February 27, 2009

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A.R. Rahman & The Pussycat Dolls - Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)

The movie Slumdog Millionaire has been receiving all sorts of awards and accolades during the last few months. Its music has been particularly good. It has received significant attention in the U.S. The haunting "Jai Ho" with vocals by A.R. Rahman recently took home the Best Original Song Oscar. Riding on the coattails of that high honor, a new English version has been recorded with The Pussycat Dolls' lead singer Nicole Scherzinger. Entitled "Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)", the core elements from the original are there. The new English lyrics are decent, unfortunately, they don't fit particularly well with the Indian production. It feels a bit forced at times. Some wondered about why the original Hindi version couldn't be promoted instead since that is the one that people are familiar with. For now, this version and the original are being combined on the Billboard chart as this none is being considered as a remix. This is worth a listen or two, but the original is really where it's at.

Buy it here (iTunes)

Grade: B
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Karen Young - Rendezvous With Me

She was known for her fiery, energetic vocal performances during the Disco era. She is best remembered for "Hot Shot" which originally came out in 1978. "Hot Shot" was re-released with new mixes in 2007, nearly 10 years after another update.

"Rendezvous With Me" was originally meant to be a followup to "Hot Shot", but it never saw a release and remained unreleased up until now. A fresh new production has been constructed and that is the MaxRoxx mix. It's Funky/Disco House at its best. The pianos and horns really work well. Zathan Radix's mixes are a bit harder. His have a really fun strings loop which does call to mind Moto Blanco's work. Paul Goodyear's mixes are even harder and darker. These are more circuit oriented. The core sounds resemble the original.

All versions utilize the vocals extremely well. Karen's vocal performance is really great. The vocals sound like they were recorded very recently. And the remix package is great as well. A little something for everyone.

Buy all of the remixes of "Rendezvous With Me" here (Perfect Beat's digital download store)

Grade: A

February 23, 2009

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Soulsearcher - Can't Get Enough

It's hard to believe that this was released over 10 years ago! Soulsearcher was made up of producer Marc Pomeroy and singers Donna Allen and Thea Austin. Marc has been a part of other projects such as Cleptomaniacs ("All I Do") and Jazz-N-Groove. In addition to doing backing vocals for other artists, Donna Allen has released a few tracks of her own. Thea Austin is known for her vocals on SNAP!'s "Rhythm Is A Dancer" and "Colour Of Love" as well as a host of other songs. As the UK-based Defected Records is celebrating its 10th anniversary, some remixes have been released for this club classic. "Can't Get Enough" was huge on both sides of the Atlantic. The Henrik B and Hy2rogen & Nikola are in a similar vein. Both sound completely different from the original song. They are in an Electro/House vein (think Deadmau5, Kaskade, Adam K & Soha). They are just okay. Those liking that sound will like those. The Layabouts mix is a bit Housier. It calls to mind what The Wideboys do on their mixes. Guy Robin's mix is the closest to the original. It's basically a cutup of the original with some Electro elements. It's effective. Also included in the package are the classic original mix and the Jazz-N-Groove mixes. Other than the original, the Guy Robin mix is the only one that contains the Gary's Gang sample.

Overall, this update is decent. Not necessary, but it's good for introducing this song to a whole new generation of clubbers and DJs who may not have experienced this song the first time around.

Buy and listen to the mixes here (Traxsource)

Grade: B

February 21, 2009

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Ari Gold - Human

Dance/R&B/Pop singer Ari Gold's latest single is a partial cover of The Human League's song of the same name. The main version is a nice R&B/Pop track. Ari's voice is really great on this one. In usual fashion, there are plenty of remixes and alternate versions of this. Gomi's R&B Mix is very similar to the original. Skinner's Black President Mix is in a similar vein as well, however it is much more uptempo. The Dr. Brooks, Gomi, Lost Daze, and Mendy mixes are all funky house-oriented. All are quite good. There is an additional R&B-oriented mix by Steve Skinner which contains samples from "The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby and the Range. It's the same set of samples that were used in 2Pac's "Changes." The samples fit in perfectly. It's the first track on Ari's MySpace Music Player right now ("The Human Way It Is").

