Major Key ‘Losing My Religion’ Is Majorly Lame

Last week, Nick Rynerson brought to our attention a Christianized version of Leonard Cohen’s classic, “Hallelujah,” calling Marvin Olasky’s rewrite “a total buzzkill,” “worrisome,” and “completely untrue to the human condition.” Not to be undone, Major Scaled TV has taken REM’s song of lost love and obsession, “Losing My Religion,” and turned it on its head. Familiar, yet foreign and unsettling, this major key version of the REM classic loses any sense of grief and suffering. The change in tonality whitewashes the sorrowful song and brings in the pollyannaism of REM’s much derided “Shiny Happy People.”

This rescaled version is so wrong; it ruins one of REM’s best songs and completely missing the point. Michael Stipe’s shaking vibrato now comes across as giddiness, and the once sad mandolin melody is more akin to the uninhibited joy of Arthur Smith’s “Dueling Banjos.” Unfortunately, Major Scaled TV has created major scale versions of other downer classics: Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters,” The Doors’ “Rider’s on the Storm,” and Django Renhart’s “Minor Swing,”—with plans for more. Each one of these is horribly destroyed with the glistening “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” sparkle of the major scale.

As science recently discovered, high positivity actually leads to a loss of control and aggression. So let us keep our songs of sorrow in the mired mess of depression known as the minor scale that they were created in. Always having an attitude of “things are looking up” to cover our sadness sanitizes and removes us from the struggles of the human condition. So why do we want to attach that attitude to our music?

About Matthew Linder

Matthew Linder is a music professor at National University, married and father of a 2-year-old daughter. He loves Jesus, the Church, biblical theology, and of course, music but despises ketchup. While he appreciates a wide variety of musical styles, he prefers hip-hop, metal, and classical but could live without 90s Christian music. Follow Matthew on Twitter @TheRetuned.

  • http://jaketolbert.com/blog Jake T

    What’s fascinating are the comments. At least currently, they’re really digging it. And truthfully, I kind of do too, ASSUMING the point isn’t to “redeem” it (keeping the original video makes me think it’s not).

    If it’s ironic (or something similar), I really like it. Mostly b/c I’ve always thought the original was a little overwrought. This brings a bit of levity and pulls the covers off revealing the song for what it is: a pop song.

  • Matt Jamison

    “Losing My Religion” was forever ruined for me when it became the breakup song for Dylan and Brenda on Beverly Hills 90210. If teenage melodrama had a national anthem, “Losing My Religion” would be it.

  • http://goodokbad.com Seth T. Hahne

    Isn’t re-scaling it merely meant to be amusing? Are they seriously trying to make a better version of the song or is it just a funny thing to do? Because if the goal was to amuse, they succeeded.

  • Michael

    “This rescaled version is so wrong; it ruins one of REM’s best songs and completely missing the point”

    I’m not sure that Major Scaled TV is the one “missing the point” here, Matthew. Doesn’t this video just highlight the importance of the use of minor chords in the original? Converting it to a major key is clearly absurd, and I don’t the creators of the video would disagree–they did it BECAUSE it’s absurd. Do you think Autotune the News “missing the point” also?

    This isn’t anything like the ridiculous rewrite of “Hallelujah,” which is also absurd, but without the benefit of the rewriter being in on the joke. (Also, I think you meant to write “misses the point”).

  • http://friarsfires.blogspot.com Brett

    Lighten up, Francis.

  • danallison

    People need to get a life. Sing unto the Lord a new song.


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