September 29, 2013

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Katy Perry - Walking On Air

This is the second track from the Prism iTunes countdown ("Dark Horse" was the first one). Katy takes inspiration from the 90s handbag House genre, fusing the classic style with today's sensibilities. The uptempo is two tons of fun with its happy production and carefree vocals. This is begging to be a single from the album. This will be huge on the dancefloors into the next year, and maybe beyond. Despite the comparisons to similar sounding songs like Kylie Minogue's "Get Outta My Way" and Kelly Clarkson's "Catch My Breath" (the chord progressions are nearly identical during the chorus), this manages to stand apart from those.

-Listen to a clip and purchase here (iTunes)

Grade: A
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Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience Volume 2 (Review)

Nearly 6 months after the first volume of The 20/20 Experience was released is the second one. This was recorded in the same sessions as the first. This is meant to be the 'other side' of the first volume showcasing a slightly darker sound. The concept of suite-styled tracks with extended sections, breaks and attached interludes has been employed here as well.

Here is an overview of each song:

Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want) Things start off on an uptempo note with a Prince-esque Hip Hop and Funk toetapper.

True Blood The vampirism-oriented song with obvious Prince and Michael Jackson influences is super catchy and would make for an excellent single and video. The floorshaking bass and drums of the Disco/Tribal hybrid are red hot. Vincent Price's maniacal laughter heard at the end of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" is so appropriately sampled.

Cabaret (feat. Drake) This midtempo Hip Hop track is an ode to strippers and strip clubs. Drake brings the sleaze that such a song would have.

TKO The suggestive second single keeps the momentum going of the previous two tracks.

Take Back The Night The Disco and R&B number failed to gain traction as a lead single though within the context of the album, it fits perfectly. It serves as a closing to the 'first act'.

Murder (feat. Jay Z) The Bollywood-esque jam isn't about the crime, but about a killer woman. This has single potential.

Drink You Away The midtempo Country/Rock/Hip Hop/Pop track is quite the departure soundwise, but it all works. It's the "What Comes Around..." Of this album. This is delightful.

You Got It On The synthpop meets quiet storm midtempo is so smooth.

Amnesia This has a similar vibe as "Mirrors" from part 1. The layered harmonies on this are exquisite.

Only When I Walk Away Justin lets out his inner rockstar with this Rod Stewart-esque song.

Not A Bad Thing The guitar-driven pop track has a delightful carefree vibe.

Pair Of Wings This is a hidden track attached to "Not A Bad Thing." The haunting track with just a guitar accompanying Justin's vocals is amazing.

These next two are from the special Target edition:

Blindness The Jason Mraz-ish groover has a fun summery vibe.

Electric Lady The catchy clubbanger is strong enough to be on the standard edition and be a single. Justin's pitch-shifted rap section recalls Prince's alter ego Camille from the late 80s which employed a similar technique.

Timbaland produced all the songs here just as he did with part 1 and for the most part it sounds pretty fresh. The overall vibe of this second album is far more cohesive than on part 1. The songs on this volume are much stronger. Only a couple of the songs feel like they are a minute or two too long ("True Blood" would have worked better if it were about 1.5 minutes shorter as the coda at the end doesn't add anything to the song). This one ends up having great commercial potential with "True Blood", "Amnesia", "Murder", "Drink You Away", "Only When I Walk Away", and "Not A Bad Thing" being obvious single choices, all with proper radio edits of course.

The album will be released on September 30. Volume 2 will be available on its own in both a standard edition and a special edition sold exclusively through Target with "Blindness" and "Electric Lady" as the bonus tracks. A special combined edition with both volumes 1 and 2 will be available as well. A vinyl edition is planned as well.

Grade: A
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Katy Perry feat Juicy J - Dark Horse (CCMC Remixes)

This is not an official single yet as it is from her iTunes countdown, however, there are some club mixes by Country Club Martini Crew. The slow groover has been turned into a hot floorfiller. The big room Electro House mixes change up the vibe of the original which was more laidback. All of the vocals including Juicy J's rap are incorporated into the main versions. Only the Extended version skips the second verse, though the Full Vocal version and edit have them all. These are really awesome.

