October 17, 2013

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Donna Summer - Love To Love You Donna

This is the first posthumous release for the Queen Of Disco. It is a collection of brand new remixes that were produced just for this collection. This collection only covers a limited part of Donna's multi-decade career, but it focuses on the most important time when she had a string of hits.

Here is an overview of each track:

Love To Love You Baby (feat. Chris Cox) [Giorgio Moroder Remix]
This orgasmic odyssey clocking at almost 17 minutes in its original version back in the day is re-imagined in an "I Feel Love" aesthetic by Giorgio Moroder and Chris Cox. Despite the production being re-arranged as much as it has, the sensuality quotient is still very high. This song is every bit as erotic as it was in 1975.

Dim All the Lights (Duke Dumont Remix)
It is a shame that this one only uses so few vocals because the production was rather promising. It basically loops the same line over and over for much of it.

Hot Stuff (Frankie Knuckles & Eric Kupper As Director's Cut Signature Mix)
This song's Disco meets Rock production is appropriately minimized in this 90s House rework which incorporates a few key instrumental flourishes and hooks from the original, however, the Rock elements are sorely missed.

I Feel Love (Afrojack Remix)
One of the most influential songs in all of Dance/Electronic music has been updated ever so slightly picking up the tempo, but the soul of the song and that signature arpeggio hook that has been sampled and ripped off countless times is left intact. There have been a number of remixes of this song over the years which strayed too far and left much to be desired. This is one of the best mixes of the song ever done other than the Rollo & Sister Bliss one from 1995.

Love Is In Control (Finger On the Trigger) [Chromeo & Oliver Remix]
While certain melodies from the original were kept, this mix ends up sounding far more dated than it should.

Sunset People (Hot Chip Dub Edit)
The Disco vibe of the original is maintained though the tempo is lowered just a little. This would have worked better as a full vocal mix.

Working the Midnight Shift (Holy Ghost! Remix)
The Once Upon A Time album track is reinvented in a Kevin Saunderson/Inner City style. The industrial sound of the original is there too, just changed up a bit.

Bad Girls (Gigamesh Remix)
The song from the double album of the same name about the ladies of the evening is given an 80s synthpop styled reworking. The Disco/Rock vibe of the original has been entirely stripped away.

MacArthur Park (Laidback Luke Remix) [Instrumental Version]
It's puzzling why the instrumental was put on the standard edition instead of the vocal mix which is on the deluxe edition. It's a good instrumental, but the vocals really bring it home.

I Feel Love (Benga Remix)
After the amazing Afrojack mix, this one is totally unnecessary. There are hardly any vocals and the few teases of the original that are there just don't work.

On the Radio (Jacques Greene Remix)
The remix of this evergreen classic just sucks out all of the fun that the original had. The effects on the vocals make them sound so distant.

Last Dance (Masters At Work Remix) [Short Version]
The classic closing song at any club was already cinematic and over the top in all of the right ways, but this remix lacks the power and urgency that the original had. The orchestral elements that are there from the original feel out of place with the watered down production.

La Dolce Vita
This previously unreleased, unleaked song seems out of place on this collection because every other song has been released before in some fashion. It's a great track and sounds fairly modern courtesy of Giorgio Moroder's forward-thinking productions, but it would be more at home on a collection of Donna's unreleased songs (and there are possibly hundreds of those!).

Our Love (Krystal Klear Remix) [Bonus Track]
This one has been re-imagined as a soulful House track with a hint of electro in the bassline.

MacArthur Park (Laidback Luke Remix)
This should have been on the standard edition in place of the instrumental version. This one maintains the melody of the dramatic original which was in that epic "MacArthur Park Suite", adding some new bells and whistles, and of course some noisy electro buildups. This is still pretty decent.

Bad Girls (Boys Noize Club Mix)
This cut up rework is also unnecessary as it feels so messy and noisy.

Sunset People (Hot Chip Re-Edit)
This longer version of the mix on the standard edition is good for the clubs, but it might be too much for some listening at home unless one is into this sort of thing.

Overall, this remix collection ends up being rather disappointing with more than half of the mixes being underwhelming due to questionable production choices and the handling of the vocals. Cutting out 90% of the vocals and using just a fraction of them is not appropriate for someone like Donna. Her songs are meant to be heard with all the verses, choruses, bridge, and ad libs that made her originals so loved and memorable. The clear standouts of this collection are the Giorgio Moroder & Chris Cox mix of "Love To Love You Baby", the Afrojack mix of "I Feel Love", the Director's Cut mix of "Hot Stuff", the Laidback Luke mix of "MacArthur Park" (with the vocals), the Gigamesh mix of "Bad Girls", and the Holy Ghost! mix of "Working The Midnight Shift". 

Purchase the Deluxe Edition here (iTunes)

Grade: C


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