We are almost done with 2015 and in my opinion….good riddance! I call this period in music the "Rip Off Era". I can't believe all these producers and DJs who are blatantly stealing vocals or making covers of older songs and then changing the titles to pass them off as "new music". Now…don't get me wrong. There are a few new songs out there.
First up…let's talk about "Focus" by Ariana Grande. I kind of wish that her label would decide what they really want to do with this young lady. Yes, she is young enough to be in the Teen Pop demographic, but you and I both know that she has the chops to do more mature recordings. "Focus" is catchy and I especially like the uncredited Mystical sound-a-like who yells "focus on me". The original version has a great throwback Hip Hop flava, but on the remix front there are some slim pickings. The KTVNES Remix is pretty good for a Hip Hop set. However, the Linuxis, Alex Radionow and the Max Sanna & Steve Pitron mixes have missed the boat completely. I didn't think it was possible to strip every ounce of funk out a track, but somehow they manage to do it. If you want some good remixes of this track, you should try the Miguel Vargas Club Mix and the 7th Heaven Club Mix.
And speaking of Ariana….she recently added vocals to Justin Bieber's "What Do You Mean?" for a remix. It sounds good. I never thought I'd be singing along to a Bieber track, but I really like this one and "Sorry". However…after investigating his new album I have discovered the same formula throughout the entire thing. Recently through my digital record pool, I received what I guess is going to be his next single called "Children". The production sounds completely like "What Do You Mean?" Same set up and delivery. Not a good sign. I can tell that I'm gonna be sick of Justin real soon. And be on the look out for "Love Yourself" as well. It's gonna be a long winter of Bieber singles.
So earlier when I was talking about the "Rip Off Era" here is a great example. "Say It" by Tory Lanez. Now, this ain't no dance song but it definitely a rip off of the Brownstone classic "If You Love Me". I guess now that I live in Toronto I am supposed to "love and embrace" all artists from the T.O. Sorry…when I hear someone using the hook from a song that I loved back in the 90s to get attention I can't throw my support behind it. Have we totally lost all creativity to write new lyrics? Can we hear some new melodies instead of rehashed beats from R&B songs from 20 years ago?
And speaking of repackaging…..has anyone else noticed that Major Lazer's "Boom" with MOTi, Ty Dolla Sign, Wizkid and Kranium sounds a lot like the homophobic anthem "Boom Bye Bye" by Buju Banton? Um….I won't be playin' this one at all! Don't try to sneak this one back into the clubs. We are almost in 2016. Time to lose the homophobia and start thinking about inclusion of all people if you want a hit. This is not gonna be your next "Lean On"!
Another example….."Wit You" by Zenbi. When I started listening to this one I was kinda into the groove and I also felt like this could be a hit. The lyrics had not started but the music felt like a hit. Then the male vocals started and I actually started singing along (as if I knew the words). Strange because this was my first time ever playing the track. Then I realized it was a hit….for Kelis back in 2000 when she released "Get Along With You".
But you wanna hear about some songs I love? Missy Elliott's "WTF (Where They From)" with Pharrell Williams is pretty hot! And the Kue Remix is even hotter! We have been waiting for Missy to come back and this is a great start. Calvin Harris' "How Deep Is Your Love" featuring the Disciples is burning up the dancefloor as well. And Throttle's new remix of Earth, Wind & Fire's classic "September" is absolutely brilliant!
And believe it or not….there are actually some brand new tracks with new lyrics. Sia's "Alive" the AFSHeeN Remix is a good one. The Galantis remix of "Delilah" by Florence & The Machine actually has my vote. And DJ Mustard's remix of "Hollow" by Tori Kelly featuring Big Sean is one of my picks for something new and different.
But now back to some of the train wrecks of releases. I'm not sure why Paul McCartney decided to re-release his duet with Michael Jackson "Say Say Say", but I can only guess that he wanted to get back at him for out bidding him back in the 80s for the Beatles rights. Finally he can make some money off of the late Jackson without any repercussions. It would have been okay if there was an actual remix or new production. But Paul just used alternative vocals by Michael. It sounds almost exactly like the original version. Kind of a waste of time.
Sometimes you hope and pray that an artist like PSY would do themselves in with a huge crossover track like "Gangnum Style". Perhaps they will burn themselves out and not be heard from again like other greats like Chumbawamba or Los Del Rio. But unfortunately…no such luck. PSY is back with a new track called "Daddy" and let's just say this abomination is probably gonna be the new Jersey shore fist pumpin' anthem. It is horrible!
So, I guess every project wants to crossover into every market. But somehow that doesn't always work for every track. I believe there is a new production of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" called "Nevermore" and apparently Jonathan Christenson & Scott Shpeley have recorded the famous poem as a track. And there is a Julian Marsh Club Remix. Not a good idea.
Now…I don't know why but I hate myself for liking an Adele song. I wanted to hate "Hello" but then the Disco Suckz Remix hit my decks. And then I came up with this megamix idea of Martin Solveig & Dragonette's "Hello" mixed with Adele and Lionel Richie. I watched her special with Graham Norton and I totally fell in love with her. She's so British ghetto and I love her for it!
Before I close out this edition of my blog, I want to pay homage to my best friend and recording artist, MJ White. The reason I had not written anything lately has been because I was dealing with the fact that MJ passed away last month. A few days before he died he had just sent me his latest release…."Brothers & Sisters" with Pray For More. One of the things I always loved about MJ's music was that he always had a message behind his tracks and lyrics. He lifted people up with his words and his voice could swing down to a baritone to the sweetest falsetto. The saddest part of him leaving us is that he never got to see how much he was loved around the world. I had the honor of doing back up vocals on a few of his tracks like his cover of Sylvester's "Mighty Real" and his DJ Comacho produced tracks like "Celebrate This Life" and "Becoming Light". MJ…I'm gonna miss you always. I loved you, my brother. We went through a lot. You were a big part of my music career. Thank you for your guidance and advice. Your music will live on through my decks and many other DJs around the world.
And I guess with his passing also brought some major changes in my life. After five years of being a resident at Crews & Tangos in Toronto, I am no longer employed there. There was a bitter fight for ownership of the club between the two owners. One bought the other out and now I am out of a job. So, 2016 is going to find me moving in a different direction. I think it is time for me to spread my wings in my career as my alter ego, Jade Elektra. I have two single out right now…."Karma" on Ber'lin Records and "Come Get This Education" with the Philthkids on Posse Up Records. There are few other projects on the horizon. Of course I will still be spinning for guest spots and still giving my opinion on what's going on in the music industry…..no, you haven't gotten rid of me yet.
See ya in the New Year!