20 remixes of pop songs we’re not afraid to love
Last week, Flume dropped his long-awaited remix of Lorde’s chart-troubler Tennis Court. In a few days, the edit went wide, clocking up million of views, winning praise everywhere from major newspapers to Twitter and sending social media of all forms into a tailspin. It also reminded us of just how good a well-handled pop remix can be – so in honour of Florde’s big moment, we’ve compiled a selection of 20 more remixes of pop songs that even the most discerning dance fan is allowed to enjoy. From Kelis to Beyonce and beyond, here’s some not-so-guilty pleasures for your collection.
#20. Gwen Stefani – Luxurious (Lapalux remix)
Trust someone of the Brainfeeder clique to take a sultry Gwen Stefani track and turn it into something this warped. In Lapalux’s hands, the source material is barely recognisable – if it wasn’t for that one looped and distorted vocal snippet (“we know how to live baby”), you’d be none the wiser that the original was Harajuku-era Gwen. Hot tip: if the Luxurious bootleg is to your taste, you’ll want to have a listen to Lapalux’s short-but-sweet edit of Fergie’s Glamorous too.
#19. Aaliyah ft. Drake – Enough Said (Shlohmo remix)
A track more than 10 years in the making, Enough Said would have pricked a lot of ears even if it wasn’t this good. Starting out as an Aaliyah demo from before her untimely death in 2001, eleven years later rap’s resident king of sensitivity Drake took the R&B hero’s vocals, fused them with a beat from producer Noah ‘40’ Shebib and rapped over the top. Then Shlohmo remixed it, adding a final serve of his own signature strung-out bass and making Take Care a worthy nod to Aaliyah’s legacy.
#18. Kelis – Rumble (Breach remix)
Ever since his throwback house anthem Jack turned up in DJ sets everywhere, Breach has been on a seemingly non-stop world tour. In between jacking dancefloors from Miami to Amsterdam, he recently set to work on a remix for Kelis to accompany the R&B star’s new album, Food. It’s only a couple of months old, but we’re already hooked.
While the previous album from Kelis, 2010’s Flesh Tone, made some dubious moves into big-room EDM territory, here Breach gives her the house diva moment she deserves. With an unmistakeable bassline locked in from the first seconds, the warm vocals ride the groove like they were always meant to go together. When the first “Baby, don’t go!” hits at the 2:20 mark, we’ll forgive you for pumping the air.
#17. Jamiroquai – Too Young To Die (Late Nite Tuff Guy remix)
Australian acid house hero turned disco remixing genius Cam Bianchetti, AKA Late Nite Tuff Guy, won a competition run by Jamiroquai to find the best remix for this upbeat funk-pop original. It probably wasn’t fair to the other entrants: Bianchetti has made “a million” disco and funk edits in the past decade; he’s one of the best in the game.
His modus operandi, as Bianchetti told inthemix, is to keep the “original feel and vibe” of the track by finding the “certain point where a loop will just grab me and [make me] completely hypnotised.” His Too Young To Die edit is a perfect example, pulling out a syrupy funk bassline and 4/4 beat from the original and looping them into a sultry house jam for Jamiroquai’s vocals.
#16. Janet Jackson feat. Nelly – Call On Me (Disclosure Bootleg)
It’s a wonder that Disclosure don’t appear on this list more times, considering their knack for writing thoroughly credible house with insanely catchy pop hooks. This particular bootleg sounds like it could have come straight from Settle, but it’s in fact only been caught on tape once, during Disclosure’s hotel-room-trashing, chaotic Boiler Room set with Skream back in 2012 (as you’ll note from the vocal ident towards the end of this recording). It’s a damn shame this particular remix hasn’t seen a formal release, because it’s completely amazing and the beat makes Nelly and Janet Jackson sound unreasonably cool.
#15. Rihanna – Stay (Branchez remix)
Like many R&B babes before her, Rihanna’s one of those endlessly remixable artists. While RL Grime and Jerome LOL both earn honourable mentions for their respective takes on Pour It Up and Diamonds, we’ve got to hand it to Branchez for his Stay bootleg as the leader of the pack. Branchez doesn’t reinvent the wheel here, but the devil’s in the detail: he’s tweaked it just enough to turn a heartbroken pop ballad into something that’d be at home on a dancefloor in the early hours of the morning.
#14. Justin Timberlake – Like I Love You (Motez remix)
Back before he was widely touted as one of the best new names in Australian dance music, with Ride Roof Back and the Gas Pedal edit under his belt, Motez’s Soundcloud was populated by just a few tracks. His take on Justin Timberlake’s Like I Love You was one of them and it spoke volumes of his promise, nailing that blend of house and bass the Adelaide resident would go on to be known for. And while we’re talking JT remixes, Four Tet’s take on Suit & Tie is a must-hear too.
#13. Britney Spears – Breathe On Me (James Holden remix)
The combination of techno hypnotist James Holden and Video Hits queen Britney Spears is so incongruous it’s almost comical, but somehow it works. Taking the barest cues from Britney’s original, Holden turns a bubblegum pop track into a melancholic head-trip. While the vocals here are somewhat recognisable, Holden strips them of any sheen, creating a nine-minute epic that won’t be on any 14-year-old’s playlist.
This remix is also a firm favourite of Deadmau5, who has said he sometimes plays it to unsuspecting club dancefloors. We’d like to see how a Vegas bottle-service crowd would react to this.
#12. Lykke Li – I Follow Rivers (The Magician remix)
46 million plays and counting: that’s what The Magician’s take on Lykke Li’s I Follow Rivers currently boasts on YouTube. It’s a mind-boggling statistic, but it’s not the only big number the remix has to its name. When the remix dropped in 2011 as part of Lykke Li’s single release, it quickly hit #1 in five European countries – ahead of the Swede’s original version – peaking at #2 and #3 on the charts in a further four countries and winning no shortage of fans elsewhere around the globe.
Those numbers make it one of the most commercially successful remixes on this list, not to mention The Magician’s biggest song by a mile. And if it introduced a legion of Scandinavian electro-pop fans into the world of French electronica? All the better.
#11. Miguel – Do You___ (Cashmere Cat remix)
Miguel asks the million dollar question and Cashmere Cat turns it into a dancefloor anthem. As inthemix put it when we included the remix in our list of the best tracks of 2013: “With lush synths, arpeggiated melodies and a refrain that’s bound to resonate with many a late night partier, it’s not hard to see the appeal.” And do you think it’s inspired a few spirited kick-on sing-a-longs since last year? In the words of Miguel: Yeah, well me too.