Saturday Flashback: Alan Walker – Faded (Tiësto’s Northern Lights Remix)

“Suddenly seems a lot more exciting”

Tim: Last Saturday you pointed out that Roger was a rather mundane name for a singer of a great song, which in turn reminded me that one of the biggest dance tracks of the year was by an act with a name better suited to a middle aged accountant than to a superstar DJ; I then discovered that there are TWO remix EPs of said track, and this here’s a good one.

Tim: You see, I love the way that plays with the speed there.

Tom: That’s a rare technique: I’d expect my brain to reject it for being different, but no, somehow it works.

Tim: I cut to forty seconds in because for some reason the YouTube version gets going at the high speed, which kind of spoils it – when I first heard it it took me quite by surprise, and I was tied between “oh, this is weird” and “oh, this is brilliant”, and I very soon came down on the side of the latter. I don’t know if it’s the novelty of it – I certainly never felt the original was too slow – but it suddenly seems a whole lot more exciting, and I love that.

Tom: Admittedly the synth pads sound a bit like they’re from 90s eurodance, but you know what? I like 90s eurodance. I like this.

Niall Horan – This Town (Tiësto Remix)

“Can it be saved?”

Tom: We agreed that This Town was sub-Sheeran, perhaps even sub-Odell. But can it be saved by Tiësto, the same way that Seeb saved Mike Posner?

Tom: No.

Tim: I weouldn’t say entirely not – it does come across a whole lot less melty, though, and so a fair amount more listenable. The parts with the instrumental focus don’t fit at all, though.

Tom: I will grant that the pre-chorus “I want to tell you everything” is still pleasant, but that’s because I’ve heard that motif a hundred times in other songs. The backing doesn’t really seem to work with… well, anything. The whole thing’s unnecessary, Tim.

Tim: Yes, but not entirely unappreciated.

CHVRCHES – Bury It (Keys N Krates Remix)

“Eurgh.”

Tom: Our reader, going by the name “RedBassett”, sends in this remix. He describes it as “a very clean blend of the original music and the additions”.

Tim: Eurgh.

Tom: I describe it as “bloody awful”.

Tim: Yeah. I didn’t have a hugely negative reaction at first, but then I realised I hadn’t actually heard the original; I did, and then realised that every single redeeming feature came from that.

Tom: Sorry to our reader, but sometimes I have to call ’em like I hear ’em, and in this case what I hear is (not one of the better) CHVRCHES songs being mangled by what seems like an incompetent automatic remix generator. I handed up doing something I haven’t done to a song in a while: skipping forward a couple of minutes to see if it got any better. It didn’t.

Tim: No – if anything, it’s worse, with those additions at the end just being really rather dull. Bleh.

Alan Walker – Faded (Restrung)

“Take a seat, love, everything’ll be alright”

Tim: First there was Fade; then there was Faded. Now, we’ve an orchestral version that’s been released separately; I wouldn’t normally bring a remix of a track we’d already featured, but (a) that original really was fantastic and I’ll take any opportunity to bring it up and (b) just listen.

Tim: Because it completely changes the song. Yes, the melody’s the same, and the vocal’s not even been re-recorded, but it’s suddenly gone from being a big pumped-up jump around floor filler to a relaxing, “take a seat, love, everything’ll be alright” track.

Tom: It is: that’s a really good orchestration. The fact it’s been released by the original artist is a big point in its favour too. It’s not all that big a genre switch given the state of the original, but it’s done well.

Tim: What that mood switch may state about the point of the lyrics of any particular song is up for interpretation, but somehow it’s just as wonderful. Strings, piano, full orchestra, all beautiful.

Tom: But here’s the thing: I wanted just some percussion. Not much, not the synth patches of the original, but a little timpani roll here, or some subtle drums going into the final big chorus would have worked well. Even some other instrument in the lower frequencies would have worked. Without it, it feels a little anaemic — still good, but not as good as it could be.

Tim: Incidentally the (still uncredited) vocalist is called Iselin Solheim; we’ve not featured her here previously, but she’s got some great tracks in her back catalogue.

Saturday Flashback: Yelle – Que Veux-tu (Madeon Remix)

“That’s just dangerous.”

Tim: Yelle, a French band we’ve covered before; this track, from 2011 which in its original version is a bit shouty and unpleasant. Madeon, the producer who had a go at this before he got famous, so probably when he was about 12 or something.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyARHscb8mU

Tom: Oh hey, that sounds exactly like what I’d expect from Madeon. (Which, given it’s an early track from him, perhaps isn’t surprising.) Rapid-fire samples running into a solid dance remix.

Tim: I found it via a suggested playlist entitled “Run Far, Run Fast” on a streaming service; it’s good, isn’t it? Keeps the chorus from the original along with binning off the spoken and irritating verses, and sticks a quick genre-shift almost in a funk direction.

Lovely all round, and the video on top’s just a bonus, really. If I ever do start start running again: it’s right there with me.

Tom: Although I wouldn’t recommend doing that massive jump down a 45-degree hill. That’s just dangerous.

Tim: HAH! I LAUGH in the face of…actually, yeah, you’re probably right.

Little Mix – Love Me Like You (Christmas Mix)

“Pretty much the lowest-effort remix possible”

Tim: Here’s a recipe for you: take one of the best pop choruses of the year (albeit one that could probably do with being sped up 10% or so); blend together with a flavouring of extra jingliness to complement that which is already there; gently fold in some chiming bells; place on various music platforms and wait for the festivities to commence.

