Superstars #1 Hits Remixed

Superstars #1 Hits Remixed

Superstars#1 Hits Remixed

Superstars #1 Hits Remixed

Sony/BMG

Where exotic men and women (but mostly women) come together (insert your own double entendre here), this album will sound good, or if you’re having a party, here’s your soundtrack.

Disco, of course, never died; its impact has been keenly felt throughout pop music. Nile Rogers, who should know if anybody should, has said that what makes a record disco for him is this: The credited artist rarely, if ever, plays or writes any of the songs, but are selected and made part of the mix by producers.

By and large, that’s what we have here. This is one of those CD compilations where you likely already know and love or hate how most, if not all, of the contributions sound.

The title comes very close to being literal truth in advertising; many of these songs have been at or near the top of the Billboard “hot dance club play” charts. So my job here is less as a critic and more a reporter; this is most of what’s on this CD. If it makes you want to hear it, buy it, you’ll almost certainly enjoy it.

The disc opens and closes with hits that might have benefited from being placed elsewhere in the compilation’s sequencing. “Since U Been Gone” — about that title: Damn you, Prince — by Kelly Clarkson (an American Idol winner) is all prefabricated drive, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

A reviewer for allmusic compared the Maroon 5 lead singer’s voice to Men at Work’s Colin Hay; I don’t hear it myself, but they do have something akin to Hay’s knack for an inescapable chorus.

“(Reach Up For The) Sunrise,” from Duran Duran’s disappointing reunion album, is presented here in a Jason Nevins remix that is superior to the original, but different from the even-more thrilling Nevins dance mix that appeared on the Queer Eye For The Straight Guy CD.

The remix of Sarah McLachlan’s “World On Fire” by my man JXL floats her vocals over a taut guitar line that reminds me of Everything But The Girl’s best arty folk-dance. The song itself doesn’t fly as high.

What more can be said at this point about Dido’s “White Flag?” If you’ve ever hopped a club, you know what this sounds like; it’s a Dido song, that means melodic, atmospheric, a pleasant enough way to pass the time but unlikely to stand the test of it.

“Toxic” is a record that sounds really good for reasons having almost everything to do with the remixer (Armand Van Helden) and original producers (Bloodshy & Avant) and almost nothing to do with who’s singing it or the song itself. In other words, it’s a Britney Spears disco song.

“So Gone Pt. II,” by Monica, is likewise an exciting record on its own terms, but she didn’t write or produce it (Kenneth Cunningham and Missy Elliot, respectively, did).

Like Dido, I don’t really know what to say about Pink’s “Get The Party Started.” It was a dancefloor anthem, and it deserved to be; it’s a really good song.

I don’t have much use for Beyonce’s voice; let’s face it, it’s a third of her appeal (at best) anyway. “Naughty Girl” is a sensual hit in her retro-dance, electric disco style. Get down tonight, if you’re so inclined.

You know, before she became a punchline (“Houston, you have a problem.”) Whitney used to really be able to belt out a song, as “It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay” demonstrates.

Then there’s “It’s All Good,” by another American Idol winner, Fantasia. There are records by people who are trying to write timeless songs, and there are records by people who just want them to sound great. This is the latter.

Jennifer Lopez has been “Waiting For Tonight” since 1999; it remains for me a fairly dull keyboards and beats piece. And talk about performers whose vocals are only part of their appeal, though arguably more in Jennifer’s case…

Hands-down the winner of the “most improved” award is the well-known Peter Rauhofer’s radio edit of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.” This takes a song that for me was only ever “interesting” in its single/album version and gives it a kick-ass dance mix without losing the meaning of the lyrics.

Finally, Toni Braxton’s “Un-Break My Heart” remains its extravagant self, but it sounds a little tired at the end of this CD (it is almost 10, after all).

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