The arrival of my vinyl copy of Taylor Dayne’s debut album Tell It To My Heart reminded me of my friend Jeff – and not just because he changes the lyrics to “Tell it to my fart.” It got me thinking of the 2-CD set I made for him for his 30th birthday back at the turn of the century. I had wanted to do something that was special and had the “only Dan would do this” stamp to it. Since this was back in the Wild West days of the Internet, I took to Napster and found a metric crap ton of remixes by our favorite female artists. After carefully going through and separating the wheat from the chaff, I presented him with his gift. While some of these did come from my personal collection, I’ll cop to getting at least 50% of them from Napster. Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end…
Some thoughts on my choices:
- I really had no idea that Cher would end up being the most represented diva, but to be fair, we were in the midst of Cher’s 15th career resurrection, this time as a dance diva. The usual suspects are here – those being the Almighty Definitive remixes of “Believe” (probably my all time favorite remix, regardless of how dated or cheesy it sounds today) and “All Or Nothing.” But interestingly, Cher had given us a foretaste of the things to come with a full set of remixes to “Paradise Is Here” which came from her much more sedate 1996 CD, It’s A Man’s World. The Eurodance remix is far and away the best of the lot and Heidi and I listened to it so much that when she heard the original mix of the song, she couldn’t believe it.
- Having massively cooled on Mariah Carey by this time, I felt like putting her on here was a necessary evil. Surprisingly, the remixes I chose have stood the test of time. “My All” was one of those remix-a-ballad-into-an-uptempo-dance-number things popular at the time, whereas the 12″ mix of “Emotions” was a pretty straight forward extended version with some house elements added.
- “Swept Away” is a big inside joke between Jeff and me – as are most of Diana’s songs. It’s not that they’re bad, but if ever there was a diva in the truest sense of the word, it’s Diana Ross. She’s just so damn dramatic! The extended remix of it is just that – a longer version of the original cut. The “1994 remix” of “Upside Down” is, as far as I can tell, some unofficial DJ remix that in hindsight, wasn’t all that worthy. If anyone knows differently, let me know.
- Two songs from the last brilliant Janet Jackson album, janet., are present in their remixed form and I daresay that I like the remixes better than I do the album versions – especially “Because Of Love” which is a song I always liked but felt needed a kick in the pants to get it going. The lyrics to “If” are still completely unintelligible.
- Speaking of songs whose remixes are superior to their original form, the granddaddy (grandmother?) of them all is here – Whitney’s “It’s Not Right, But It’s OK.” How many people heard this on the radio and snapped up the album, only to find out that the song they heard on the radio had been remixed within an inch of its life? I like both forms, but the Thunderpuss mix is the definitive version.
- What would a divas remixed CD be without Madonna, especially in a gift to Jeff who is my partner-in-crime in all things Madonna? Who knew that we’d go from talking about “La Isla Bonita” in P.E. class in 1987 to being in Madonna’s Golden
twatTriangle in 2012? Both of the Madonna remixes here are unofficial. The “Deeper & Deeper” remix came from one of those Special DJ Remixes bootleg CDs that I spent an arm and a leg on in the 90s at an independent record store in Iowa City. All it really does is repeat the chorus over and over again, but I liked how it was put together. The second – the “What About The Exorcist” remix of “Vogue” – is just what you’d expect. It’s “Vogue” with “Tubular Bells” aka the theme from “The Exorcist” worked into it, along with some dialogue samples. It actually works much better than it has any right to.
- And finally, of course the dance remix of “My Heart Will Go On” is here. After all, it all comes back to the Titanic.
I can’t make a Spotify playlist because so many of these are not available for streaming – partially, I’m sure, due to licensing and also due to the fact that so many are unofficial. But I made an iTunes playlist of it and wow, it isn’t too bad if I do say so myself.