Watch the eye-catching video here (YouTube)

Buy the CD maxi single here (Perfect Beat). Amazon.com and Best Buy will be selling it online on March 3 and February 24, respectively.

Grade: A

February 15, 2009

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Anjulie - Boom

This is the latest single from Anjulie. "Boom" is a blend of R&B/Pop/Electro. It immediately calls to mind "Mercy" by Duffy, however, this is not just a copy of that. "Boom" has this indescribable retro vibe that makes it so palatable. Anjulie's warm vocals make "Boom" very memorable.

There are a few remixes of this song by Bimbo Jones, Mike Rizzo, Brazilian Girls, and Greg Kurstin. Greg's mix is a standout. It's not overly uptempo, but it's really funky and just fun. The Bimbo Jones mix is more club-oriented. It's well-done too.

Check Anjulie out on MySpace.

Grade: A-
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Kid Cudi - Day 'N' Nite

Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, rapper Kid Cudi is poised to make his breakthrough very soon. Recently signed to Kanye West's label, his debut album will be released in the Spring. "Day 'N' Nite" has already been huge in Europe and on Dance radio stations due to the new Crookers remix. The original is a bit more Urban/R&B sounding. The Crookers remix adds some old school, retro elements as well as some modern electro elements. Kid Cudi's lyrics and rhymes are really good and have that extra something that some other established artists lack. Kid Cudi is one to watch during the next few months.

Listen to the original here (YouTube)
Listen to the Crookers remix here (YouTube)

Grade: A

February 13, 2009

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Velvet - Chemistry

This is the Swedish Dance/Pop artist's latest single. It was released in late 2008 in the U.S. A release in the UK is planned during the next few months. The original is a nice and straightforward Dance track, but the real gem is the new Pete Hammond remix. Pete worked extensively with the hitmaking UK production team Stock Aitken Waterman. It may seem like a strange combination, but it works perfectly.

Listen to a clip of the Pete Hammond Retro Mix here (YouTube)

Grade: A

February 12, 2009

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RuPaul - Cover Girl

This is RuPaul's latest single. It is being used to promote her reality show airing on the LOGO channel RuPaul's Drag Race. It is sort of a throwback to some of her 90's material, but it is not dated. It has just the right amount of diva attitude. It's enjoyable. There are over half a dozen different remixes that make this ready for the clubs. Macutchi's mix is funky House-ish. Revolucian's is 90's runway-ish just like the title of the mix. It's fun. Twisted Dee and Joe Gautheraux's are a bit harder and darker. Drew G's is much darker and more minimal, making it suitable for afterhours.

Buy and listen to the mixes here (Amazon's MP3 store)
Buy the CD maxi with a similar tracklisting as the digital single here (RuPaul's official store)

Grade: B+
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Kristine W - Love Is The Look

Shortly after "Never" topped the charts, Kristine W has announced her new single "Love Is The Look." In a unique partnership with Johnson & Johnson, "Love Is The Look" is being used in a campaign for their K-Y Intrigue. As part of that deal, the Ralphi Rosario mixes of the song were made available for free and legal download through Masterbeat. However, this song is going to be released as a proper single in the coming weeks. Ralphi Rosario's mixes are his usual big room fabulousness. They are hard, driving and melodic. The dub is much harder and darker. Kristine's vocals are great on this one. So far, there is an additional remix of this by Love To Infinity. It's a bit ligher. Pretty good too.

Grade: A
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Cascada - Perfect Day

This is the third U.S. single off of their album of the same name which was released last year. For the most part, the album version is in their indelible energetic Trance/Jump Up style. It's pretty good. The beginning part with the light Pop/Rock sound was good. It would have been nice if the whole track had been like that. Perhaps that Rock Mix on the single will be something like that. But the real gem is the remix by Digital Dog. It takes some of the edge off and really highlights Natalie's great vocals.

The physical release of the CD maxi single will happen on March 3.

Grade: A-
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