Audience is a pretty big deal in writing. We have been talking about it all semester, how audience makes all the difference in composing a text—who is reading, who is taking action. As we are about to step into the Argument Project, it got me thinking about the power of audience and how technology has helped create new audiences that might not normally be there.

I have a series of videos here, the original song and the remake. Watch them. But most importantly, give them a listen. Consider how audience changes, depending on the text. Listen to the beat of the music, the vocal arrangement, the switch in genre. What’s the context? Did it change for each song? Did the voice and tone change the meaning? How might audience change the purpose of the text? Go on. Give them all a listen. I dare you.

Eurythmics, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)”
I was a big fan of the Eurythmics in the 80s. How could I not be? Powerful female with an ultra-feminine voice yet so very, very androgynous.

Marilyn Manson, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)”
Ah, Marilyn. Tried to be as powerfully androgynous as Annie but never quite pulling it off. But not a bad version. Enough for me to see him perform this in concert. Really.

Depeche Mode, “Personal Jesus”
Oddly, I could only find live versions of this song, all mellowed out acoustically. But this is the original song, a fantastic song…

Johnny Cash, “Personal Jesus”
Until The Man in Black did a cover. Fantabulous.

There is huge popularity in redoing hip-hop songs. Not certain if it’s because of the content or the opportunity to rework the beats. Perhaps both. Why do you think?

Jay Z, “Hard Knock Life”
Love, love, love the beats. I am guessing many of you have never heard the original song Jay Z sampled. You must watch it below.

Annie, “It’s A Hard Knock Life”
Originally a Broadway show with many, many now famous Annie’s (Sarah Jessica Parker, for one). This video is from the film. Chose to post this version because the choreography is just way too much fun.

Dr. Dre, “Bitches Ain’t Shit”
Yeah, I hated it when I first heard it. The lyrics got my feminist ruffles up. They are rough for my 42 yr old ears. No original video on this one so you’ll have to settle with just a listen.

Ben Folds, “Bitches Ain’t Shit”
And then I heard this version. And what do you know? A perfect example of how audience can change if the text is composed differently. Love it. Actually made me go back to the original and learn to appreciate the rhymes. Really.

Michael Jackson, “Smooth Criminal”
I’m honestly not a Michael Jackson fan but I do like some of his stuff. This is one of his I really, really like.

Alien Ant Farm, “Smooth Criminal”
And I REALLY, REALLY like this. But then, I like my music a bit on the loud side.

Black Eyed Peas, “My Humps”
For the record, let’s just establish that Fergie can do no wrong in my eyes.

Alanis Morissette, “My Humps”
Rumor has it that Fergie sent Alanis flowers after seeing this vid on YouTube. I believe it. She is just that cool.

Nelly, “Hot In Herre”
This song is pretty good. Like anything of Miley’s and Britney’s, it stirs my earworm every time I hear it.

Jenny Owen Youngs, “Hot In Herre”
But, omg. This pushes me over the edge. I love this chick. I will follow her to the moon.

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