A good remix is a bit like chocolate souffle. It’s hard to make, but when it’s done right, it’s sublime. Like many of us, Dua Lipa spent quarantine in the kitchen and she cooked up a remix album of her March release, Future Nostalgia.
The Club Future Nostalgia album, out now, brings a raft of pop icons into the fold – Madonna, Mark Ronson and Missy Elliott, to name but a few – and the results are delicious.
Taking a banger and making it slap harder in a remix is no mean feat. To celebrate, we’re revisiting some historic remix albums in recent memory.
DUA LIPA – CLUB FUTURE NOSTALGIA
Listening to Club Future Nostalgia, you get the feeling Dua Lipa misses the club. Bad. When the original was released in March, the world was going into lockdown. Disco was not at the top of the priority list.
Now, as we stare down the barrel of a continuously locked-down future, Dua’s dialed up the tempo with a collection of veritable bops. It’s hard to feel sad when you’ve got Missy on the milkshakes using Gwen Stefani’s bananas.
Levitating (feat. Madonna and Missy Elliott) sees the original song’s BPM bumped right up into gay club anthem territory. Take Madonna’s signature American drawl and Missy Elliot throwing in a ‘skkrt’ or two and you’ve got a lounge room party-starter.
That’s big Dua energy.
CLIENT LIAISON – DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY REMIXED
If there was an Olympic Games for pop music, Client Liaison would be our Australian representatives.
They’ve essentially remixed the entire soundscape of the 1980s. They’ve taken the decade – 808s and all – and they’ve run it through the office shredder before pasting the pieces together to create some of this country’s most beloved dance hits.
Their 2016 album Diplomatic Immunity is infectious fun. Diplomatic Immunity Remixed is a little more ambitious.
Luke Million’s reimagining of Off White Limousine is slick and Northeast Party House’s World Of Our Love remix throws the tune down the stairs of a grungy Melbourne club. The most iconic collaboration on the album would have to be with Tina Arena on A Foreign Affair.
This meeting of minds came to a glittering climax at Splendour In The Grass in 2017, when Arena dropped into their New Year's Eve set to sing a rendition of her hit, Sorrento Moon.
People cried, this writer included.
MADONNA – YOU CAN DANCE
It’s hard to imagine but up until the ‘80s, remixing as we know it it didn’t exist. The concept of copying, repeating, pasting and playing with pitch was still in its infancy when Madonna decided she’d put her songs down to flip and reverse them.
You Can Dance is a chaotic 10-track record with drum-machined versions of family favourites like Into The Groove. It sold five million copies worldwide, making it the second best-selling remix album of all time.
If the hallmark of a successful remix is one that’s more recognisable than the original, then the version of Holiday on this album does it. Listen to them side by side. You’ll notice that the remix just makes you feel like you’ve had one too many Pina Coladas and you’re giving the carpeted dancefloor of a cruise ship a red hot go. It’s naff but it slaps.
KATIE NOONAN – SECOND SKIN
What happens when you take pure, pitch-perfect vocals and let the blokes behind Ministry Of Sound have a fiddle? You get Second Skin, a reworking of Australian artist Katie Noonan’s first soul-soaked solo album.
The jump this album makes is huge. The originals are soft, buttery jazz tracks. The remixes are glitzy, Paris Hilton-era club pop tracks that wouldn't sound out of place playing at Supre. If you like Sneaky Sound System, the colour fluorescent yellow and/or doing cocaine, you’ll love discovering this album.
It didn’t sell as many copies as Madonna’s remix album, but it does do something really special – it takes the music equivalent of a Monet and makes it postmodern.
JUSTIN BIEBER – NEVER SAY NEVER: THE REMIXES
Do not exit the browser.
Hanging shit on Justin Bieber is a popular pastime for punters young and old but give yourself room to examine it and you might find the criticism unfounded. You don’t have to be a Belieber to recognise JB’s bops are pop at its purest. It’s pop on pop on pop. Say pop again. Pop.
Never Say Never: The Remixes was released in 2011 – when his side-fringe was at its chunkiest – and it absolutely cranks.
It’s hard to discount this album when you’ve got Miley Cyrus, Usher, Kanye West and Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon featuring.
The title track, Never Say Never feat. Jaden Smith, is the real reason this album makes the list. It’s fist-pumping pop. It’s hard to stop yourself from singing along with 12-year-old Smith’s verse, particularly the line ‘no pun intended was raised by the power of Will’.
That’s pop art.