May 31, 2009

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DJ DeMarko! featuring Heather Leigh West - Drop A House

This is the much-awaited revisit to Urban Discharge's early 90's club smash "Drop A House." The Tamperer's 1998 single "Feel It" combined the verses and refrain from "Drop A House" and instrumental parts from The Jackson 5's "Can You Feel It". However, singer Heather Leigh West never got the proper credit for her vocals. Now she is here to show the world that it was truly her on that song.

The vocals do sound a bit different, but they sound much richer and more soulful. There are plenty of different remixes of this. Nick Harvey's are really hard and driving. The bassline is so deep. The vocal effects are really good. Wayne G & Andy Alder's mixes are a bit more big room-ish. Jaime Garcia's are a bit Latin-tinged. Razor N' Guido's call to mind the original Tamperer version from 1998. It's a nice blend of tribal/electro. Quentin Harris' mix is kinda runway-ish. The original DeMarko! mix is very tribal and big room-ish. All the mixes are top notch. The standouts are Nick Harvey's, RNG's and the DeMarko! original.

The digital single is available for purchase at most digital music stores.

Grade: A+
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Kristinia DeBarge - Goodbye

She is the daughter of James DeBarge of the legendary 80's group DeBarge. This is her first single. Sampling a bit from Steam's "Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye", the song is quite catchy and addictive. It does sound like a milder version of Britney's "Womanizer". That song has spawned a number of similar songs, especially with the production. Kristinia's voice is decent. She seems interesting enough.

There are remixes of this song by Mike Rizzo, Hot 22, and DJ Paulo. Mike Rizzo's are in a similar direction as the original. He keeps the swing beat. It's really good. Hott 22 and DJ Paulo's mixes lose the swing beat. Hott 22's are really nice, classy House mixes. Very pretty. DJ Paulo's are not as dark as one may expect given his previous work. These are a nice blend of tribal/electro sounds. A strong package overall.

Masterbeat is selling the remix package.

Grade: A-

May 29, 2009

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Various Artists - Just Dance

Record labels Island Def Jam and Ultra have collaborated to bring the music buying public this mixed CD. It features some of both labels' recent hit singles in remixed form. It must be mentioned that his compilation is continuously mixed. Some of the remixes featured were previously unreleased in any form, and some still have not been in a full, unmixed state. The choice of songs is good. Some of the songs are new and fairly recent. A few are bit older (like last year). The mixing is decent. It is a bit jerky in some parts with the first vocals of a song just suddenly starting when a track does on the CD. Otherwise, it's a good package.

01. Pitbull - I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) (More English Extended)
02. Rihanna - Disturbia (Jody den Broeder Remix)
03. Ne-Yo - Mad (Ultimix)
04. The Killers - Human (Armin van Buuren Club Remix)
05. Duffy - Mercy (Hott 22 Vocal Remix )
06. Mariah Carey - Touch My Body (Seamus Haji & Paul Emanuel Club Remix)
07. Kim Sozzi - Feel Your Love (Extended Mix)
08. Anastacia - Absolutely Positively (Moto Blanco Remix)
09. Sharam feat. Kid Cudi - She Came Along (Ecstacy of Club Remix)
10. Kraak and Smaak - Squeeze Me (Fedde Le Grand Remix)
11. Utada - Come Back To Me (Tony Moran & Warren Rigg Club Mix)
12. Lionel Richie - Just Go (Mike Rizzo Funk Generation Club)
13. Guru Josh Project - Infinity (Klaas Vocal Mix)
14. Annet Artani - Alive (Jason Nevins Electrotek Club)
15. Alina - When You Leave (Numa Numa) (Basshunter Extended)
16. Basshunter - All I Ever Wanted (DJ Alex Extended Mix)

This CD is available at Target, Best Buy, and Amazon. It is available digitally at iTunes, Amazon's MP3 store, Rhapsody, and Masterbeat.

Grade: B
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The Pussycat Dolls - Hush Hush

This is the latest single off of Doll Domination. However, a new main version has been done to promote this. It is much more uptempo and even interpolates a little bit of the Gloria Gaynor disco classic "I Will Survive." It isn't the first time the Dolls have incorporated an older song into their songs. It works well. The original version was pleasant, however, the new version makes it much more radio friendly and just a whole lot better. There are club mixes of this by Dave Aude and Ralphi Rosario with Craig J.