Listen to the mix here:

Grade: A

September 27, 2013

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Michael M - Star (Remixes)

Taken from the It's Just Me EP released a few months ago, the remix package for "Star" is here. The fame themed song is fun mixture of Punk and Electro. Michael's vocals have been given a cool robotic effect. The main version produced by Oba Frank Lords is hard and driving. Danny G, Jrny, and QBA provide the additional mixes. Danny G's groovy, euphoric big room mix makes the song perfect for mainstream sets, and maybe Pop radio as Dance music has been everywhere lately. Jrny's mix with twisted filter effects has afterhours written all over it. QBA's techy tribal mix is also suitable for peakhour and afterhours sets. The acapella is also included for those who wish to layer this over other tracks or do their own remix. Also included is the Stable Mate mix of "Pulsar" which is a cinematic 80s sounding track. The original and Danny G mixes are the best of the bunch along with the bonus track "Pulsar."

-Listen to clips and purchase the single here (iTunes)

Grade: A-

September 26, 2013

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Lisa Stansfield - Can't Dance

The soulful singer from the UK is back with her first new album entitled Seven. The song is a return to the lush Disco/R&B sound she was known for at the beginning of her career. It sounds like it is from the late 70s. Lisa delivers a strong vocal, sounding exactly as she did back in the day. The song is so catchy and fun. It is begging for a nice extended mix. Hopefully she will re-connect with some of veterans who remixed her so well in the past.

Listen to the song here (YouTube)

Grade: A

September 24, 2013

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Jade Starling feat Lee Dagger - Insomniak (Remixes)

Jade Starling is best known as the vocalist on the Freestyle club classic "Catch Me (I'm Falling)" in the late 80s. She is back with a brand new club track produced by Lee Dagger of Bimbo Jones. Jade shows everyone that she's still got it in the vocals department. The Electro House production on the main version is suitable for both the radio and the clubs. Additional remixes by Alex Preston, Bisbetic, Chris Cox, Dark Intensity, and Scott Mann transform this for the dancefloor. Alex Preston's mix has some well-timed Electro buildups and cut up beats while Bisbetic follows a similar formula, making use of lots of chainsaw effects. Chris Cox darkens things up with his big room mix. Some of the classic sounds from his days in Thunderpuss can be heard in the programming. Dark Intensity's Electro Trance treatment works nicely as well. Scott Mann's tribal mix packs quite the punch though it's not as melodic as the others. The main mix along with Chris Cox and Dark Intensity's are the best of the bunch. This is a strong release overall.

-Listen to streams of all the mixes here (Soundcloud)
-Watch the lyric video here (YouTube)

Grade: A

September 21, 2013

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Gomi & Lea Lorien - Hold On

Veteran producer Gomi teams up with singer Lea Lorien (of David Morales "How Would U Feel" fame) on this new release. The soulful track recalls early 90s House. Despite the throwback sound, it sounds very current as well. Every aspect of the production is incredible. Lea Lorien delivers another stunning vocal. With the right promotional push, this has the potential to be a big hit in the clubs and on Dance radio.

Listen to the main version here:

Purchase the song here (TraxSource)

Grade: A

September 19, 2013

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Ciara - Overdose

This is the latest single from the R&B songstress' self-titled album. The suggestive Electro-Pop based R&B song is one of the catchiest ones she has released in several years. Produced by Josh Abraham, this one has the potential to crossover to Pop. An addition of a rapper may be necessary for this to work on her home format. But with some of the Dance-oriented songs having done reasonably well in the last few years, it might not be absolutely necessary, but it would help.

Listen to the song here:

Grade: A
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Justin Timberlake - TKO

This is the second single from the upcoming The 20/20 Experience Volume 2. It is the followup to "Take Back The Night" which underperformed unexpectedly. Clocking in at 7 minutes, this sexual song is a fusion of both the old and the new Timbaland sound. It is also classic Justin, but updated just enough. The song's infectious groove beckons one to head immediately to the nearest dancefloor. The groove is perfect for twerking to. This should get things back on track for the album release, which will happen on September 30. Pre-order here.

-Listen to the song here (YouTube)
-Purchase the song here (iTunes)

Grade: A

September 18, 2013

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Katy Perry - Dark Horse (feat Juicy J)

This is the first track released as part of her iTunes countdown to the release of her 3rd album Prism due out next month. The atmospheric Hip Hop track recalls the otherworldly atmosphere of "E.T." from her last album, but this is a little softer. Rapper Juicy J adds some shoutouts and a verse which complement Katy's strong vocals. The ambient nature of the song appears to be inspired by "Moments In Love" by The Art Of Noise, though it is unknown if it officially samples it or a re-creation of that type of production was done instead. It is also unknown if this will be a single in the future, but it has the potential to be a hit if it were released as such.

-Listen to the song here (YouTube)

The next track in the countdown, "Walking On Air" is supposed to be released on September 30. Listen to a 30 second clip of that for now here (YouTube).