Tom: Ah! And presumably that’s a recipe for a “cash-in”.

Tim: Did anyone ask for this? Not really, but I don’t care, because it’s utterly ridiculous and it’s got me somewhere between giggling stupidly and feeling very very Christmassy.

Tom: It’s utterly unnecessary, but considering it’s pretty much the lowest-effort remix possible and it’ll make its money back with Christmas party DJs buying it to throw into their mix for late-December… well, it’ll do. And to be fair, the original track stands up well on tis own anyway.

Tim: I’ll be honest, I’ll be surprised if this manages on its own to break down anybody’s humbug wall, because it’s somewhat pointless – one could argue, probably successfully, that it’s mostly designed just to fit on that many more Christmas party playlists. I can’t think of any other reason for it; on the other hand, it’s gone straight on my Christmas party playlist.

Sigala – Easy Love

“It’s unpretentious, it’s simple, and it’s amazingly fun.”

Tom: I know I’m a little late to the party on this one, but it’s still current enough to be getting airplay everywhere. And I absolutely love it.

Tim: Good, because you should.

Tom: This is an amazing remix. It’s unpretentious, it’s simple, and it’s amazingly fun. Remind you of anything?

Tim: A few things, but I’m guessing you’ve got something particular in mind?

Tom: Take the catchy bit from a popular song, speed it up a bit, add some new instrumentation and a strong beat behind it. Heck, if it had someone shouting over it in a German accent, this could almost be Scooter.

Tim: Well…

Tom: Okay, maybe Scooter feat Kygo. Which, incidentally, would be INCREDIBLE too now I think of it.

Tim: Yes. Yes, that’d be a whole of wonderful. Let’s MAKE IT HAPPEN. Somehow. I don’t know.

Saturday Flashback: Calvin Harris – Merrymaking at My Place (Kissy Sell Out Remix)

“Better.”

Tom: You know those times when a remix just fixes a song? This is one of those times. Have a listen to the original first: I suspect you’ll be bored by the first minute. It’s the only Calvin Harris single not to make the Top 40.

Tim: Certainly sounds like more of an album track. And this is better, you say?

Tom: This, on the other hand, is brilliant. Or at least, I think it is. I know I’m generally a sucker for piano-backed dance tracks, but this stands out for me: it’s faster, it’s got more depth to it, and — crucially — there’s enough variety in the mix to keep Calvin Harris’ startlingly dull vocals from getting grating.

Tim: It’s definitely better, yes. I’d say that brilliant is pushing it, but really definitely better.

Tom: I enjoyed this enough that, when it went silent after four minutes, I found myself wishing that it went on a bit longer. And then it did. Brilliant.

Tim: All of it?

Tom: Not quite sure about the squelching noises after it came back, though.

Tim: There it is.

C2C – Down The Road

“This passes the “dancing in my chair” test so, so well.”

Tom: A bit of introduction here. C2C are not the southeastern rail company, thankfully: they’re a French turntable group. So their shtick is to take old tracks — in this case, Mississippi bluesman Eddie Cusic’s You Don’t Have To Go — and shift them into something… else. And this is one hell of a remix.

Tom: This passes the “dancing in my chair” test so, so well.

Tim: Hmm. Well, I like the thing with the skateboard and the tyre, that was quite good.

Tom: It’s already reached number 1 in France; it probably won’t do quite as well in the UK but, bloody hell, it deserves to. The new album seems just as promising. Really, I’ve got nothing to add to this: I just bloody love it.

Tim: I know reading YouTube comments is often described as the first step to madness, but I do like the bluntness of the guy who just wrote “this is honestly the worst sound ive ever heard”. It’s not that bad – I think I’m just having trouble trying to work out what it’s meant to be.

Tom: You remember Mint Royale’s Singin’ In The Rain remix? It’s a bit like that. Hell, it’s even got a boots-and-cats beat going on in the background if you can’t quite get it.

Tim: The loud bit in the second half is quite listenable, but the rest of it just seems a little uninterpretable. Hmm.

Tom: Speak for yourself. I’ll keep dancing in my chair.

The Sound of Arrows – There is Still Hope (Fear of Tigers Remix)

“Bloody hell. That’s an amazing remix.”

Tim: The Sound of Arrows stuck a remix version of their still wonderful debut album on their website about six months back, and this wasn’t on it, because it only appeared online last week.

Tom: Bloody hell. That’s an amazing remix.

Tim: It’s not a proper release, but it is a damn good song almost reinterpreted, more than anything else. The original was good, but not as hands in the air, rave to the massive (yep) as this —

Tom: You know, I was going to argue with you about “rave to the massive”, but I reckon it’s actually the right phrase to use.

Tim: — more of a (very) slow builder that eventually reached this sort of level. I say reinterpretation because, well, the hope that there still is originally wasn’t so prevalent, what with it taking a while to arrive and stuff – yes, there’s hope, but we may well have a long journey ahead of us before things really improve. Here, though it doesn’t waste any time at all – it’s big, it’s bright, and things are getting better right now. As they should.

Though of course, I could be way overanalysing this and it’s actually just a jumped-up bigger version of the original. Either’s good.

Tom: It is indeed — and I hit the “download” button on SoundCloud pretty damn fast. Interestingly, the resulting file is “TISH 3.5.1.mp3” — implying that there are some other versions of this remix sitting on a producer’s hard drive somewhere. I’m glad this is the one that made it out.