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Friday, May 16, 2008

Pull Up to The Bumper, Baby: Dance Reviews 2008

Reviews of dance singles from the second quarter of 2008.

Jo Frances – Brass In Pocket *
Unfortunate. Jo's voice is certainly up to the task, if a bit heavy on the testosterone. The track is multi-layered too much, which, while giving it a kind of power, ends up distorting and masking her intended inflection and nuance. As for the choice of song... some things just shouldn't be messed with. It was perfect the first time. I’m afraid, despite the dance beat, I’d rather hear Chrissie’s original.

Britney Spears – Break The Ice (Remixes) **
Hmmm... I wonder if Brit's name was not associated with this one would it garner any attention? This elicits a very Randy Jackson response from me... it's just okay. It sounds like a hundred other similar offerings. I know Brit's in there somewhere, but this thing is so over-produced it's hard to find her. I wish one of the remixer's had stripped the thing to find its core (but if they did, would there be anything of substance)? In the end... it's decent. But it wouldn't get her in the final round.

Donna Summer: Stamp Your Feet *****
WOW! Get this now! I love pleasant surprises. So nice to have Ms. Summers back. Voice is better than ever. And for a change, the material is her equal. Great song. Song of the Summer (pun not intended)(apologies to Madonna). The mixes are all great... tip of the hat goes to Ranny Big Room. But the DiscoTech is a guilty pleasure and a lot of fun. Burgundy has gotten this right so far (I loved ‘I’m A Fire’. Crayons' future looks bright. Kudos to Perfectbeat for snagging this one!

Jenna Drey: All Out Of Love *
" was so wrong". Well, it still is. Sorry. I'm sure this was well intended, but it is one painful piece of tripe to endure. Only the "unplugged" mix works, but even that suffers from a phonetically-derived delivery from Drey (she pushes the beat on the chorus rendering it robotic). Her reading is so perfunctory, it sounds phoned in by a speak and spell. (Does she speak English? Just curious.) Not that the song is any great shakes to begin with - it actually makes me shudder. Oh.... oh, no. (I'm sure it will be a big hit).

Madonna: 4 Minutes ****
This one's time is almost up, but it really has taken me this long to form an opinion about it. Like a lot of the other reviewers, it took me a long time to warm up to it. It is just SO OVER-PRODUCED (although I like the high school band thing). Madge is just buried in there and her personality is nowhere to be found. Justin skates by unscathed and actually adds a bit of charm to the whole thing. That said... I've ended up embracing it anyway. It's not a Madonna song - it belongs to her collaborators. It is a piece of product and that is it. So if you divorce yourself from the idea that what you wanted was something from Madonna, and just accept what you did get here... it's a lot of fun. I like the urgency - although I have no idea what any of it means (for the longest time when they sang the word 'interest' I thought they were singing 'ninjas'. (I actually like 'ninjas' better.) The mixes here add nothing of value.

Tracy Young Presents Ceevox: What's Done Is Done ****
This turned out nicely. Love her delivery... so sly and knowing. Subtle. Reminds me a bit of Ultra Nate'. That said... it is a bit old school - but the song itself and its message keep it fresh. The production is spare, but that works in this one's favor. Would be curious to see what a different mix master could do with it. Not a barnburner, but gentle and funky.

Mariah Carey: Touch My Body *
What voice? It's cracked and dried and can barely sustain itself for an eight count. Breathy and lifeless. At least she can tick out a lot of syllables quickly, even if they are the same four notes over and over. This doesn't break any new ground, nor do the mixes (?)(more like edits) here. Mariah has become the vocal equivalent of a blow-up sex doll. I guess Island is just all too happy to prop her up, supply her with a cliche' of tired beats and watch the cash roll in.

Ralph Falcon: Break You *
What year is it? 1998? This would have been considered not so fresh even then. None of the mixes seem to elevate this one to anything but filler status. I agree with some of the other reviewers... I just don't get it. It's not even novel enough to qualify as dishy retro. Kind of a snoozer.