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.

Elton John vs Pnau – Foreign Fields

“I can’t call it a “remix”, because it’s an entirely new track.”

Tom: I’ve tried to write about this album a few times over the last few months, as various singles from it have come out. And each time I’m failed, because I find it difficult to come to any coherent view of it.

Tom: Do excuse the dodgy fan-video: the official one is locked down on YouTube for some reason.

Pnau are two suitably-weird Australian dance music producers, who were mentored by and signed by Elton John. They’ve released an album taking some of his lesser-known tracks and… well, I can’t call it a “remix”, because it’s an entirely new track. I can’t claim to have heard the original of this before, despite rather liking Elton John. Listening to that original shows just how much has been changed.

Tim: I’d not heard it either, but I don’t think it’s a necessary prerequisite to liking this.

Tom: And the remix is… well, I don’t think it’s an improvement on the original, but that’s because I’m a sucker for that kind of piano-melody gospel-choir track. As a reinterpretation it’s lovely, isn’t it?

Tim: It is lovely, yes. Not so sure about the weird vocoding effect at the end, but otherwise this is fine.

Tom: Granted, the out-of-nowhere ending on the remix sucks, and it doesn’t really seem to go anywhere: but I can’t help but like it.

Avicii – Levels

“To be honest I feel somewhat short-changed.”

Tim: You’ll probably have heard this – it’s been around for ages (clubs all summer, used by Flo Rida in a track back in August), but we’ve not discussed it until now, because it’s only recently been properly released.

Tom: That’s weird. I know it incredibly well, but if you’d have asked me before I hit ‘play’ I’d have denied it.

Tim: The vocals apparently come from some song off the 1960’s, which as far as I’m concerned is too far back to worry about, but good hunting none the less. As a tune it’s energetic and all that, but I can’t get away from the fact that, sampled vocal aside, it’s just two bars looped for two and a half minutes, and to be honest I feel somewhat short-changed.

Tom: Agreed – which is strange, because the same’s been true of other tracks that we’ve loved.

Tim: Indeed – in the past, great success has been achieved with half as much, but there, at least there was a lot of variation in the backing – this, not so much.

Tom: Ah! Well then, I can help you. May I present Mashup-Germany’s “Believe In Your Best Levels“, which fills in those gaps with a half-dozen other tracks that merge perfectly.

Tim: Ooh, fun. Anyway, to sum this up on its own – it’s good, but it’s ten seconds of good, not three and a half minutes.

Saturday Flashback: I Fight Dragons – The Power of Love

Hmm. Intriguing.

Tom: Got introduced to this band by Charles, one of the team I’m working with at the moment. I Fight Dragons are a rock band that use regular instruments for the main parts and old Nintendo consoles for backing instrumentation. While while that might seem a bit, well, niche… have a listen to this cover. And give it thirty seconds or so to kick in.

Tim: Hmm. Intriguing.

Tom: They do original songs first and foremost, but a cover will always be a more accessible way to introduce a new band to someone. Particularly a cover that’s as ridiculously overblown as this is.

Tim: Yeah, and overblown as it might be, it’s enjoyable enough.

Tom: And yes, the 8-bit noises in the background can be a bit annoying until you get used to them; but they also distinguish it quite well from all the other Huey Lewis covers out there. They might well be a novelty act – but they’re a novelty act with a lot of actual talent backing them up.

Tim: That they are.

Saturday Flashback: Casablanca feat. Malena Ernman – La Voix

The excellent Melodifestivalen tradition of previous-winner-genre-mindfucks

Tom: You remember La Voix, right? It was Sweden’s entry to Eurovision in 2009, and finished in an unjustifiably low 21st place. It’s one of those fantastic crossover opera tracks that make it in occasionally.

Well, at Melodifestivalen the year after, this happened:

Tim: Ah, the excellent Melodifestivalen tradition of previous-winner-genre-mindfucks. Sometimes it fails miserably

Tom: I’ll assume that’s the reason that Casablanca – and the performances since – appear to have mimed.

Tim: …but when it works it can be terrific.

Tom: The trouble is, since the Swedish entry is generally always schlager, the new version is generally rock. I’d like to hear a schlager cover of Lordi’s ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’, say.

Anyway! Casablanca are a supergroup, comprised of members of other Swedish bands – and in my opinion, they knocked it out of the park with this one. Not to everyone’s tastes I admit – all rock vocals and guitar solos – but that ending, with Malena Ernman singing opera and Casablanca’s singer doing harmony lines that weren’t in the original? Makes it all worth it.

Tim: Yeah. Yeah it does.