Nine Inch Nails, Neil Young and N.W.A. Redone with Cats: A List Inspired by Run The Jewels' 'Meow The Jewels'
Acclaimed hip-hop duo Run The Jewels caught eyes with several ridiculous album-release packages on its website, including offers to act as Gordon Ramsay and stage episodes of "Kitchen Nightmares" or to carry out life-ruining revenge plots on childhood bullies (murder excluded). One actually has traction however: "Meow The Jewels," where member El-P will remix the entire Run The Jewels 2 album using nothing but cat noises (for $40,000).
A Kickstarter campaign has started for those interested in chipping in and sharing the record collectively, and El has promised via Twitter that he'll come through and donate the proceeds to charity if cat/hip-hop fans can gather the funds.
It got us thinking: A) Cats are awesome (we're always thinking this) and B) what other albums would we like to see/hear after getting the cat treatment?
The Pound-ward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails has high potential for cat-conversion thanks to the prominence of electronic instrumentation plus the hilarious contradiction in themes: Take some of the most bleak lyrics of the last 20 years and set it to cat noises? Consider the opening drum machine and bassline of "Closer" converted to a cat's mews and purrs, respectively (although that makes the hook that much more disturbing), or the wall of distortion in "Heresy" replaced with howling cats. Trent Reznor could even switch-up lyrics to convert "Piggy" and "March of The Pigs" to "Kitty" and "March of The Kittens." The performer is less likely to take humor in the bastardization of his work than El-P is, and he'll probably make our heads explode with his brain if he sees this.
Cats Always Sleep by Neil Young and Crazy Cat Lady
Neil Young is probably the most divisive vocalist in music: You either totally dig his voice or you hate him for it (Geddy Lee from Rush is another strong option). Don't get us wrong—we're totally on the pro-Young side of the argument—but we have to admit his tone is similar to that of our cat when it's complaining for food. We suggest removing Young's vocals entirely from the classic live album Rust Never Sleeps and replacing him with an especially vocal cat. Acoustic classics such as "Hey Hey, My My" could totally support a feline warble. Young, like Reznor, would also hate this idea ("you know these lyrics have meaning, a--hole?" -imaginary quote from Young) but maybe if all proceeds went to a charity of his choice he'd buy in. Another idea: Temporarily change Crazy Horse's name to Crazy Cat Lady.
Adore-able by Smashing Pumpkins
The problem with the above two suggestions is that the owners of the music are relatively uptight regarding their art. Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins is similarly minded but he's also a cat fanatic (check him out on the cover of PAWS Chicago magazine). We hope that his affections would make him open to converting his band's alt-electronic classic to a cat theme. "Perfect" can stay the same (besides the obvious pun-based spelling change) if Corgan is as close to his felines as it seems and "Ava Adore" has the potential to be much cuter than the overbearing-stalker track that it is now. From an instrumental perspective, we'd encourage the frontman to include his pre-Adore single "Eye" so the terrifying choir that ends the track can be converted to a cat chorus.
Sam Cooke with the Soul Purrers by Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers
We don't necessarily have to replace the vocals or the original instrumentals. Some performers, especially members of the '50s and '60s R&B scene, used impressive backing vocalists to complete their acts. Sam Cooke is one of many and his backing group the Soul Stirrers work best because it can easily become the "Soul Purrers." Replace Cooke's backing squad with harmonies from cats 'n' kittens and gospel classics such as "How Far Am I From Canaan?" and "I'm So Glad (Trouble Don't Last Always" become performance gold. God made cats too, you guys.
N.W.A. and The Pussycat by N.W.A.
Our editors have suggested that replacing Gospel singers with cats isn't the best move for PR purposes so let's veer into gangsta rap instead. Prior to releasing its iconic Straight Outta Compton album, N.W.A. had dropped N.W.A. and the Posse, which features "Boyz-N-Tha Hood," perhaps the ultimate benchmark for gangsta rap. The best part of that single isn't Eazy-E's lyrics however: It's the thumping and scratching beat work of Dr. Dre and DJ Yella. Both of those producers are sitting on long-delayed solo albums, plus we know Dre has roughly a billion dollars to screw around with, so maybe the pair could come back and re-imagine the classic number with cats in place of instrumentation. If you're thinking of the same bass drop we are, you can imagine it (Meow-meow meowwwwwww, meow-meow-meow meowwwwwwww). Bonus: Replace crack references with catnip and it becomes much more family friendly.
At Folsom Animal Shelter by Johnny Cash
The best part of Johnny Cash's classic At Folsom Prison is the country star's ability to conduct stage banter. Cash did some time in his life and he made sure all of the inmates at the California prison believed it while he performed for them, sympathizing with the rough nature of internment and giving snarky feedback to announcements from the authorities. You can hear his audience applauding and laughing in agreement throughout. This time we recommend replacing the sounds of Cash's inmate audience with sounds from the many captive cate (and maybe dogs too). Again, "Cocaine Blues" becomes "Catnip Blues." Folsom's Blue Ravine Animal Hospital (which also serves as the city's shelter) exists about 3.5 miles from Folsom State Prison.