December 31, 2010

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Erykah Badu - Honey (Ron Trent remixes)

Although "Honey" was the lead single off of her 2008 album Nu Amerykah Part One (4th World War), the Ron Trent mixes were only released last month. Ron transformed the R&B song into a laidback, festive Disco/House gem. Erykah's warm vocals sound great with a club-oriented production such as this one under them. Ron's production is simply brilliant.

Purchase the remixes here (Amazon) and here (Juno)

Listen to the radio edit of Ron's mix:
Erykah Badu - Honey (Ron Trent's Radio Mix) by [mike-spinline]

Grade: A+

December 30, 2010

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Tony Moran featuring Michelle Weeks - La Musica

This is the second of two new releases from Tony Moran rounding out 2010. "La Musica" is a new version of an instrumental track called "La Muzika" that he first featured on his The Event compilation a couple of years ago. It is an updated version of the track featuring Michelle Weeks and Trey Lorenz on vocals. The vocals are hypnotic and powerful. The main mix is a gorgeous big room stormer, as is the alternate mix with Dave Saronson. There are additional mixes by Edson Pride and Alexander & Mark VDH. Edson Pride's mixes have thicker, stackier riffs. Alexander & Mark VDH's mix is a tad milder. However, all versions pack quite a punch.

Purchase the digital single here (Masterbeat)

Grade: A
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Tony Moran and the Party Starters - Jump MF (Motha Fucka)

This is the first of two new releases from Tony Moran rounding out 2010. "Jump MF (Motha Fucka)" is an energetic tribal track with minimal vocals. The main version is pretty straightforward with semi-filtered vocals. The Alex Cohen mix is even harder and synthier. The vocals are a bit clearer and louder. Overall, both versions are very hot.

Purchase the digital single here (Masterbeat)

Grade: A

December 26, 2010

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Usher - More

Originally "More" was a bonus track on his Raymond v. Raymond album. It has been remixed by RedOne (who also produced it) for the single release. The original version is more in line with Usher's usual uptempos, calling to mind songs like "Yeah!". However, the new RedOne remix is much more club-oriented. It considerably improves upon the original. Usher's recent singles have been much more Electronic, riding the recent wave of such singles flooding the airwaves. In this particular instance, such a production works extremely well.

Listen to the RedOne remix here (YouTube)

Grade: A-

December 23, 2010

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Sam Sparro - Pink Cloud

This is a song reportedly to be a preview of his sophomore record due next year, tentatively titled Return To Paradise. The mostly instrumental song is in the style of early 90's House music. It immediately calls to mind the work of legends including Steve "Silk" Hurley, Shep Pettibone, Frankie Knuckles, David Morales, and Masters At Work. It is definitely an interesting track overall, but Sam's usually soulful vocals are sorely missed. Only a handful of vocals and spoken parts are peppered throughout the track.

Watch the music video here (YouTube)

Grade: A-

December 17, 2010

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Enrique Iglesias feat Ludacris - Tonight

This is the latest single from his album Euphoria (the French edition). Produced by DJ Frank E, this song is Electro/Pop-oriented. This song comes in two versions, one is the clean one, entitled "Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)", and the other is the explicit one, entitled "Tonight (I'm Fuckin' You)". Compared to his earlier material, this one is much racier, but it is meant to be in a fun sort of way. One would think that it is explicit because of rapper Ludacris' verse, but that's not the case. Overall, the song is pretty danceable and fun. There is a remix of this by Dresden & Johnston. It is in a similar style as the original. Think of it as an alternate take on the original.

Purchase the clean and explicit versions (Amazon)

Grade: B+
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Offer Nissim - Love Child

Yes, this is a remake of the classic by Diana Ross & The Supremes. Offer features a trio of vocalists on this including Maya Simantov, Meital De Razon, and Maya Buskila. The concept of doing a remake of this was nice in principle, but in practice is just so-so. Only a small portion of the lyrics are used (just the first verse, pre-chorus, and chorus). The vocals are decent, but all three singers are usually quite great, and consistently deliver, just not here. The production is not that different from his usual. Only the strings from the original are recreated here. The studio version lacks the passion and vocal power that was present during this live performance (YouTube) back in October.

