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Music / Postmodern Jukebox

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"The music collective and YouTube channel that dares to ask: What if Richard Cheese but you could actually listen to it more than once?"

Postmodern Jukebox is a cover band with songs arranged by Scott Bradlee. A majority of their song covers are modern pop hits being arranged to sound like they were written in previous decades (1920’s jazz, swing, and old-fashioned R & B are featured often) The band has few permanent members, instead having a variety of different vocalists appear on each song (many recur). Some of the more regular vocalists include Robyn Adele Anderson, Cristina Gatti, Ariana Savalas (Telly's daughter) and a wide array of American Idol alumni such as Blake Lewis, Haley Reinhart, and Joey Cook.

Their music can be found here and can be bought here.


Postmodern Jukebox provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Swedish jazz musician Gunhild Carling, who featured in the group’s videos on a number of occasions, is an insanely talented multi-instrumentalist. PMJ brought her out into the limelight but she was known for decades prior in the European jazz world as part of the musical Carling Family.
  • Ascended Fan: Von Smith did a cover of Postmodern Jukebox's version of “Thrift Shop”, and during her season of American Idol, Joey Cook had a breakthrough performance with her cover of PMJ's version of "Fancy". Both were eventually invited to do several covers with them.
    • Invoked when the group released an album of their karaoke tracks and asked fans to upload their versions of the group's songs, with the intent of choosing a winner to record with the group.
  • The Big Guy: Puddles Pity Party stands an impressive 6'8".
  • Blind Shoulder Toss: Joey Cook casually throws her ukulele out of the shot in "Hey There, Delilah." Not literally over the shoulder, because ... well, there's a backup band there, but with the required lack of concern and attention nonetheless.
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  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The singers in the Andrews Sisters-style cover of "Wannabe".
  • Bowdlerize: This is done to a majority of the songs they cover that contain profanity (fortunately it's usually done in a way that works with the song's meter and it's not too distracting) - when they don't pick the clean version right away, such as Cee-Lo's "Forget You". However, sexually suggestive references usually remain in the songs. Robyn Adele Anderson averts this in her solo covers, with "Clint Eastwood" retaining the Precision F-Strike.
  • The Cameo:
    • "Pinky and the Brain Theme" features the original voice actors for Pinky and the Brain, Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche working as bartenders in "human outfits".
    • The video for the Friends theme — "I'll Be There For You", originally by the Rembrandts — takes a Through the Decades approach, with a rotating roster of singers performing successive sections of the song in the style of The '30s through to The '90s... with The '90s represented by the Rembrandts themselves performing the song in its original style.
  • Christmas Songs: They have a few under their belts. Notably "Last Christmas" by Wham! in the style of the Andrews Sisters.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: Zig-Zagged. Some covers ("Jealous," "Take Me to Church") do swap the gender, but others ("Poison," "Timber", "Welcome To The Black Parade") don't.
    • Their cover of "Don't You Worry Child" zigzags this in the song itself, even! The pronouns for the narrator's love interest are swapped to make it from a woman, about a man. However, the line "I was the king, I had a gold throne" is left intact.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: The lyrics are the same, but through their usual anachronistic arrangement and some very swanky set dressing, they make Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" — a song lamenting the life of a hoodlum "gangsta" of The '90s — into a song lamenting the life of a glitzy "gangster" of The Roaring '20s.
  • Cover Version: Their basic oeuvre of the band is that they talk popular rock and pop songs and create older music-genre renditions of them.
  • Dieselpunk: Filtering modern hits through the styles of the diesel era.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: A frequent Character Tic of female singers is to appear shoeless. Notably, Joey Cook is shoeless in every video she's done.
  • Doo Wop: They frequently make covers in this style, such as their videos of "Timber," "Steal My Girl" and "Rude."
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Thanks to Sarah Reich, tap dancing is frequently used as percussion.
  • The Flapper: Many of their female vocalists have dressed like this when the group does covers in the style of '20s Jazz.
  • Funny Background Event: Along with the band members frequently holding their laughter in most videos (especially if the Tambourine Guy is involved), "Love Yourself" even points one in its video description ("Yeah, 2:15 happened").
    • Their cover of "What is Love" features a new tambourine guy (actually WWE wrestler Austin Creed), who steals a trombone from the band.
  • Glamorous Wartime Singer: Occasionally invoked in some of their videos.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Their vocalists are always dressed up according to the time period the song is styled after. Sometimes it borders on Costume Porn.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Gratuitous Spanish is used in the band's Latin style cover of “Summer” by Calvin Harris and their Mariachi cover of Avicii's "Wake Me Up." Gratuitous French shows up in the "Sweater Weather" cover.
  • Harsh Vocals: Casey Abrams is capable of some Louis Armstrong-style gravel when he cuts loose.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: At times it's billed Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox.
  • In the Style of: Along with genres, at times the covers draw from specific artists - "Teenage Dirtbag" sung by Janis Joplin, "Don't Stop Me Now" by Tina Turner, "Oops! ...I Did It Again" done by Marilyn Monroe, "Bad Blood" by Ella Fitzgerald, "Umbrella" a la Singin' in the Rain, and others.
  • Keet: Tim Kubart, aka Tambourine Guy (following his scene-stealing appearance in "Roar", he's credited as that) who never keeps still and causes a lot of Corpsing within the band.
  • Large Ham: Casey Abrams can play smooth and quiet - note his opening to "All About the Bass" - but has a lot more fun just letting himself go as he builds up to a big, gravelly climax. Examples include "Stacy's Mom," "Africa" and "Umbrella."
  • Let's Duet: "Style" and "Mad World."
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Shows up sometimes when the band peps up a sad song while leaving the lyrics intact. Most egregious in "My Heart Will Go On."
  • Motor Mouth: When the group covers songs with rap verses, the rap is usually sung in this manner.
  • Name's the Same: Invoked, as both songs named "Closer" (Chainsmokers and Nine Inch Nails) are sung by Kenton Chen.
  • The Oner: The music video for their of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" is shot in one take.
  • Pirate: Their cover of System of a Down's "Toxicity" has them perform on a pirate ship, with Pirate Girl Robyn as a lead singer.
  • Radio Friendliness: Even though PMJ doesn't broadcast on radio, many of the group's covers remove profanity from the original songs, as such they could be called Radio Edits.
  • Retraux: Natch.
    • Sometimes taken a step further than just rearranging the music in period styles. Occasionally, references to years get changed in the lyrics - "Beauty and a Beat," for instance uses 'We're gonna party like it's 1942' rather than the original's 'Like it's 3012 tonight,' and "Fancy" makes a similar substitution.
    • Their "Heart of Glass" version even warranted a Deliberately Monochrome video reminiscent of Film Noir.
  • Revolving Door Band: Enforced. The band is a musical revue as much as a group, so the exact arrangement of vocalists who sing with them is constantly changing.
  • Sad Clown: Puddles Pity Party.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: The male members of the band tend to sport suits/tuxedos/other fancy wear.
    • Example: Ashley Stroud singing "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea.
  • The Vamp: Ariana Savalas plays this in most of the videos featuring her. Also something of a Ms. Fanservice.
  • Visual Pun: Two different versions of "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor both feature upright bass solos. All about that bass indeed!
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: 2 Chain's rap in "Talk Dirty" is translated into Yiddish.

Video Example(s):


Hello! Ma Baby

The Theatre Raleur in Saint Denis hosts the retro band Postmodern Jukebox (under a lore-friendly pseudonym) covering Hello! Ma Baby in the style of ragtime - in a way it may actually have been originally performed at the turn of the 20th century.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / Retraux

Media sources: