Tom: Here’s an odd one for you. This is a 2008 cover of U96’s 1991 hit Das Boot – which was itself a reworking of the theme from the 1981 German submarine movie. I bring this to you for two reasons: one, because it’s stuck in my head, and two, because I think it sounds startlingly like the theme tune from CBBC’s Incredible Games and I want to know that I’m not crazy.
Tim: Don’t worry, you’re not crazy – they do sound quite similar. Dance remixes of movie themes are tricky things, and I sometimes get a bit nervous before listening to them. When they’re done right, and convey the same tone as the original piece, they can be brilliant (see Tiësto’s Pirates, DJ Sakin’s Braveheart, Airbase’s The Rock).
Tom: You’re right about all those except Tiesto’s Pirates, where all he’s done is create an entirely new song and then jam a messed-up version of He’s A Pirate in there somewhere. The great thing about all those tracks, though, is that if you don’t like one particular mix – the vocals in Sakin’s Braveheart really annoy me, for example – there’ll be another one along in a minute.
Tim: On the other hand (which is, unfortunately, a much larger hand), they can be absolutely horrendous. One example is DJ Stef’s version of Titanic, where the guy shouting ‘Freeze’ as a vocal really doesn’t help.
Tom: You know, it used to be that aspiring dance producers (or, in other words, “teenage kids on their parents’ computer with a pirated copy of FruityLoops”) had to go out of their house with a CD, attract the attention of a DJ, prove they were half-decent, and steadily work their way up the ranks. Now all they have to do is pick a vaguely popular song, remix it badly, quickly jam a video together, lob it up onto YouTube where it’ll be played in low-bitrate mono to most users, and presto: half a million listeners.
Damn kids. Get off my lawn.
Tim: Das Boot 2008, I think, belongs nicely in the first group, although I don’t get the counting to ten bit. U96’s had ‘one, two, three, techno’, which made a vague sort of sense (I’d have preferred ‘eins, zwei, drei’ but that’s just me), whereas this just counts to ten and then… nothing. Come to think of it, it’s a bloody odd cover – aside from the same source material, they’re quite different. The U96 version is much darker, even though that’s a weird way to describe a dance tune, what with all the clanking noises*, and it has far more vocal. If Guenta K. hadn’t used the small amount of vocal that he did, it would just be another redoing of the theme music, focusing almost exclusively on just the bit of the theme that people know with just enough background variation to keep it interesting, and it would probably be better for it.
* I am well aware that this is an appalling word to use to describe it, but I honestly can’t really think of a better one, and I think it describes it well enough for you to know what I mean.