I love a great remix, sometimes it can take an already awesome song and change it totally, making it even better on some occasions, however sometimes, a remix doesn’t really add anything at all and can even detract from the enjoyment of a song. So today I want to mention just a couple of my favourites and maybe one or two that I’m not so keen on. As always, make sure to leave your favourite remixes in response to this post. Maybe you’re a producer or DJ yourself and you’d like to share some of your own work? Any suggestion is welcome.
First off I wanted to mention a track which I think is possibly better known than the original nowadays, certainly frequenting my ears far more often than the original anyway. That’s the Prodigy’s ‘Voodoo People’ the Pendulum Remix. I don’t necessarily think that the Pendulum remix is better than the original, because the original version has this completely frantic and wild style which is just so unique and crazy. The remix probably hits you in a more direct way, a bit “harder” if anything and that brings a totally different set of pleasure. Both are very much of their time, with the Prodigy producing a hardcore techno masterclass, whilst Pendulum steer much more towards a modern drum and bass sound. It’s probably one the few remixes that has a fantastic, exclusively-for-the-remix video too, which is just straight-up crazy- although again, not quite as crazy as the original. What’s really interesting about both versions is that the main riff of the track is actually based on a Nirvana song, ‘Very Ape’, though by no means a remix it clearly shares that remix aesthetic.
Next up I wanted to mention one of my favourite party tunes, ‘Brimful of Asha’ by Cornershop, the Norman Cook remix. Norm, probably better known as Fatboy Slim did a wicked job on this remix, taking the already awesome and groovy original and turbo charging it. This remix does exactly what a remix should do and actually builds on the original, taking the best bits and giving it a whole new attitude. Aside from being a great alternative to the original, this remix probably put Cornershop on the map, with the original version of the track topping off at 60 in the UK charts, compared to the remix which made it all the way to Number 1.
NME ranked this at number 2 on their list of greatest remixes of all time, claiming that it “does what the truly great remixes do – render you unable to enjoy the original”, which I don’t completely agree with, however if you think of Brimful of Asha, chances are you are thinking of the Norman Cook remix rather than the original, which in itself is some achievement.
Next up rather than mentioning a singular track, I wanted to take a look at a remix album, in the shape of ‘Reanimation’ by Linkin Park, featuring a load of guests. This album is great because at points it takes the already rap-metal aesthetic of Linkin Park’s debut ‘Hybrid Theory’ and really embraces the “Rap” bit, at other times it goes far more industrial with it’s sound and at some points it even hits on the styles of Breakbeat. Though very well known, being the 3rd best selling remix album of all time, this is a really under appreciated album with some genius lyrics by their guests and a great adaptation to their already brilliant debut. Seeing how well the band did blending genres with this album, it’s no surprise that within a couple of years of release that they released collaborative album ‘Collision Course’ with rap icon Jay Z.
So those are some of my favourite remixes, now onto a couple which didn’t quite work for me. To be honest it took a deep dive on some of the old crap I have on my iTunes that I’d acquired from free downloads, promo giveaways and various other places to find something appropriate and for the most part many have their merit, they just don’t really offer anything better than the original or even change things enough that it is interestingly different.
For my first pick, I’ve gone for The Killers ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ Madeon remix. I feel kind of bad for saying this is bad, because it isn’t, it’s just a little boring. I feel especially badly because Madeon was probably about 14 years old when he made this, so by the expected standards of somebody of that age, it’s pretty impressive to say the least. My biggest issue is that it commits the cardinal sin of a remix and makes you want to go and listen to the original instead.
We’ve had one great Prodigy remix, so why not mention a really not great one. For me the Rusko remix of ‘Take Me To The Hospital’ is simply terrible, the original a highlight from the album, the remix one to forget from the the deluxe version. Rusko is very much a product of his time and judging those sounds of relatively early dubstep now is probably not entirely fair, synth and sound design seem to have come on leaps and bounds since then, however the sounds used for this don’t really do it for me, I kind of think it’s the sort of thing that a very young teenager would put together. It’s just utter chaos, and not in the exciting way that The Prodigy normally do, in the “oh God, please play anything else” kind of way. For fans of old-skool dubstep it probably hits the nail on the head, but for anybody else, it’s not an easy listen.
So those are the tracks that I’ve come up with and now it’s over to you, what are you favourite/least favourite remixes of all time? Do you agree with my choices or disagree? Let us know your thoughts.