- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2003 1 Jun
Some remix albums are designed to reinvent artists for the next phase of their career in an attempt to reach an all new audience and brace the fan base for a dramatic shift in style. Most,
however, use the artist's back catalog as a sonic playground for
the delight of serious fans (and artists as well). Toby Mac's
When a remix album draws from a single disc's worth of source material, one can get a strong feeling of déjà vu reviewing it again. So, to be clear, this review is not about the songs themselves (you can read the previous review for that), but
rather how the songs have been transformed, and, more
importantly, whether or not they're worth your time and money
compared to the original
The result is a hodgepodge. The hip-hop funk of "J Train" (featuring Kirk Franklin) is one of the tracks visited twice. The "MATH Remix" (by members of Earthsuit) sounds tame and sparse compared to the original, revolving the song around a spacey electronic squiggle. It's outdone by the rowdier "Linney Borthers + DJ Remix," which adds a Rez synth bass riff and calls more attention to the female backing vocalists—the lead vocals sound grittier too. "Yours" was a heavy-hitting hardcore rocker on the
The popular single, "Irene," gets a face-lift in the "['Aurel M.']Marvin Remix," which drops the West Coast hip-hop sound (i.e., the reggae elements) for R&B ambience. That version is far better than "The Binary Twin Remix," which is more distorted and less structured, ditching the song structure in favor of turntable alterations of snippets from the chorus (although the sample of the woman humming a lullaby is a really nice touch). The delightfully tripping California rock of "Love Is in the House" is probably the only track that truly benefits from two remixes. First there's the "NW Remix" by Christopher Stevens and new Gotee artist Paul Wright, which warms up the backing vocals and creates an even more funky and laid-back vibe similar to Lenny Kravitz or Sugar Ray. The "[Dan] Muckala Remix," however, is much more stripped down, built on a killer drum loop and a familiar electric piano riff, later evolving into simple reggae. In some ways, it's the most fun track on the album.
Some of the other tracks that are only mixed once benefit the most here. The "[John Mark] Painter Remix" of "Somebody's Watching Me" (built around Rockwell's classic '80s hit) is fun in the way it turns the song into old school disco funk reminiscent of DeBarge or Kool & the Gang. The "Ghost Remix" of the rowdy rapcore rocker "Get This Party Started" is radically different, dropping the overwhelming electric guitars in favor of hip-hop elements. Similarly, Todd Collins's hip-hop "Beatmart Remix" of "Momentum" is worlds apart from the rocking original. My award for best mix of the disc, however, goes to the "[Tony] McAnany Remix" of "Do You Know." Featuring striking strings and a programmed Indian rhythm, it develops into a soaring mix of the chorus (which most recognize as the "Theme from Mahogany"). This one's a blast and full of surprises, even featuring a wonderful sax solo toward the end.
There's also a "Savage Remix" of the "Tru Dog" interlude from