Monday, October 19, 1998

Single Reviews - October 19, 1998

October 19, 1998
This time round...remixes of R&B Tracks...

Monica - The First Night - Arista UK 12"
The North American hit smash finally gets a UK release! On the a-side are the original mix and the remix from JD. Both are solid. It's the flip that has the club mixes to check out. Arista UK has gotten Gary Booker, aka Booker T to do the remix duties. While the main vocal remix isn't the best that Booker T has done, it's still nice. It has the classic vocal house/garage flavour that you get with his mixes. The only fault is that the vocals sound slightly off-key with the music. The Booker T dub is also good. Thank goodness that they didn't release the Razor and Guido remixes on this pressing. Let's hope whoever is in charge of BMG's dance department realizes that R-n-G are not a good choice for dance it still Vince DeGeorgio?

All Saints - Bootie Call - London UK CD-single
This is the two track CD single released for Bootie Call, not the two part maxi-CD release reviewed earlier. If I could turn back time, I would have just waited for this version to buy. It has the radio mix of Bootie Call, plus has the Club Asylum "Skank" Vocal Mix, which is much better than the remix available on the other versions. I just wish that the Club Asylum Dub was included on this release as well.

Cleopatra - Life Ain't Easy - Maverick/Warner 12"
This is the second single from England's teen sensations Cleopatra. It's a strong followup to their first single, "Cleopatra's Theme", which had a funky new US remix. This time around, the label has decided to just release all the original UK remixes. On the vinyl release, remixes are from Direktorz, Artful Dodger, Booker T and Full Crew (though this mix isn't credited anywhere at all on the sleeve.) The Direktorz give the song a more summery, laid back feel, emphasizing the gospel style vocal. It actually reminds me of Steve Silk Hurley's "Old Skool" R&B mixes that he did for Ce Ce Peniston, Chantay Savage and Janet Jackson. Full Crew aim for a more jumping party mix, sampling from The Jackson 5's "I Want You Back". Artful Dodger and Booker T deliver solid house mixes on the flip side. I like Booker T's mix more, but the 12" is a solid package of music.

Kenny Lattimore - "Days Like This" - Columbia 12" Promo
One of the best soul singers this decade returns with a brand new track! "Days Like This" is a limited promo-only release which features remixes from Masters At Work and M'Du. MAW turns in two different reworkings of the song. The "Lattimaw Soul House Mix" has a smooth house groove with a nice bassline and great vocals from Kenny. The "Nuyorican Soul" mix delivers their trademark sycopated beats and rhythms. On the flip, M'Du slows it down for an older house feel, with heavily sampled vocals in the intro. Both sides seem to sound like new and separate productions of the track, as the vocals are quite different. Strongly recommended that those who love vocal house get this record. It's not going to be in the stores for long!

Faith Evans - "Love Like This" - Bad Boy 12" Promo
This is the first single off her new album, "Keep The Faith". It's a good taste of what's to come. While the music relies on Puffy's trademark use of familiar songs - this time it's "Chic Cheer" by Chic - at least this time they've chosen a song that people don't know as well. Faith gives a nice vocal delivery that distinguishes this release from other cookie-cutter R&B releases. Plus it's irresistably catchy. They will inevitably release a remix, but I think the original will be hard to top.

Mya with special guest Sisqo - It's All About Me (Club Remixes) - Interscope/University 12" Promo
My first introduction to Mya was the horrific "Ghetto Supastar" song that was inexplicably popular (and still is) in clubs. I couldn't take the irritating chorus, and I thought Mya's voice was way too shrill. However, this release has gotten me interested in her singing again. While I didn't really pay attention to the original slow jam version, the release of additional promo only mixes for the clubs made me check them out. I enjoy hearing how R&B songs are remixed into house/garage/dance anthems, and usually most of them are lacking, but this was a pleasant surprise. The main remix was done by Hula (from Hula and K. Fingers/Outhere Brothers/Indo- "Are You Sleeping" fame). It's a good dance mix with some nice garage flavour. It also has some hints of beats from the Todd Terry/EBTG "Missing" remix. I think record companies should get Hula to do some more remixes rather than say Junior Vasquez. No one needs that much drama and cheese in a song. The B-side features a Mijangos remix that is alright, but leaves out most of the vocals. It makes you think it's going to be a speed garage-type mix with this majorly time stretched vocal snippet from Sisqo, but then lets you down. There's also a decent booty mix from some guy named "Slammin' Sam".

Linda Clifford - Runaway Love - Curtom 12" Promo
While I already have the Masters At Work remix/re-edit on the "Everybody Dance" compilation, I finally found a copy of the original 12" for 50 cents in a used shop. It was a true find. I prefer the original version more than the remix. Nine minutes and forty-four seconds of sweetness. I love the horns in the song.

Janet Jackson - Go Deep (R&B Mixes) - Virgin 12" Promo
Janet Jackson - Go Deep (Club Mixes) - Virgin 2x12" Promo

I've had these records for quite a while now (since July) but they've been playing non stop since then! I was overjoyed when I found out that my favourite song off "The Velvet Rope" would be released as a single and remixed by Masters At Work, Teddy Riley, Timbaland, Missy Elliott and Roni Size no less! The original mix has great production from Jam and Lewis and the most infectious groove I've ever heard! I've listened to the song hundreds of times and it still makes me move! Other songs I listen for a couple of times over and I already can't stand them. Timbaland and Missy give the song their own sound and a new chorus as well! Teddy delivers a solid groove with a heavy bass. It's a bit too slow, though. Pitch it up to at least +2. Roni Size's version had me going "What?!" when I first heard it as he has tweaked the vocals to make it sound off. I didn't like it at first, but listening to it repeatedly has gotten me into it. Plus, it has a hilarious phone conversation in the middle of it! 

The best mixes in the remix pack come from Masters At Work. The House mix is absolutely beautiful, with a flute solo. The "Deep Disco Dub" is the mix I always play, but others seem to like the "Spiritual Flute Dub", which is mostly instrumental. There is also a solid downtempo mix from MAW. If you want the original, there is also an extended mix thrown into the double pack. One of my favourite releases this year! I'm not exactly sure if this was commercially released in the US or not, as I've only seen US vinyl promos while it is available readily on CD here in Canada domestically and on import from the UK.

Monica - The First Night (Razor and Guido Remixes) - Arista 12" Promo
Eccch. The massacre of a classic. Razor and Guido demolish what was an irresistable R&B gem. Now, it's all cheesy synths and sirens, total production overkill. Will Arista never learn? Get someone else to remix the R&B jams into House/Dance tracks. Even I could do a better job than that, and I don't have any formal music production experience! Ghastly remix. Let's hope this stays as a promo. Though it's a shame how much vinyl was wasted on that...