Grade: A
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Kristine W - So Close To Me (Part 1)

The first package of remixes of her new single were released yesterday. Oscar G, Subgroover, Todd Terry, and Tony Moran with Joe Carrano provide the remixes. Oscar G's mixes have a funky old school flavor to them. The analog loop running throughout it that is also heard in the Subgroover and Todd Terry mixes, and the Latin percussion elements are a nice touch. Subgroover's mix is a bit more mainstream, but it has that late 90s filter disco sound that was really popular for a time. Todd Terry's smoother, chilled mix is delightful. Tony Moran with Joe Carrano, on their first remix together deliver a big room, Eurohouse mix with a big trancey synth riff. A percapella and synthapella of their mixes are included as well which showcase additional dimensions of their main mix. Overall, every mix is really well done, though the Todd Terry and Tony Moran with Joe Carrano ones end up being the best of the bunch.

Listen to all of the remixes here:

Purchase the digital single here (iTunes), here (Amazon), here (Juno), or here (Beatport) [DJ friendly lossless files available at Juno and Beatport]

Grade: A

September 15, 2013

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Britney Spears - Work Bitch

This is the proper new solo single from the superstar. After the success of "Scream & Shout" comes the attitude-laden club track. On the song she co-wrote, she encourages people to "work bitch" if they want to gain a specific luxury item or change in status. The majority of the song is spoken, however, there are very few sung parts, most notably the bridge. The song's bridge is incredibly strong, however, the song's lyrics are seriously cliché and inane. The monotonous production heavily influenced by Swedish House Mafia only changes after the bridge. The song ends up being mediocre and forgettable, however, this is shaping up to be a big hit.

-Listen to the song here (YouTube)
-Purchase the song here (iTunes)

Grade: D-

September 10, 2013

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The Wanted - Show Me Love (America)

The UK boyband announced the followup single to "We Own The Night" which will be officially released next month. This comes on the heels of their 3rd album Word Of Mouth being pushed back to early November to allow for "We Own The Night" to complete its run and so the new single can gain traction. The new song is a dubstep influenced ballad with a cinematic "Clocks"-esque string hook during the chorus. This is their first single in this style that has been released in the U.S. Given the mid Fall/early Winter timing of the release, this one has the greatest potential to be a hit for them.

-Listen to the song here (YouTube)

Grade: A

September 8, 2013

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Blue - Roulette Summer Edition EP

This is a special remix EP of the UK boyband's Roulette album. The Single Mix of "Break My Heart" is basically a slightly more uptempo take on the original. "Sing For Me", "Break My Heart", "Paradise", and "Ayo" all get remixed by Tracy Young. "Sing For Me" now has a clubbier big room flavor. "Break My Heart" has the Madonna "Celebration" styled elements heightened. "Paradise" also is more big room styled. "Ayo" has a fun Inner City throwback sound to it. The midtempo 3rd single  "Without You" closes the EP. All of the remixes are really well-done. The "Sing For Me", "Break My Heart" and "Ayo" ones are the best of the bunch.

Tracklisting of the EP:
1. Break My Heart (Single Mix)
2. Sing For Me (Tracy Young Mix)
3. Break My Heart (Tracy Young Mix)
4. Paradise (Tracy Young Mix)
5. Ayo (Tracy Young Mix)
6. Without You

Listen to clips and purchase here (iTunes)

Grade: A
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VenSun - Love Is Love

This is the collaboration of French producer/DJ David Vendetta and big voiced singer Sylvia Tosun. The song is about love and equality for everyone. The positive message is one that is especially relevant right now. Sylvia delivers a soulful, uplifting vocal. There are some remixes by Marc Stout, Matteo Marini, and Tracy Young. Marc Stout's mix is in a similar vein as the original but it gets a bit harder and darker. Matteo Marini's mix has a laidback, chilled vibe to it during most parts, however, the synth sections have an anthemic feel to them. Tracy Young's big room mix with the gorgeous piano sections is lovely. The mix is mostly a dub with just a handful of vocals during the breaks.

-Listen to the original version here (YouTube)
-Purchase the original, Marc Stout, and Matteo Marini mixes here (Amazon)

Listen to a preview of the Tracy Young mix:

Grade: A
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Brooklyn Haley - Close To Where You Are (Chris Cox Mix)

This is the latest single from the newcomer. The Dance/Pop number is tailormade for mainstream and dancefloor success. The song has a killer hook coupled with great verses and a stellar pre-chorus hook which recalls Calvin Harris and Florence Welch's "Sweet Nothing". Brooklyn's fresh, youthful vocals are pleasant. She enlists the help of veteran producer Chris Cox for the club remix, turning the song into a floorfilling big room anthem.