Watch the video here (YouTube)

Grade: A-

May 28, 2009

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Jay Sean - Down

The British artist has been generally unknown to the majority of the U.S., however, that may change with the release of "Down." This is the first time a single of his is being pushed in this fashion. The uptempo R&B/Pop track has all the makings of a Summer smash. Great vocals, nice lyrics, a great hook and the club-ready production. This one does call to mind some of Akon's recent work but it manages to stand on its own.

Listen here (YouTube)

Grade: A

May 25, 2009

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Pitbull - Hotel Room Service

This is the followup to the still monstrous "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" which has yet to peak. Following his formula of sampling heavily from a club classic of the past, he samples the main instrumental hook from the Mark Kinchen mix of "Push The Feeling On" by Nightcrawlers. The combination of Pitbull's rhymes and the Nightcrawlers sample may sound really odd on paper, but it really works. It could be one of the big Summer songs this year.

Listen to the Pitbull song here (YouTube)
Listen to the Mark Kinchen mix of "Push The Feeling On" here (YouTube)

Grade: A-
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Kris Allen - No Boundaries

This season of American Idol yielded quite a surprise when Kris Allen won. Many had expected early frontrunner Adam Lambert to take the title. It's too soon to tell which will be the more successful of the two.

Both recorded "No Boundaries", a song written by Kara DioGuardi, Cathy Dennis and Mitch Allan. Both performed the song during the finale last week. Many felt that Adam's more emotive version was better, however, others felt that the more subdued one Kris delivered was more fitting. There are significant differences between both contestants' versions, however, the more subdued one works much better. It's more effective. While it may not be THE single that launches his career, this could be a good step in the right direction.

Buy it here (iTunes)

Grade: A-

May 21, 2009

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Cascada - Evacuate The Dancefloor

This is the lead single off of their still untitled third album. This song was premiered last week on UK radio. This song marks a departure in sound for the trio. Gone is the hard trance, jump-style production that was a hallmark of their last two albums. "Evacuate The Dancefloor" is a lot more Pop/R&B/Electro-ish. It immediately calls to mind some of what Lady GaGa has been doing lately. This change in direction is a good thing. It helps show that Cascada is capable of doing other styles. Vocalist Natalie sounds perfectly at home on this production. The addition of a rapper does harken back to those 'he raps, she sings' songs of the 90's, but it works on this song.

Watch the video here (YouTube)

Grade: A

May 20, 2009

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Jordin Sparks - Battlefield

This is the lead single off of her forthcoming sophomore album. After a string of hits on radio, she is back with another song that will do the same. Written and produced by Ryan Tedder ("Bleeding Love", "Halo", "Already Gone"), this one may not grip the listener as quickly as some of her other singles, but this one is a grower. The lyrics may be a tad cliche in some parts, but they work. This song does call to mind some of Tedder's other songs, but this one is much Rock-ier. Jordin's vocal performance is top notch as can be expected. A decent start to her new album era.

Buy the song here (iTunes)

Grade: A-

May 15, 2009

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Rob Thomas - Her Diamonds

This is the lead single off of his forthcoming second solo album entitled Cradlesongs. His 2005 solo effort Something To Be went on to be quite successful. "Her Diamonds" may not be as immediately catchy as some of the singles from the previous album, but it is a real grower. The vocals are really great and the lyrics are really beautiful. The album will be released on June 30.

Grade: A

May 12, 2009

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Offer Nissim featuring Maya - Hook Up

This is their latest single. Offer has been playing this one for a few months now. "Hook Up" is somewhat of a departure from their usual songs about love and loss. This one is a bit more sexual. Maya sort of speaks/raps the lyrics instead of singing them. It may sound a bit bizarre, but it works. The original is pretty tribal and slightly electro (think of taking the fun sleazy vibe of Starkillers or Hector Fonseca's productions and combining them with Offer's usual big room offerings). The gorgeous piano breaks and key stabs make up for the lack of sung vocals. Yinon Yahel's remix sounds more like what Offer would usualy do with his tracks. There are piano breaks in his mix as well. Those not liking the original may prefer this version. Ana Paula's mix has a nice strings break. The mix has a carnival-like atmosphere. Very good too. The Dimitri Vegas and Ben Preston mixes are both in a similar vein. They are much more electro-oriented.

A great package overall.

Buy the mixes here (Star 69 Records)

Grade: A-
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SaFire - Exotique

She had a handful of hits in the late 80's and early 90's during the Freestyle era with "Don't Break My Heart", "Let Me Be The One", and "Boy I've Been Told." She did experiment with other styles of music during the 90's. In 2001, she released an album which featured some new mixes of her earlier hits plus some new songs.

