Best of 2012

Popservations’ Top 25 Remixes of 2012

December 31, 2012 2 Comments

Reviewing last year’s tally, the Top 25 Remixes of 2012 offers more variety in genre, style, and tempo. Less enthralled this year by mainstream pop remixes, only one Top 40 hit made the list and it comes from Adele. There’s still a healthy helping of full-on floor fillers, of course, but some slinky disco snuck in and even a few remixes that don’t require being on your feet at all.

1. “Leaving” (Side By Side Remix) – Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys’ ’80s-inspired Side By Side Remix of “Leaving,” from the duo’s 11th studio album, Elysium, is absolutely superb. Neil Tennant’s newly recorded rap, inserted toward the end, recalls the duo’s first single, “West End Girls.” This the retro-referencing remix I waited years to hear. [Original Post]

1. “Let’s Have A Kiki” (Danny Verde Mix) – Scissor Sisters

If you traveled in certain circles this year (the most fabulous ones), there was no escaping Scissor Sisters‘ “Let’s Have A Kiki.” And of the many iterations of their underground hit, Danny Verde’s remix is the one that really had me werking and turning, h-h-honey. [Original Post]

3. “Waiting For A Feeling” (Trouser Enthusiasts Club Mix) – Bright Light Bright Light

’90s-loving Bright Light Bright Light secured some of the era’s biggest remixers for “Waiting For The Feeling,” with K-Klass, Trouser Enthusiasts, Vinny Vero, and Steve Migliore (aka Mr. Mig) all contributing their talents to the release. Trouser Enthusiasts’ rework isn’t only wonderfully epic in sound and scope — running just shy of 10 minutes long — it’s also the first under Ian Masterson and David Green’s cheeky banner in a decade. [Original Post]

4. “Hallelujah Anyway” (Larse Remix) – Candi Staton

Candi Staton, whose “You Got The Love” is a gospel-house classic, made a righteous return to the dance floor this year with “Hallelujah Anyway,” a track she originally recorded in 2010. German producer Larse’s smoothed-out vibe is a thing of beauty, allowing Staton’s reassuring words to guide the way. [Original Post]

5. “Move In The Right Direction” (Seamus Haji Club Mix) – Gossip

UK DJ/producer Seamus Haji, who also remixed Gossip‘s “Perfect World” this year, guides “Move In the Right Direction” to an amped-up place without sacrificing the song’s emotional core. The build-up and release (starting at 3:30) is mental, and Haji’s incorporation of Beth Ditto’s “Woo!” is perfect. [Original Post]

6. “Triumphant (Get ‘Em)” (Pulse Club Mix) – Mariah Carey

While the woeful single version of “Triumphant” relegated Mariah Carey to backseat status, the remixes returned the diva to her rightful front-and-center placement, scoring her a 16th #1 on the Billboard Dance/Club Play chart. As one who prefers Mariah full-throated and backed by beats, the Pulse Club Mix absolutely delivers on those desires, with the production living up to the song’s theme. [Original Post]

7. “Flavor” (Peter Rauhofer Big Room Mix) – Tori Amos

Frankly, I’ve been disappointed by most club remixes of Tori Amos’ songs over the years, but Peter Rauhofer’s deliciously dark rework of “Flavor” does right by the (newly re-recorded) source material. His Big Room Mix takes me back to one of my all-time favorites from the New York DJ/producer, the Club 69 Future Club Mix of Everything But The Girl’s “Five Fathoms (Love More).” [Original Post]

8. “Posse” ([STRANGERS] Remix) – Kimbra

[STRANGERS]’ producer Glen Nicholls, who functions as the dark-pop trio’s fourth member behind the scenes, was inspired by Kimbra’s vocal and thought a low slung 4/4 groove would work well. Does it ever. That this remix of “Posse,” with its tough runway strut, was left off the New Zealand singer-songwriter’s Vows Remixes release astounds me. [Original Post]

9. “Spectrum (Say My Name)” (Maya Jane Coles Remix) – Florence + The Machine

Calvin Harris had the honor of remixing the single version of “Spectrum (Say My Name),” giving Florence + The Machine their first UK #1 hit. While Harris’ revamp was all over radio and used for the music video, Maya Jane Coles’ remix is its polar opposite in tone, deep house with only the color of night as illumination. [Original Post]

10. “Headphones” (Dimitri From Paris Remix) – Little Boots

Little Boots’ music video for “Headphones” offered perhaps the best incorporation of a peep-show setting since Madonna’s “Open Your Heart.” And Dimitri From Paris puts an unmistakable “Into The Groove” spin on the proceedings for his remix, even tagging it on SoundCloud as ‘Pettiboner,’ a nod to Shep Pettibone who gave Madonna’s original the extended treatment. With “Headphones” on, you can still dance for inspiration.[Original Post]

11. “Winner” (Niki & The Dove Remix) – Pet Shop Boys

Niki & The Dove’s reconstruction of Pet Shop Boys’ “Winner” is like one of those classic tall ships, navigating tricky waters toward new, unexplored worlds. The seas may be choppy and the weather unpredictable (tribal drums, squelching synths, cut-and-paste vocals), but the craft and masts are built sturdy and strong (muscular rhythmic support) with Dahlstrom’s additional vocal line (shades of Kate Bush) serving as a siren call: Fought. My. Way. Up. Together, we’ll weather the storm and come out winners. [Original Post]

12. “Blue Jeans” (Penguin Prison Remix) – Lana Del Rey

There are almost as many remixes of Lana Del Rey songs as there are demos of Lana Del Rey songs. Of the former, Penguin Prison crafted the year’s best, taking Del Rey to the disco for a “Blue Jeans” refit that both throbs and sparkles. I suspect I’ll love his mix until the end of time, an easy prediction since it was one of the few available for download in the U.S. (and a free one, at that).

