May 28, 2008

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Donna Summer - Crayons (Album)

This is her first proper studio album in almost 20 years (just about). The album is a mix of accessible Dance, Pop, R&B, Rock and even a little bit of Country. Donna's voice still packs the same amount of punch as it did during the 70's and 80's. She impresses on all the songs.

It opens with the sing along anthem "Stamp Your Feet". It's impossible to get through this one without dancing even a little. "Mr. Music" is a lovely ode to music. This one has the makings of a club hit. The title song isn't about children using crayons with their coloring books. It's a Reggae/Dancehall club banger which features additional vocals by Ziggy Marley. This is a fun track. On "The Queen Is Back", she isn't singing about herself returning. It's pretty general. "Fame (The Game)" is an aggressive track with quickly-sung vocals in the verses. "Sand On My Feet" is the Country-ish song. It's a simple guitar-driven song. "Drivin' Down Brazil" is guitar-drive as well, but this one is a tad more uptempo. It's a slightly poppier "La Isla Bonita." The previously released single "I'm A Fire" follows. It is a nice laid-back, sophisticated vocal track. "Slide Over Backwards" is very Country-ish as well. Donna delivers her vocals in such a way that she sounds like Rod Stewart and Tina Turner. It's not as bizarre as it sounds. "Science Of Love" is a Dance-oriented R&B and Rock track. This one works surprisingly well. This is a stand-out. "Be Myself Again" is a haunting, wrenching ballad. This best showcases Donna's vocals. With sparse production and a hypnotic piano, this one could translate well into a club remix. "Bring Down The Reign" is a mid-tempo Dance track with a chanting and tribal beats. This is very haunting as well.

The bonus track on the Circuit City and Japanese editions is called "It's Only Love." It's in a similar vein as "I'm A Fire." This is a solid Dance track that should have been on all editions of the album. It's worth seeking out these editions for this song. The CC edition is available on the website.

Grade: A-
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Yoko Ono - Give Peace A Chance 2008

Having been a force in music, art and culture for more than 4 decades, the former Mrs. John Lennon hasn't shown any signs of fading away. She is back with a familiar message of peace. The standard "Give Peace A Chance" has been brought back a number of times over the years. It is one of the many songs on last year's Open Your Box remix collection to become a single. With a main mix by DJ Dan, additional mixes by Dave Aude, Johnny Vicious and Tommie Sunshine have just been promoted. DJ Dan's version contains most of the vocals and is a simple Dance/Electro mix. The focal point is the vocals, as expected. The production is very fitting. And the message couldn't be clearer.

Grade: A

May 25, 2008

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Rihanna - Take A Bow (Remixes)

This song was screaming for club mixes given the lyrical content. There are remixes by Tony Moran & Warren Rigg, Seamus Haji, Subkulcha and Groove Junkies.

Tony and Warren previously remixed her wrenching ballad "Unfaithful" from her last album and turned it into a floorfiller. They have repeated history with another amazing mix. Given the difficult vocal stretch, they do well with what they are given. The mix does drag on just a little bit in some places, but that's only a small problem. The radio edit of their mix is perfect though. All the essential elements and portions are kept. They also completed a special dub version which remains unreleased at this time.

Seamus Haji's mix is a bit more accessible. It's his usual best. The vocal stretch on this mix sounds just right. This one will be more appropriate for radio and mixshows.

Subkulcha and Groove Junkies' mixes are in a similar vein, however, they aren't as strong as the other mixes, but they aren't bad.

The Moran and Rigg mixes are the highlights of the package. Overall, the whole package is pretty good.

The mixes are available for purchase through iTunes and

Grade: A

May 20, 2008

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Ricki-Lee - U Wanna Little Of This

She rose to prominence after appearing on Australian Idol in 2004. She made it into the top 7. After a brief stint in the girl group Young Divas, she chose to focus on her solo career. Her recent chart-topper "Can't Touch It" has been picked up by Ministry Of Sound in the UK and will be released as "U Wanna Little Of This" on the Hed Kandi imprint. The new main version is by Ali Payami. It's a scorching Disco/House mix with a floorshaking bassline. It improves upon the already great original. Additional mixes by Wawa, DJ Puddy and Milk Inc. will be released soon. A
digital and physical release is planned in early June.

Grade: A

May 19, 2008

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Madonna - 4 Minutes (Remixes)-Review

The much-awaited remixes of "4 Minutes" have finally been released through the various digital outlets. There's definitely something from this package for everyone.

Junkie XL provides two versions which are his usual best. Liquid synths and rock guitars soar over the thumping beats. However, very few of the vocals are used. These mixes would be better with those added vocals. The dub feels like something Switch would do.

Tracy Young's mix is a lot housier than some of her recent offerings. Those expecting a tear-your-shirt-off anthem will love the Peter Saves New York mix. It's a dark, twisted epic that calls to mind some of his early 2000's material. It also bears a striking resemblance to Offer Nissim and Yinon Yahel's recent work. The Peter Saves Paris mix is a bit more electro oriented. The Peter Saves London mix is sort of the best of both mixes. The New York one is the best though. There is also the newly promoted Madonna's Pjanoo Rauhofer Mix which is a mashup with Eric Prydz's "Pjanoo". The song has some really atmospheric piano loops and goes well with the Madonna vocals. Not enough vocals used from the original but that's a minor detail.

Bob Sinclar's mix is in the disco-house direction. It has a lovely retro feel.

And last but not least, there's the Rebirth mix. This one is an electro-house mix. Lots of layers of synths and other filtered elements.

Overall, the remix package for "4 Minutes" was totally worth the wait and is a great start to this amazing Hard Candy era.

May 16, 2008

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Miquel Brown - So Many Men, So Little Time 2008

This song has been one of a handful of 80's Hi-NRG classics. Having come out almost 25 years ago, this one is still a favorite. It has been remixed and covered a few times over the years. This time, UK-based Almighty provides the remixes. This is one of several Hi-NRG classics that have been updated for the new NRG Anthems Vol. 1 compilation. There are 3 different main versions. The 12" Classic one is basically the original club mix freshened up and modernized. The original flavor of the mix is still there. The 12" Definitive and Definitive mixes differ only in their structure. Both are funkier, modern reconstructions that preserve some of the original flavor too. All three main mixes are quite good overall.

Grade: A-
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