"Exotique" was announced during the late part of 2008. Now it's here. It was totally worth the wait. She sings about the person she loves and how "exotique" he is. SaFire's vocals are in full form and are a delight to hear.

There are many remixes of this that make this one suitable for a variety of dancefloors. The original is light Dance/Pop oriented with some light Middle Eastern elements. It's very pretty. Mike Rizzo's mixes are a little meatier and are more radio mixshow oriented. The atmospheric elements coupled with the electro production are great. The Johnny Vicious mix is a bit darker and harder, but still has tons of melody. The vocals sound great with this sort of production. Jamie J. Sanchez's continue in that direction too. Mark Alston's has the big room feel that the previous two mixes have, but with a milder beat. DJ Renegade & Mark Alston's Dub has lots of fun vocal manipulations and loops over a hypnotic production. The Jim Heinz mix is circuit-oriented as well and is really fast and energetic.

Overall, the whole package is really solid. All mixes are great. Hopefully this is the first of many new releases from SaFire.

-Check SaFire out on MySpace
-Masterbeat has all the mixes available for purchase. Other stores should have it when actual release happens on May 19.

Grade: A+

May 11, 2009

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Midnight Express featuring Sabrina Johnston - Freedom

Originally released in 1998, this song is still highly underrated. It is one of many Gospel/House tracks Sabrina Johnston has appeared on. It's fitting that this one is seeing an update as some of her others including "What Hope Have I" and "Peace (In The Valley)" recently received new mixes.

In addition to the classic original versions from the '98 release, there are some new mixes by Midnight Express and Jerome Farley. Midnight Express' new mixes are both House-oriented and a bit more uptempo and festive than the earlier ones. Jerome Farley's are much harder and more anthemic. His are more circuit-oriented. The original Basement Boys mix is really soulful and light. It sounds fresh even now.

Tracklisting of the single:

01. Freedom (Midnight Express Classic Gold Mix)
02. Freedom (Midnight Express Dark Room Mix)
03. Freedom (Jerome Farley Floor One Factory Remix)
04. Freedom (Jerome Farley Floor One Factory Dub)
05. Freedom (Midnight Express Original Club Mix)
06. Freedom (Midnight Express Original Radio Version)
07. Freedom (Classic 12" Basement Boys mix)
08. Freedom (Midnight Express Dream Mix)
09. The Dark Room (Original Mix)

Buy and listen to clips here (Juno)

Great package overall.

Grade: A

May 6, 2009

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Paula Abdul - (I'm Just) Here For The Music

After the club success of "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" last year, Paula is back with another single. Given the significant gap between the last time she released an album (back in the mid '90s) and her last single, any new material is welcome. A clip of "Boombox" which was a cover of a Kylie Minogue song was previewed earlier this year. "(I'm Just) Here For The Music" also has a connection to Kylie as this was reportedly a song that was intended for the Body Language era. This one does immediately call to mind her 80's and 90's uptempos. Paula's vocals are decent. There's plenty of vocoding effects just as on "Dance..." While this song is nothing groundbreaking, it's fun. With some remixes, this could be a club hit.

Listen and buy it on Paula's website here

Grade: A-
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Daughtry - No Surprise

This is the lead single off of the Rock/Pop group's highly anticipated sophomore album. "No Surprise" was written with fellow rocker Chad Kroeger. It may seem like an unlikely combination, but it works pretty well. Those expecting something a little grittier will be pleasantly surprised to know that that is not the case here. Chris Daughtry's vocals are much smoother and clearer sounding on this one. Great song overall.

Listen to it on their website here

Buy it at iTunes here

Daughtry will be performing this song for the first time tonight during the results show of American Idol on FOX. Check local listings for timings and channels.

Grade: A

May 4, 2009

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Daisy - Everytime

Hailing from Sweden, Daisy is the latest artist to make her debut in the U.S. "Everytime" is a simple Electro/Dance/Pop vocal track. Her vocals are really pleasant and have this 'cute' factor. There's something 'addictive' about the song. The original is quite good. Just right for radio and the clubs. The Buzz Junkies remix continues in a similar direction but makes it more club-oriented. This one should hit big this Summer.

The digital release of this will happen on iTunes on May 5. The physical release will happen on May 12.

Listen to clips of the original and remix here (MySpace)

Grade: A
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