I guess a great place to start is the new Michael Jackson album, "Escape". About year ago, I got a leaked remix of "Slave To The Rhythm" (as a duet with Justin Bieber). And just like the remix of "Love Never Felt So Good" with Justin Timberlake, I can't tell their voices apart. And probably the most unfortunate song title on his new album is "Do You Know Where Your Children Are", but he always liked pushing the envelope with tiles like "In The Closet" and "Beat it". Of course it's one of his anthems for saving our children, but with all the headlines surrounding him and child abuse misconduct you'd think he'd stay as far away from anything that has the word "child" or "children" in it. I read that these were songs that were never released. Tracks like "Chicago" and "Blue Gangsta" translate into current productions, while "A Place With No Name" sounds like an updated version of his bonus track from the "Bad" album, "Leave Me Alone". Will this album produce another chart topping hit? I don't believe so. The album will sell….no doubt. Many miss his brand of music, but in today's Pop landscape I can see his songs being lost in the shuffle. Only if they get the top remixers to work their magic could any of these song crossover enough to produce a huge hit that would possibly top the dance or R&B charts. There is a Fedde Le Grande Remix. It's cute, but I don't see it competing with DJ Snake or Calvin Harris. Although you can't help but marvel at technology after Michael's hologram performance at The Billboard Music Awards.
And speaking of DJ Snake……his latest effort "Turn Down For What" with Lil' Jon is murdering my floor these days. And have you seen the music video? Just sick! Definitely a hot track right now. And to add more street creds to the track, there are two sets of remixes. One featuring Juicy J, French Montana & 2 Chainz and the other featuring Pitbull & Ludacris. For a more urban crowd, these will definitely pack the floor. And for those who need a more club feel, check out the Black Boots Remix. Guaranteed to get the party jumping.
Looks like Calvin Harris has another summer hit on his hands (pardon the pun). "Summer" is another popular anthem filling my floor these days. Not really my personal taste in music, but I can see how Pop and Dance radio stations would eat this up. But if I'm gonna have to play it, the HLM Remix is what I can work with.
Since it is Pride Month, I most definitely have to talk about all the tracks that are specifically targeted at the gay audience. First up is "Uprising Of Love" (Harris & Neiman World Pride Remix) by Melissa Etheridge. Now normally when I think of Miss Etheridge I don't think of dance tracks, but with this recent obsession with acoustic guitar in tracks like "Hey Brother" and "Wake Me Up" by Avicii I guess even Melissa could be remixed. Although I like the track, it's the same story of "not gonna do much on the charts".
One of my favorite voices in the gay artist pool is Mr. Jason Walker. His new cover of the Taylor Dayne classic "Tell It To My Heart" is definitely one of the tracks I will be featuring this Pride season. Not sure why producers like David Guetta, Calvin Harris and Bimbo Jones feel the need to be listed as the artist or a feature, but everyone knows that the vocalist is what normally sells the track. Without the vocalist it's just another instrumental. I mean….unless the track is on the producers album, it just doesn't make sense. But in any case, Jason's new cover is listed as featuring Bimbo Jones.
Cyndi Lauper has re-issued a new remix of her 80's classic, "Time After Time" by Ben Collective. I personally would have thought they'd do something with "True Colors", but I guess that's me. It just seems like the logical choice. Anyway….it's a great remix. It works as an updated version and definitely still sounds like the original so the more seasoned listener (like myself) will appreciate it as well.
It's funny to me that most have not figured out that Drag Race is strictly a vehicle to promote RuPaul. Yes….the winning queen is featured in magazines and makes countless appearances around the country. Oh…and let's not forget the big cash prize. I actually believe this year's winner, Bianca Del Rio will probably make her 15 minutes last a lot longer than some of the past winners. But Ru's new single and video "Sissy That Walk" is being met with mixed reviews as Ru gives an unapologetic interview about his use of transphobic slurs on his show. Personally, if I were him I would have not said anything at all. The network apologized and announced that they would not be using the slurs on the show anymore. I would have left it at that. But now that this season is over, he was free to express himself and this quote kinda stuck out:
"But don't you dare tell me what I can do or say. It's just words. You know what? Bitch, you need to get stronger" ~Rupaul
I just watched a video of two transsexuals being attacked on an Atlanta subway car. I'm sorry…but this is what the entire discussion and criticism of the show was about. If we don't have respect for ourselves and members of our own community, how the hell you expect anyone else to respect us? (in my best RuPaul voice with sarcasm).
So, you can tell everyone to "Sissy Their Walk", but you don't ride public transportation. Most argue that RuPaul has made drag mainstream and I can't disagree with that. But I still question at what price and for what agenda. I didn't care for the original version of the track, so I made a special dub version that reflects the Ballroom attitude that Ru has been appropriating for over 20 years now.