Grade: B

December 15, 2010

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Mariah Carey - Auld Lang Syne (The New Year's Anthem)

Culled from her second Holiday album Merry Christmas II You, her take on "Auld Lang Syne" is the second single. Released just in time for the upcoming New Year's celebrations, Mariah's version of the song is very festive, and oh-so-anthemic. Beginning traditionally, the song builds gradually to a festive, upbeat tempo. Vocally, Mariah is excellent. There are remixes for this by Ralphi Rosario and Johnny Vicious. On his tribal/house-oriented Festive mixes, Ralphi keeps the slow intro from the original. These are really nice. His Alternative mixes are a little harder. Johnny's mixes are more electro/house/circuit-ish (think of Peter Rauhofer's recent work). He also keeps the intro. These have a little more drama to them. Overall, both sets are really good. Ralphi's Festive mixes are the best though.

Purchase the digital single here (Amazon), Masterbeat and iTunes also have it for sale

Grade: A

December 13, 2010

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Scissor Sisters - Invisible Light

This is reportedly the 3rd single off of Night Work. The Pet Shop Boys-sounding track has a multi-layered production calling to mind the UK duo's work during the 80's. The production while having an old school sound also sounds modern with the electro/pop music being made now. With its catchy lyrics, the vocals are also top-notch. Acclaimed actor Ian McKellen makes a guest appearance on the track doing the spoken part (a la Neil Tennant on "West End Girls"). The original version is nearly 6 minutes long, almost ready for club consumption. There are remixes of this by Stuart Price, Boys Noize, Siriusmo, and Sammy Jo & Nita. Stuart's mix is in the same vein as the original. The vocals are a bit clearer, however only some of them are used. It's more like a vocal dub. Aesthetically, it sounds like something Shep Pettibone would have done during the 80's when remixes were based on the original version. The Boys Noize mix is mostly instrumental as well. The Siriusmo mix has that 80's Funk style to it. The Sammy Jo & Nita mix is a bit more laidback, losing much of the 80's sounds. The original is the best of the bunch.

Watch the trippy music video here (YouTube)

Grade: A (for the original)/B (for the remixes)

December 9, 2010

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Junior Vasquez feat. John Michael - Xtatic

This is a brand new track from the legendary DJ/remixer/producer. Almost an instrumental with a few hypnotic vocals by John Michael every so often, this track is perfect for a wide variety of sets. The Audio Assembly mix is dark and minimal, taking on an almost industrial feel at times. This is perfect for afterhours. Nick Harvey's mix is perfect for peak hour play with the tribal drums and blinding synths. Also included are acapellas of the main vocal and the static effect, and bonus beats of Nick's mix. The beats are exciting as well. Overall, this is a fun track.

Purchase the digital single here (AudioJelly)

Grade: A

December 4, 2010

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Shayne Ward - Gotta Be Somebody

A former winner of the UK's X-Factor, Shayne Ward is back with a cover of Nickelback's "Gotta Be Somebody". He takes the midtempo Rock song up a few notches, turning into a Dance/Pop song. The electro/pop production, however, is ill-fitting. It just doesn't work. Shayne's stellar vocals are the saving grace. Remixes of this by Almighty and Moto Blanco save this one from being a total disaster. Almighty's Eurodance/Funky House mix is perfect. It is a little on the cheesey side, but the uplifting production works well. Moto Blanco's mix is a bit more sophisticated with its disco throwback sound. Both are exquisite.

Watch the hot music video here (YouTube)

Grade: C+ (for the original)/A (for the remixes)
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T.I. feat Christina Aguilera - Castle Walls

There has been considerable buzz surrounding this collaboration. The wait is finally over. T.I. delivers his usual fierce rhymes over Alex Da Kid's slick production. Christina only sings the hook/chorus and the bridge. In her small part, her vocals are effective. She shows tremendous restraint, delivering a very haunting vocal. She will leave you begging for much more. One can only hope an alternate version with more of her vocals was recorded.

Listen to the song here (YouTube)

Grade: A-
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