cover of “Tearin’ Up My Heart” by NSYNC, for example. Here, we have another ‘American Idol’ alum in Casey Abrams portraying the front man to a ‘60s style group like the early Beatles. If you play NSYNC’s original with this Postmodern Jukebox cover, they sound like two entirely different songs, yet they are both equally entertaining to listen to. The Postmodern Jukebox version adds more layered harmonies as well as an amazing sitar solo break in the middle to give the cover even more originality and depth. 

Other Postmodern Jukebox favorites of mine include their covers of “Don’t Look Back in Anger” by Oasis“Thriller” by Michael Jackson (sung by the incomparable Wayne Brady), “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne“Don’t Let Me Down” by Chainsmokers (probably my all-time favorite), and “MMMbop” by Hanson (if you’re going to check out any, though, make it this one, so fun!). 

Clearly, I am obsessed with Postmodern Jukebox. Being a lifelong ‘American Idol’ helps as so many alumni from the show have performed with the collective. Their covers can be found on YouTube and all music streaming platforms. Just listening to a few of their arrangements gives me so much inspiration and enjoyment, and I hope they do the same for you!

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