PopEntertainment.com

It's all the entertainment you need!

 

FEATURE STORIES MOVIE REVIEWS MUSIC REVIEWS BOX SET REVIEWS TV SHOWS ON DVD CONTESTS CONCERT PHOTOS

 

  FEATURE STORIES
  INTERVIEWS A TO E
  INTERVIEWS F TO J
  INTERVIEWS K TO O
  INTERVIEWS P TO T
  INTERVIEWS U TO Z
  INTERVIEWS ACTORS
  INTERVIEWS ACTRESSES
  INTERVIEWS BOOKS
  INTERVIEWS DIRECTORS AND SCREENWRITERS
  INTERVIEWS MUSIC
  INTERVIEWS OSCAR NOMINEES
  INTERVIEWS THEATER
  IN MEMORIAM
  REVIEWS
  MOVIE REVIEWS
  MUSIC REVIEWS
  CONCERT REVIEWS
  BOX SET REPORT CARD
  TV SHOWS ON DVD
  MISCELLANEOUS STUFF & NONSENSE
  CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY
  LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
  CONTESTS
  LINKS
  MASTHEAD
  EMAIL US

"WILD YEARS-THE MUSIC & MYTH OF TOM WAITS" BY JAY S. JACOBS

AVAILABLE IN BOOK STORES EVERYWHERE!

 

PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Future Retro

MUSIC REVIEWS

 Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Various Artists-Future Retro (Rhino)

It has become fashionable for modern remixers to take older songs and revamp them for modern tastes.  A few fluke hits have been scored along the way with this idea, several years ago a dance redo of the Four Seasons' "December 1963 (Oh What A Night)" actually topped the charts.  More recently remixed versions of Elvis' "A Little Less Conversation" and Seals and Crofts' "Summer Breeze" both captured some serious airplay. 

Therefore it's probably no surprise that labels are raiding their vaults to see if lightning can't strike again.  One slight miscalculation with Future Retro is that these songs -- mostly culled from the early-mid 80s New Wave vaults -- were all taken from a period in time when remixing was already prevalent.  (Unlike the above listed songs, which all pretty much predated the art form.)  Therefore it is no huge thing to have these particular tunes revamped for the dance floor -- many of them had been there already.  In fact, the Hamel Album Mix which jumps up the tempo here on Alphaville's ballad "Forever Young" would be a lot more impressive if it weren't so reminiscent of the original dance remix that was widely played when the song was originally popular in 1985. 

One of the sharpest versions is also from one of the more mix-happy of these groups.  The Crystal Method turn their attention to New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle" with trippy swooshing electronica results.  However, as Frente's early 90s folk-rock cover of the tune proved, that song is so malleable it could work any way it was prodded.  Richard X strips down Yaz's "Situation" to bare-bones funk -- adding an unnecessary intro but then letting the tune take over.   The Way Out West remix of "Lips Like Sugar" by Echo and the Bunnymen add an even more lush background to a hypnotically beautiful tune.  Sparks completely revibes Morrissey's acidic "Suedehead," making it an odd but fascinating mix of bombast and restraint.

Not all of these pan out though.  The remix of Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five's "White Lines (Don't Do It)" (it's not Grandmaster & Melle Mel, no matter what the track-listing says) is one of those obnoxious early dance vibes where an entire song is stripped down to an almost entirely instrumental sample of one short part of the song which is repeated over and over again ad nauseum.  This was done pretty regularly in the early 80s, try and track down the 12" singles of the Human League's "Don't You Want Me" or Cherelle's "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On" for older examples of this style.  This huge revamping strips the song of its personality and its content, making it instead an endless (and rather tedious) beat.

However, most of the remixes work better than that one.  It would be hard to say that any of these re-jiggerings actually improve on the originals.  However, if you already have the old recordings (and chances are that if you're buying this compilation you do), Future Retro makes for an interesting reinterpretation and a fun party tape.  Even Craig DeGraff, who produced this compilation, says in the liner notes, "One word of warning: These mixes are in no way meant to replace the originals.  When you're done listening to this, dust off that old vinyl and remember why you fell in love with these songs in the first place."  Take him at his word.  Enjoy Future Retro, then go back to Retro Retro.  (1/06)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2006 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: February 8, 2006.

RETURN TO RECORD REVIEWS MENU

fye.com

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Copyright 2006 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: February 8, 2006.