We are getting closer and closer to (Toronto) Pride and I believe that we are in for a great summer for Dance Music. The latest trend is that 80s Dance sound; many DJ/Producers are reaching back into the crates and remixing many of the classics. Unfortunately, a lot of those DJ/Producers are arrogant enough to think that their name should be first instead of the artists who made the songs hits in the first place.
I was doing a search for Donna Summer tracks and came across "Love To Love You Baby" by David Vendetta vs. Donna Summer. Um….really? Then I found "La Vie En Rose" by Jay Style featuring Donna Summer. Who are these clowns? Donna Summer is a Disco Legend! How dare you even think that your name should be before hers! In my digital library correct this by putting your names in the remixers place and her name as the artist. It's her who sold the originals. Giorgio Moroder didn't put his name as the artist and he's way more important to Dance Music culture than either of you or the rest of these idiots who feel like their production is what sells the song.
When I'm in the DJ booth and someone comes up to request "Who's That Chick" they always say "by Rihanna" not "David Guetta featuring Rihanna". When I hear "Do you have the new Nicki Minaj?" They are talking about "Hey Mama" by David Guetta & Afrojack featuring Nicki Minaj. No one cares or even knows that you are the producer or remixer. Don't let your aspirations for a Grammy nomination swell your head to think that people buy your records because your name is on it. Without the voice of the artist, you only have a track. Learn it and learn it well!
Once I recorded a track as my alter-ego Jade Elektra with a duo producer team and they sold the track to another DJ/Producer (who will remain nameless because I don't want to give him any juice in any way). That jerk told me that he wouldn't send me his remix but I could come out and pay to hear it in his set that night at a club in New York City. Can you imagine? Without my vocals he would have had just a bunch of tribal beats with no hook or concept and he felt like he was more important than me. Arrogance…it'll keep you right where you are for a long time.
But enough of my latest pet peeve…..let's talk about what's doing well on my dance floor.
Speaking of Rihanna….our little Robyn Fenty has grown up. Doing movies, making songs for children while simultaneously releasing "Bitch Better Have My Money" and now recording socially conscious songs like her latest "American Oxygen". Go timing with all the police brutality cases on the rise in the U.S. as the "I Can't Breathe" campaign speaks for a generation disgusted by the headlines. I have found four different mixes. If you want a mix that will totally clear your floor, grab your copy of the Craig Vanity vs. Paul Miller Remix. Too fast and not even close to dance-able.
Not sure who Jasmin is but she seems to be making the rounds on the remix circuit. Nice dub at club speed, but where the hell is the vocal? A functioning remix would be the Martin Remix. At least there is more vocal and it's at the right speed to work in a regular mixshow. But if you want even more vocal and something that might satisfy a Rihanna fan, the Peter G's Vogue ReWerk will probably keep a couple of folks on the floor with its Twerk appeal.
And speaking of Jasmin remixing tracks that are not gonna be hits, she did her best with Mariah Carey's latest release, "Infinity". After being filleted by the New York Times for her new Las Vegas show, I got Jasmin's Club Mix and was thoroughly unimpressed. And Mariah's performance on the Billboard Awards was not anything to remember either.
So, I find it interesting that I have been playing the Kue Remix of "Feeling Myself" by Nicki Minaj featuring Beyonce and months later they have finally made a video for the track. I guess they learned from the "Flawless" remix that they should've done a video to promote the track. Unless you watched the "On The Run" Tour on HBO, no one has seen the two perform that song together. But the catch is that you can only see their new video on Tidal. You know….that game changing site that you have to pay for in order to see it's content. Jay Z, Beyonce and all their friends with recording contracts actually believe that the masses are gonna rush over to pay to see and hear their latest releases and videos. They are obviously suffering from the delusions that the record companies had when the internet started taking over with its file sharing, crying that their profits were being dipped into when they weren't offering anything relevant at the moment.
