Since I mighta gotten Katie fired yesterday, I'll take that as a reality check and tone things down. Sometimes you gotta cross a line to know how far you can push the envelope. Did I just mix my metaphors?
In honor of my big fat berfday this Saturday, which by the way: dinner at Putters in Milford at 8 (yeah, not the most glamorous, but convenient... and who doesn't LOVE fried pickle chips?! Republicans, that's who!), followed by karaoke at 9 (which we all know never starts on time), and then migrating to Adonis sometime after 11, since dancing never really gets going until midnight... is everyone in this city a vampire? Some of us are old! I think I may open my own place and start karaoke at like 7 and dancing at 9, strictly enforced. All out by midnight. And with a Sunday afternoon matinee. I'll call it Grampa Jay's. No line dancing permitted.
This is a problem that ONLY gay men have and that's the "remix vs. real song conundrum." Most pop songs get remixed into dancier clubby versions and those are the versions they tend to play at gay clubs, not that I even go out anymore, but I still follow the music. Also, if you're like me (and no one is), you don't even listen to the radio, and therefore have no clue what's hot and what's not. But occasionally, I'll be shopping at Old Navy and hear a song on the loud speaker (and I do mean LOUD, once again showing my advanced age!) and think, "Hey, what is this? It sounds so familiar... OH! It's that song! But... why is it so slow?!"
Here's an example: Jennifer Hudson's first single "Spotlight." I'd never heard the real version, just the club remix by Moto Blanco. Comparison...
See? Pretty different! This song is over a year old, but I still listen to the Moto Blanco remix all the time like it was new! I think I've heard the slow version all the way through like... well, this makes once.
Moto Blanco are my favorite remixers. Everything they do is so disco-y! They could remix that damn "Gimme Back My Filet O Fish" commercial and I'd rock it out! But if they remix something that's already super awesome, even better! For instance, Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi!"
What's funny is that "Paparazzi" is mid-tempo... not slow, you still might be able to dance to the original version... maybe, never tried, but the majority of her hits are already fast, yet for whatever reason, the remixes seem slower and less energetic than the originals. Weird.
This isn't necessarily a new phenomenon. Back in the late 90s, Whitney Houston put out her My Love Is Your Love album which was a standard R&B album, which did okay, but when it came to playing the songs on the radio, the hit versions were the dance remixes:
Her dance remixes were so huge, when she released her Greatest Hits album, one disc featured her ballads and the second disc was strictly devoted to club remixes of her hits... the downside was that her faster hits like "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" were ONLY included in their club versions, not the original upbeat pop versions. Oh well. She can't sing them at any speed any longer, which is the true crime.
SAD! I love how when the chorus kicks in, she yells "Sing!" Um... how about YOU sing! Or better yet, "KISS MY ASS!!!" Ha ha! That'll never get old! Someone should just do a dance mix of her screaming that over and over!
Sigh. God, that video is so damn sad!
Around the same time as "My Love..." was big, I read an interview with Deborah Cox, who's song "Nobody's Supposed To Be Here" was the HUGEST club hit around and she stated that she'd met so many fans who didn't even realize that the song was actually a ballad, because all they'd ever heard was the remix! (Raises hand.)
Deborah has been one of the biggest dance music stars of the past decade... maybe decade+. And I still don't think she's actually classified as a "dance" artist. I think she still puts out R&B albums and has her songs remixed which then become massive club hits.
It used to be that R&B/pop divas were the only artists to get remixed. Rarely did males and NEVER did rappers or rockers get remixed (except Filter once). But after Ne-Yo had "Closer" and Ike Turner... I mean Chris Brown "Forever," and especially The Black Eyed Peas entire last album, we're seeing it a lot more. All of Flo Rida's singles from his last album were remixed, and Diddy and 50 Cent have also recently released club mixes. Even funnier, rockers are also joining the house club. Kings of Leon, OneRepublic, The Fray, Snow Patrol, Train and The Script have all been remixed for the club, but my favorite is the Fred Falke remix of "Halfway Gone" the newest single by Lifehouse!
Actually Fred Falke is shaping up to be one of my favorite remixers. Jacques Lu Cont used to be the go-to for rockers, doing club versions for U2, Coldplay, The Killers and No Doubt/Gwen Stefani, but I always found his mixes to be really boring and too slow. Fred Falke's are way better! Here's his mix of OneRepublic's "All The Right Moves," and let me say, if you can make OneRepublic not sound completely lame and boring, that's quite an accomplishment right there!
Ditto The Fray! Lenny B. remixed their most recent singles, "You Found Me" and "Never Say Never" and I love them! (It's gettin' all Grey's Anatomy up in here!)
Really?! Dancing to The Fray?! Next dogs and cats'll be... dancing... together... to The Fray!!! Madness in the streets!
Pet Peeve: When I go to buy a dance remix on iTunes and all the reviews are, "Ugh! They completely ruined this song! It's supposed to be a ballad!" Look, if you want the sucktacular ballad, go listen to it. Leave the amazballz club mixes to me and the rest of the homos! ALSO, ballads make the PERFECT dance songs, because they are sung the same way as disco/house songs. Remember the guilty-pleasure to end all guilty-pleasures, Nicki French's dance version of "Total Eclipse?!"
OH MY GAWD! I love the part where it just crescendos, where the music soars and the background vocals are all "Ahhhh AHHHHH" and "We're living in a powder keg and GIVING OFF SPARKS!!!" Fuck yeah, we are. GIVING! OFF!! SPARKS!!! MOTHERFUCKER!!! Also, shittiest video EVER! Nicki French looks like Suze Ormond's older sister, who borrowed her sweet red leather jacket for the shoot.
Also, I will totally listen to a dance mix by an artist I would never listen to otherwise. Yes, I'm talking about you, Mariah! Or The Pussycat Dolls' whose hit ballad "I Hate This Part" was ferociously remixed by Moto Blanco! (Those guys again?)
And finally, the club is the last bastion for most faded divas. Madonna's recent singles, "Give It 2 Me," "Miles Away" and "Celebration" were all #1 club hits that failed to make a dent in the pop charts. (Which is too bad, because "Miles Away" was one of her best songs of the past decade!) Janet Jackson and Britney Spears are in the same boat. Britney at least scored a couple of huge hits from her last studio album, but the last couple of singles failed (uh... because they kinda sucked, btw), but were still club favorites.
Most recently, Vanessa Williams attempted and failed at a comeback, but her single "The Real Thing" was a club hit.
And Toni Braxton, who 14 years ago (!!!) saw her biggest hit ballad "Un-Break My Heart" transformed into a club SMASH:
...has a new album out and has released three singles so far, none of which has done diddly, except in their club remix format.
Man... I wish when I went to a club, I could pick out all the music. Oh well, I'm going to have fun either way! So if anyone is interested in joining the party Saturday let me know!