Remixed Dance Classics
Hoping to bring something fresh to the retro table, Rhino asked the musical question, “How would today’s top club DJs handle yesterday’s top dance hits?” The answer, by now, is: Who cares? And worse, this enormously unnecessary double-disc simply doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It’s way too much way too late, with only a few nuggets that provide a glimmer of hope. This is convolution at its most disappointing. Maybe it may have sounded neat-o to bring together these two generations of dance-club fever and see how they’d mesh, but it’s a mess.
Sometimes, it’s the song choice: Some songs, despite the hypothesis, just don’t need messing with or don’t need a translation. The Spinners’ oh-so-tame “Could it Be I’m Falling in Love,” remixed by Paul Simpson, remains oh so tame. And who would ever want to take on Aretha Franklin’s perfect “Respect”? Albert Cabrera, that’s who, and result sucks. “That Kid” Chris turns the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” into a hyper-beat disaster. And why, oh why, would ANYONE want to remix Yes’s “Owner of a Lonely Heart”? (And for that matter, why did Yes give us “Owner of a Lonely Heart”?)
One of the few bright spots comes right at the beginning, with A Touch of Jazz taking Chic’s disco classic, “Good Times,” and actually laying down a bass groove that is competitive with the original and contemporary at the same time. And Todd Terry’s unnerving take on the unnerving “You Are in My System” by the System on the second disc has a cool groove.
Aside from that, these DJs err either on the side of too much or not enough. They can’t win for losing. If you want a slightly different walk through ’70s clubland, hey, go for it. These are choice songs after all. Just keep your expectations low. Rhino Entertainment Company, 10635 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025- 4900