If the labels had started releasing video albums (like Beyonce did at the end of 2013 - much like the Eurythmics did back in the 80s with "Savage"), perhaps the they could have reinvented the music industry. Instead they just bitched and the internet grew and grew. Jay-once and the rest of their clueless crew have got to realize that you have to give it away because as soon as it hits the internet it's gone. You can put court orders of "stop and decease" if you want but your product will be shared and downloaded over and over again. Get used to it!
Fortunately for Britney Spears and Taylor Swift, they are using social media to their advantage. YouTube made their new songs a huge sensation. "Pretty Girls" has all the elements of being a hit. The video is homage to "Earth Girls Are Easy" and the song's production sounds like it could have been any 80s R&B hit. And the chemistry between Britney and Iggy Azalea is perfect in that they both have appropriated Black Music. It's gonna be a monster on the charts!
And Miss Swift has completely moved into the Hip Hop Pop category. "Bad Blood" is perfect to be remixed into a Trap. It features a rap by Kendrick Lamar. No more Country tunes for Taylor! She's dating Calvin Harris. So a dance album will be next. And Taylor communicates with her fans on a regular basis on Twitter. She even premiered her new video on the Billboard Awards. Now…that's how you win over fans and get people excited about your music! Take note, Tidal.
On a sad note, we lost two Kings in the past couple of months. On April 30th, Ben E. King died at the age of 76. And then on May 14th, B.B. King at 87. I know that most of the kids today have no idea who either of these men were and that makes me even more sad. Their influence on music has inspired so many to write and play. But I guess the thing that really saddens me is thinking about who will replace them. The circumstances and experiences that made their music important will never happen again. It's like considering the rise of Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince in the MTV era. That can never happen again. Britney Spears, Lady GaGa, Chris Brown, Usher and many others have all tried to recreate that frenzy that was MTV in those early days, but it can't happen again. Too many things have changed and the internet brought a sense of immediate gratification. You no longer have to wait until the video is played on TV. Whatever you want is at your fingertips 24 hours a day. This is why Tidal is not gonna work.
Pitbull's "Fun" with Chris Brown, Jason Derulo's "Want To Want Me" and Taio Cruz's "Do What You Like" all sound like they were off the charts in the 80s. Being that the 80s was the decade that I learned how to mix, I can really appreciate the return of the sound. Plus, it's funny watching these young kids dancing to a sound from my youth.
The other sound that I am loving its return is that 90s House sound. "Teach Me" (MK Remix) by Bakermat, "If I Don't Have You" (Todd Terry Remix) by Autumn Rowe, "House Every Weekend" (LuvBug Remix) by David Zowie and "Dancing With No Fear" (Dimitri From Paris Dubbing With No Fear) by Holly Johnson are all favorites of mine at the moment. If you get a chance be sure to check these out.
I predict the summer anthem for 2015 will be "Cheerleader" by OMI. The CLX Remix is primed for radio and dance floors everywhere. CLX also did a great job on "Somebody" by Natalie La Rose featuring Jeremih. And Maroon 5 obvioususly are planning chart domination with their new single "This Summer's Gonna Hurt". The Jumpsmokers have given it their brand of dance beats.
And my last pick is from Adam Lambert. Why he would record a song titled "Ghost Town" right after Madonna's release of "Ghosttown" is beyond me. But I have to say that the Steven Redant Remix is everything right now! It's a shame that Madonna's label didn't release the Armand Van Helden remix of her track first, because she fell off the charts very quickly.
I'm sorry, Madge…..you are running around crying ageism and that the leak of your album is why you are not doing well in the charts. I would have to say that the problem lies in that your album is not that good. I loved "Living For Love", but the rest just does not sound like the right material for you. It might be time to reconsider your choices. Do a standards album and let them remix to hell and back if you just gotta have a dance hit. But it's a little ridiculous you trying to use today's lingo. The kids aren't buying it. Adam….I hope that your next album brings us more like your new single.
If you're in the Toronto area, be sure to check me out at Church on Church for DIABLO WEDNESDAYS and RELENTLESS REWIND (2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month) as well as CLUB LITE FRIDAYS at Crews & Tangos.