13. “High For This” (Monsieur Adi Remix) – Ellie Goulding

Remixing Ellie Goulding for the third time (“Starry Eyed” and “Guns And Horses” came earlier), Monsieur Adi gives her cover of The Weeknd’s “High For This” the cinematic treatment. It’s impossible not to get swept up in the emotional mini-epic he’s orchestrated around her vocals. [Original Post]

14. “Skyfall” (Peter Rauhofer Big Room Anthem) – Adele

Nearly immediately after Adele debuted “Skyfall,” I was hoping for a proper dance remix. Freemasons or Moto Blanco were particularly well suited for such duties, but her James Bond theme was instead shaken and stirred by Peter Rauhofer. No strings remained attached, but Rauhofer’s pounding rebuild still incorporated plenty of suspense. [Original Post]

15. “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” (ELIOT’s NA/JET Mix) – Janet Jackson

Though 2012 disappointingly brought zero new music from Janet Jackson, some enterprising souls were inspired to reach back for a remix. ELIOT packs up Janet Jackson’s “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” and takes her 1991 #1 single to tropical climes. The Jessica 6 keyboardist/producer’s refreshing cocktail of steel drums and disco makes any season sunnier. [Original Post]

16. “Never Gonna Let You Go” (Russell “Chuck” Morgan’s Hot & Sticky Remix) – Esthero

While I found the album version of “Never Gonna Let You Go” immensely enjoyable, Russell “Chuck” Morgan’s remix of Esthero’s new single is the one I didn’t want to let go. Still waiting to get my hands on something longer than an edit, however. [Original Mix]

17. “The Vision Of Love” (Maison & Dragen Remix) – Kris Allen

My first encounter with Kris Allen’s “The Vision Of Love” was via this raved-up remix from Finnish duo Maison & Dragen that leaked in January. First available on a Walmart exclusive CD single, the radio edit was also included on the deluxe edition of Allen’s sophomore album, Thank You Camellia. Had RCA serviced this remix to radio, “The Vision Of Love” might have been a hit. Instead, Allen parted ways with his record label and 19 Management in September. [Original Post]

18. “All Your Pretty Fates” (Scott Hardkiss Remix/Q-Burns Abstract Message Re-Edit) – The Veda Rays

Though I played it again and again (and again) on my iPod, I never got around to posting about this remix of The Veda Rays’ “All Your Pretty Fates.” In the hands of Scott Hardkiss, with a subsequent assist from Q-Burns Abstract Message, the Brooklyn indie-rockers’ song becomes a breezy, ’80s-hued delight.

19. “Houdini” (The Green Children Remix) – Foster The People

Foster The People not only made one of 2012’s best music videos with “Houdini,” the final single from Torches, they lent the song to European duo The Green Children for a remix that supported a charity effort for homeless kids. But everyone benefited from hearing this pulsating electro mix, presented as a free download. [Original Post]

20. “Loverboy” (Daisy O’Dell Remix) – Purple Crush

On Purple Crush’s original version of “Loverboy,” Jared Selter’s jagged guitar underlines Isla Cheadle’s entreaties to the target of her affection. DJ/producer Daisy O’Dell files down those rough edges and places them off in the distance, while adding touches of exotic instrumentation for a remix that shimmers like heat radiating from desert sands.[Original Post]

21. “Save Me” (Robbie Rivera’s Anthem Mix) – Ultra Naté

Twenty years into her career, veteran dance diva Ultra Naté’s instincts remain spot-on, teaming up with Miami DJ/producer Robbie Rivera for “Save Me.” A euphoric house track blessed with gorgeous ebbs and flows, Rivera’s Anthem Mix is one to worship. [Original Post]

22. “Girl Gone Wild” (Offer Nissim Remix) – Madonna

Madonna’s MDNA has mostly been meh on the remix front, but Offer Nissim’s rework of “Girl Gone Wild” is a notable exception to the wildly disappointing offerings. No newcomer to Madonna’s discography though “Girl Gone Wild” is his first official remix, Nissim amplifies the drama only hinted at in the original album track and brilliantly incorporates some of Madonna’s harmony vocals (“When I hear the 808 drums,” for example).

23. “Blue” (Casey Spooner & Avan Lava Remix) – R.E.M.

R.E.M. may have called it quits in 2011, but 2012 brought some previously unreleased music videos and remixes from the Athens, Georgia band’s final album, Collapse Into Now. “Blue,” which features vocals from Patti Smith, was taken into dark and menacing territory by Casey Spooner and Avan Lava. A spectacular marriage with Michael Stipe and the high priestess of punk. [Original Post]

24. “Human Condition” (Tribe Of Zebras Remix) – Nova Albion

“Human Condition,” from San Francisco pop-rockers Nova Albion, pulled me in on first spin. But Tribe Of Zebras’ fantastic remix was really something, with the Los Angeles DJ/production duo taking me back to The Orb and William Orbit at their ambient best. [Original Post]

25. “5678!” (Moist Remix) – Butterfly Boucher

Swedish DJ Moist remixed Butterfly Boucher’s single, “5678!” and the resulting electro-disco groove is one I could not ignore, no matter how much the “M” word gives me the total creeps. [Original Post]

What were your favorite remixes from this past year?