Madonna – Jump (2006)

I have to admit, I was rather disappointed with the remixes of the Confessions on a Dance Floor era. There were a few good ones, but mostly, the remixes were disappointing. A great album deserves great remixes, and the great remixes for COAD were few and far between.

R-862630-1187811708In my opinion, the best mixes were those of “Jump.” The Extended Album Version is just that, and is a nice elaboration of the original track. The Jacques Lu Cont Mix is dark, different, and very atmospheric, and the Axwell and Misshapes mixes are energetic, hard dance anthems. The “History” track included on the maxi single was, unfortunately, the remixed version, different from the original – rather brilliant – leaked clip. I’m still hoping that the original will be released someday!

Queen & Vanguard – Flash (2003)

Being a fan of both Queen and dance music, I picked up the Queen & Vanguard “Flash” single a few years back, and was quite surprised. No Queen remix is ever going to be a great as the original track. This is just fact. But as remixes go, the “Flash” remixes don’t stink. They’re basically remixes of “Flash” only in name – sometimes the bassline and “Flash! Ah-ah!” bits are used, but the remixers don’t seem to be beholden to the track.

And that’s OK. You can’t improve upon the original. But you can have some fun with it! And that’s why the “Queen & Vanguard” mixes don’t suck. :)

r137526002bx4The single I picked up was one of the UK CDMs. The Flash Mix is like a megamix of all the tracks on the promo, and is probably my favorite of the lot. The Electro and Extended mixes are OK too, but the Tomcraft and the Smith & Selway mixes are the ones to listen out for.

BWO – Chariots of Fire (The Pop Mixes) (2006)

cofpopBWO had a corker of a track with 2006’s “Chariots of Fire” – these remixes are just the icing on the cake! The Credheadz edit’s pulsing bass and neat reworked vocals turn the song into something new, the Soundfactory mix brings a darker edge to the track, and the Brasco mix gives it ‘tude. The other two mixes are nice too, but don’t come close to the above three!

Sandra – (Life May Be) A Big Insanity (1990)

Now that I’m back in school, my posting style may change a bit. Full album posts will always be long, detailed, and rambly – that won’t change! – but will not be posted as often as usual. I’m going to start posting more short reviews of singles and such, though, and I plan on posting about them at least a few times a week, if not everyday (it depends on my coursework load!). So let’s get started on the singles! :)

Sandra+Life+May+Be+A+Big+Insanity+34546“(Life May Be) A Big Insanity” sounds grammatically incorrect but is a lot of fun to listen to. Released by Sandra as a single in 1990, this funky pop track was accompanied by several different mixes, the best of them being the Dance Mix. The Dub Mix is neat too – cool percussion! (Sadly, the Club Mix isn’t anything special.)

John Inman – Are You Being Served, Sir? (Single) (1975)

Apropos of nothing, I feel like writing a short entry about a nifty little song that, I’m guessing, not many people have heard.

Are You Being Served? is a classic and well-loved British TV comedy. Beginning with the pilot broadcast in 1972 and ending with its tenth series in 1985, the cast of the department store-set comedy brought good-natured laughs into British homes, and when PBS stations began running the series, into American homes too. One member of that cast, the great John Inman, actually released a single in 1975 that hit 39 on the UK singles charts: “Are You Being Served, Sir?”

John5
John Inman’s sad passing this past March inspired me to dig up the CD I had burned the song on. I think “Are You Being Served, Sir?” is a cute little tune and a neat “oddball” addition to anyone’s iPod. It’s pretty catchy, too!

Ofra Haza – Show Me (1997)

ofrashowme2

BACKGROUND: Ofra Haza was born November 19, 1957 in Israel and raised in a traditional Yemenite home. Ofra joined a theatre group at 12 and recorded several albums with them, eventually leaving to start a solo career managed by the founder of the group, Bezalel Aloni.

Her first three solo albums yielded many well-received singles, including the #1 hit “Shir “, but her career reached a new level when she placed second in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1983 with “Chai.” She became a hugely popular singer in the Middle East, comparable to Madonna’s popularity in America.

Ofra received international recognition and praise in 1988 with “Im Nin’ Alu” (a reworked version of a track from an earlier album, Yemenite Songs). Her subsequent albums garnered critical acclaim and even a Grammy nomination (for 1992’s Kirya). Her music was strongly influenced by her Yemenite roots and Israeli culture but also adeptly incorporated elements from other cultures, resulting in a compelling fusion of world music.

1997 saw the release of Ofra’s final album (Ofra Haza). Sadly, Ofra passed away on February 23, 2000, reportedly due to organ failure or pneumonia as a result of complications from AIDS. Israel mourned the death of one of its greatest and most significant icons. Then-Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak noted, “Ofra emerged from the Hatikvah slums to reach the peak of Israeli culture. She has left a mark on us all.”

ofrashowme1
“Show Me” (1997)

MY THOUGHTS: I adore Ofra Haza. Her voice is gorgeous and her music, like I said above, is a wonderful blend of Israeli rhythms and melodies and world music elements. “Show Me” was the first Ofra Haza song I ever heard and to this day, I can still remember thinking “This is something special” as I listened to it. Her 1997 album, from which “Show Me” is taken, remains my favorite, and I think that “Show Me” is a great representative of that album’s sound. If you like what you hear here, you might want to pick up her 1997 album, but to get a truer sense of her career you should pick up one of her earlier works like Adama or Desert Wind. Ofra Haza is an absolutely amazing album, but it is a bit more dance-influenced than her previous works.

“Show Me” was the only single released from the album and was backed by two remixes. The drum’n’bass-ish X-Citement mix is all right, but never really goes anywhere. It also speeds up the vocals to the point that they sound, well, sped up – kinda choppy in some places.

The Trouser Enthusiasts remix, on the other hand, is nothing short of epic. I love Trouser Enthusiasts remixes, probably to an unhealthy extent. Case in point: I got this single – with only 3 tracks – off of GEMM. Nothing strange there, except it was $30.00. For three songs! But such is my love for Ofra and the Trouser Enthusiasts that I did, in fact, get the single.

The TE mix doesn’t use all the vocals, which happens sometimes in their mixes. Rather, phrases and syllables are taken and played around with. The synth strings (I’m guessing they’re synths?) and deep bass sweep across the track amidst swirling synth effects and trance beats. When the main string/synth riff comes in, oh man. Just listen, it’s fantastic. :)