Then Ru took to Twitter and decided to address the rumors that Logo is distancing themselves from his interview:
"Trust! @LogoTV hasn't "distanced" itself from me, not while I'm paying' the f%kin' light bill over there"
And I can not miss this opportunity to tell you about the new single by my alter-ego, Jade Elektra. "I Was Born This Way / Respect Yourself" - I recorded this track because I wanted to address the gay bashings and the hard time that drag queens and our trans sisters have to deal with on a daily basis. I think I mentioned it before, but now that it is close to finally being released on Pride week I have to share the good news. Not only did I get a personal blessing from the Godfather of Gay Disco Anthems, Mr. Carl Bean but I also got kudos from one of the songwriters (Chris Spierer).
"Hello….my name is Chris Spierer and I wrote I Was Born This Way in 1975 with Bunny Jones. There have been many renditions of this song over the past 39 years and your version is right up there with the best!
Thank you so much for covering it and making it your own. It is a great version and I hope that it is successful for you. Excellent mix! Thank you again."
And I am excited to announce that we also have remixes coming by Erik Elias and DJ Fierce Tease. I've been slowly introducing the original mix by Cris Is Bliss to my floor and the track has been doing well. I have even caught a few folks singing along. So, that's a good sign. So, be on the look out for "I Was Born This Way / Respect Yourself" and "Bitch This Way" on Ber'lin Records.
And now onto the break out artist for this summer. And I truly believe it is going to be Iggy Azalea. The marketing and timing of this gal is impeccable! So, last fall we got "Work" as a single. It was the perfect tease. Unlike the debacle of some other artists, Miss Azalea dropped her debut album, "The New Classic" back in April and has been dominating the charts and dance floors around North America. With it's retro images for the album cover and the "Fancy" video, she has tapped into what Hip Hop has been missing…..creativity. I don't know about you, but if I see one more urban video with a plethora of materialistic rappers spittin' rhymes about things they can't afford - I'm gonna hurl! And after Nicki Minaj releasing "Lookin' Ass N#%gas" in Black History Month, I had lost hope for the female rap game. And speaking of Nicki….her new single "Pills N Portions" is weak. Sounds like she's still trying to recover from her stint on American Idol by showing a softer side. Too slow and not dance-able. Let's see how she does on the charts.
One of the trends in today's Hip Hop and R&B is this 70 something BPM and to be honest….I hate it! If you have ever been at a stop light and this car pulls ups with so much bass that you can't even distinguish what song it is and the entire car is rattling, you probably have heard one of these tracks. Just like I believe the really fast Techno and Drum & Bass was created for those who can't dance. I feel that these tracks were made for the same reason. There's nothing that you can do except a simple bounce or slow grind. And as far as I am concerned, I don't wanna see that unless we are about to get busy.
Well, Mariah Carey's new single "Thirsty" is one of those tracks. Okay…I know that today's artists want to be current and sound youthful. But in my opinion, there comes a time when if you are an established artist like Miss Carey you need to do what suits you best. She's a vocalist. Do something that is going to show off your vocals. She has what I call the Diva Syndrome where they want to remain the Pop stars that are at the top of the charts. So, they try doing current Pop trends. But not all trends are for everybody. I thought she learned her lesson after "Triumph". Only the club mixes made that song even bearable.
I have a friend who is a die-hard Mariah fan. He keeps insisting that this is going to be a hit. I say she couldn't get a hit with this track if she played in traffic! Mariah needs to do material that is more suited to her. She is not a Madonna. Only Madge could pull off competing with Katy Perry and Lady GaGa. I mean…it still kinda works for Jennifer Lopez. "I Luh Ya Papi" and "First Love" both still have a youthful quality and can work (mainly because she is really ethnic). But Mariah does not read like that. Her biggest hits are more of ballads. And I'm not saying she should go the Celine Dion route, but working with a great House producer would do her great about now.
And if you hadn't heard Madonna and Katy Perry are rumored to be working on a duet called "Unapologetic Bitch". That would explain the recent photo shoot featured in V Magazine.
But I do believe that the new Mariah is Ariana Grande. Her new track with Iggy Azalea, "Problem" is another club banga! The kids can't seem to get enough of it! And the idea that her track "Baby I" was one of the last projects that Frankie Knuckles remixed really has gained her the respect of true House Headz. And there's a really hot mash-up between "Problem" and Little Mix's "Move".
Of course Beyonce is still rocking' the house with the remixes of "Partition", "Drunk In Love", "XO" and "Flawless". But I would say to be on the look out for the new track by Michelle Williams featuring Beyonce and Kelly Rowland. No….it's not a Destiny's Child track. The track is called "Say Yes". I only have a single version, but I can see remixes in the near future.
Quick Hip Hop and Dance tracks that are burning up the floor are Chris Brown's "Loyal", Keyshia Cole & Iggy Azalea's rewrite cover of Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out" (from "The Other Woman" soundtrack), YG & Drake's "Who Do You Love", Jason Derulo & Pitbull's "Fire", Pitbull's "Wild Wild Love" and M.I.A.'s "Baddygirl 2".
Well I hope this helps you decide what's worth your time. And here's a link to one of my latest mixed sets.