Listen here:

Grade: A

September 7, 2013

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Ariana Grande - Baby I (Remixes)

This is the second single off of her critically acclaimed throwback debut album Yours Truly. The R&B midtempo is super catchy with that "oh baby, oh baby..." chorus which instantly recalls Ashanti's orgasmic "Baby." This is much stronger than the previous single which featured Mac Miller. There is a remix by Director's Cut (Frankie Knuckles & Eric Kupper) which is extremely apropos for this type of slow burner.

-Listen to the original here (YouTube)

Listen to the edit of the Director's Cut mix

Grade: A-

September 6, 2013

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Coldplay - Atlas

The British Rock group is back with a new song that was especially composed for the new Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie. The song is a return to the sound of their earlier work. It is dramatic, enchanting, hypnotic, and haunting. The swirling production is absolutely stunning as are the lyrics. The vocals almost get buried under the layers of production, but they are there. This is an exquisite track.

-Listen to the song here (YouTube)
-Purchase the song here (iTunes)

Grade: A
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Stephan Grondin feat Ceevox - Why Can't U Be (Ralphi Rosario Mixes)

This song, originally released last year, is back with new remixes by Ralphi Rosario. Featuring the gripping vocals of soulful vocalist Ceevox, the song is insanely catchy. Ralphi's new remixes are peak hour perfection. The vocal mix is where it's at, though the dub is well-done too with the additional ad-libs. The dub would be excellent for teasing the track before mixing in the vocal mix. This is easily one of the best tracks released this year. 

-Listen to clips and purchase here (Beatport)

Grade: A

September 3, 2013

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Dance Your Ass Off (Salsoul Remixes)

The Ultra Music record label has teamed up with spin studio Flywheel for some special spin classes which would feature songs from this new remix collection comprised of songs from the legendary Disco label Salsoul Records. The significant majority of the songs selected for this compilation are beloved classics. A few were underground hits, and there is one brand new track (the Jessie Andrews one). Overall, most of the new remixes are faithful to the originals, but are updated enough for today. The highlights include the remixes of "Love Sensation", "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "Love Thang", and "By The Way You Dance." The remixes of "Jingo" and "I Got My Mind Made Up" are decent, however, the production on them loses the integrity that the originals had. Other remixes done of those over the years, most notably by Mount Rushmore and Thunderpuss respectively had been much better. The compilation is continuously mixed like a DJ set. The songs are nicely sequenced with every transition being very smooth. This is overall a great compilation.

01. Loleatta Holloway - Love Sensation (White Noize remix)
02. Inner Life - Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (White Noize remix)
03. Jessie Andrews - I Never Knew
04. Aurra - Forever (J Paul Getto remix)
05. The Salsoul Orchestra - Love Break (Stephan Luke remix)
06. First Choice - Dr Love (White Noize remix)
07. Candido - Jingo (Federico Scavo remix)
08. Instant Funk - I Got My Mind Made Up (DJ Dan remix)
09. First Choice - Love Thang (DJ Dan remix)
10. Inner Life - I Like It Like That Way (J Paul Getto remix)
11. Inner Life - Find Somebody (J Paul Getto remix)
12. Charo and The Salsoul Orchestra - Dance A Little Bit Closer (The Cube Guys remix)
13. Raw Silk - Do It To The Music (Federico Scavo remix)
14. Loleatta Holloway - Hit And Run (Joe T Vanelli remix)
15. Bunny Sigler - By The Way You Dance (Julien Jabre remix)

-Listen to clips and purchase here (iTunes)

Listen to the compilation in full here:
Grade: A-
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Celine Dion - Loved Me Back To Life

This is the highly anticipated new single from the Canadian chanteuse. It is her first English language release in nearly six years. She teams up with singer-songwriter Sia (of "Breathe Me", "Titanium", "She Wolf", "Diamonds", and "Blank Page" fame) to deliver a knockout song that is a beautiful fusion of all that Celine and Sia are known for. The midtempo song is classic Celine, but it is also very contemporary. Vocally, Celine is fantastic. There are noticeable nuances to Celine's voice which are characteristic of the work Sia does. The apparent influences from her demo guide vocal are there. This is an incredibly strong single.

-Purchase here (iTunes)

Listen here:
Grade: A
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