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Great dance mixes without losing the original song!
One World | Denver, CO USA | 10/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"At the time this release came out "remixing" still meant "mixing something over" rather than "overhauling" it, however this album came out at a time when the art of remixing was beginning to mutate into overhauling. Such complete "overhauling" of a song's music tracks, once a very rare occurence was beginning to become less rare at leaps and bounds. Such songs to receive a complete overhauling were Natalie Cole's cover of Bruce Springsteen's Pink Cadillac which was remixed by Robert Clivilles and David Cole; and Pseudo Echo's Lipps Inc. cover, Funky Town.
Now for Alexander's All Mixed Up. For the most part, many of the songs are "Spiced Up" but still the original song is mostly intact, with the exception of the Ben Liebrand remix of Criticize. Now some mixes are labeled as House but I have to disagree. At the time of this album's release, House music was very heavy in the R&B feel with thick rolling basslines and Bluesy piano riffs, and thick percussion, not merely the standard 4/4 beat.
Here is a song by song commentary:
1 - Fake 88 (House Mix)
I would not consider this a "House" mix but rather a dance or club mix. Though it has a 4/4 beat and a thumping bassline - that was reminiscent of Nia Peeble's song Trouble - it did not have blusey piano that was so or the thick percussion. A lot of the original funk sound is still present in this mix and I like the restructuring, not to long of an intro and a simple but very fun breakdown in the middle.
2 - (What Can I Say) To Make You Love Me (Hateful Club Remix)
This mix finds this song getting something like what I would call a Hi-NRG mix, with it's synth bassline. Again, a lot of the original elements are still there but this mix sports the 4/4 beat and a smooth percussive flow. Again, nothing redundant about the intro or the breakdown in the middle.
3 - Never Knew Love Like This (Extended Version)
This song is very reminiscent of the S.O.S Band's later material. The S.O.S. Band's song called The Finest definitely comes to mind when I hear this. As for the remix factor, this is an extended version of the original with no additional production. However, there was a 12" release for this song and it had a different mix that had a different bassline.
4 - Criticize (Ben Liebrand Remix)
Now THIS can be called a House Mix as Ben Liebrand followed the House mix formula to it's fullest. This song is Bass heavy, with it's bass drum dominated percussion and the trademark rolling bassline and semi-bluesy piano rifts. Now another element of early House music was a vocal sample, or several vocal samples, peppered throughout the mix. The vocal samples did not have to relate to the lyrical content of the song, it was just for effect. What Liebrand does here is use the vocal track of a nitty, nasally sounding woman's critical remarks such as "her dress is as tacky as your suit" or "Alex baby wait for me" throughout the mix giving it a little humor. However, this mix is a perfect of an early house-style mix. As for my liking, I actually like the original 12" remix better.
5 - The Lovers (Extended Version)
Another S.O.S. Band type song in extended form perhaps with some extra sounds.
6 - Criticize ( Remix)
This version is the 12" remix that came out originally. This is an extended remix with perhaps a little additional production but, for the most part it is the Hearsay LP version in extended form. Nice intro and middle interludes, no complete breakdowns are in this mix. I love the jazzy little part in this song somewhere past the middle point. It sort of reminds me of the video remix of Janet Jackson's Contorl where there was a jam section in the middle. This is the version of choice for my tastes.
7 - What Can I Say To Make You Love Me (Ben Liebrand Remix)
For this mix, Ben Lieband choses to follow the original LP version with minimal additional production. He adds a horn to his mix to give it a little jazzy feel. He also adds some vocal samples such as a woman's "I Love You" and also GQ's Disco Nights "Rock Freak". When this song first comes on, it sounds like Fake with an almost identical percussion.
8 - Fake (Extended Version)
This is the original 12" version of this song in extended form. There is no extra production. I like the "House" mix better.
9 - You Were Meant To Be My Lady (88 Keith Cohen Extended Remix).
I was never familiar with this song so I don't know how much altering occured. This song is R&B/Funk.
10 - Innocent (Keith Cohen House Mix)
Again, I don't agree with this being a House mix. This reminds me more of Morris Day & The Time crossed with Cherrelle's "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On." It has a 4/4 beat but no rolling bassline, no piano riffs, no thick percussion. Nonetheless, it is a fitting dance remix that works well with the song's rock and funk elements.
All in all, I enjoy this album event though I do hear a three songs twice, however, their variations make them as if I am listening to two different songs. What is great about this is that the Artist's and Producer's work is not completely lost in the translation as is the case nowadays. I actually liked remixing from yesteryear for this reason, however, I do not totally write off remixes of today, as sometimes a song sounds great in a different genre that I may have never though it would.
Remixes of O'Neal's mid-80's hits
Reginald D. Garrard | Camilla, GA USA | 12/25/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Alexander O'Neal should've ascended to the heights of Luther, Peabo, and Freddie. Possessing a much better voice than others that ruled the charts in the 80's, O'Neal did score with some solo tracks as well as duets with Cherrelle. Their pairing is represented here with an extended version of the hit "Never New Love Like This".This compilation is basically an extension of "Hearsay", the singer's second album. The remixes, done by such stalwart mixers as Jellybean Johnson, Ben Liebrand, Keith Cohen, and Louis Silas, Jr., offer great production and slamming bass lines, reminiscent of the times. The practice of remix albums was in its infancy at the time of this album's release; this certainly stands as a worthwhile "experiment"."