The Dance Music gods are spoiling us this month. Hot on the heels of Kylie’s explosive new single “Timebomb” comes a terrific new Gay summer anthem that promises to have hordes of boys reaching for the skies in unison. We’ve also got the scoop on new music and mixes from Katy Perry, Eva Simons, Outasight and Breathe Carolina, plus NY DJ John Michael Di Spirito AND the Madonna mash-up you likely predicted!
“Euphoria” – Loreen
A perfect Gay summer anthem is hitting our shores just in time for the outdoor dancing season. So get ready to throw your hands up, up, up, up, up, UP! Winner of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest (via Sweden), “Euphoria” is a joyous slice of feel-good four-on-the-floor that lives up to its name. Opening with the blare of a cruise ship’s horn, it immediately stakes its territory with the promise of sun and sea air. A buoyant track with big voices, musically it’s in the same universe as the equally uplifting “Above The Clouds” by Amber and “One More Try” by Kristine W. As sung by former Swedish Idol contestant Loreen, the transportive song is a terrific vehicle for her strong pipes, which are reminiscent of Leona Lewis. The original version takes a full verse before kicking in, so for those that want to reach divinity from the very first downbeat, we recommend the “WaWa Mix.” Here’s a link to Loreen’s buzzed-about ESC performance, with its unusual Tai Chi-like movement paired with a mini snowstorm (!) Special thanks to video director, media maven and music aficionado Johnny Buzzcut for bringing this gem to our attention. This one deserves to be blasted all summer long from every outdoor deck from Ptown to the Pines.
“Wide Awake” – Katy Perry
Originally a bonus cut from the deluxe repackaging of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream, “Wide Awake” is the eighth and final single from that project. A break-up song clearly inspired by her break-up from Russell Brand, it’s pretty similar to her previous single “E.T.” In addition to featuring several of the same co-writers, “Wide Awake” also shares the earlier song’s musical structure with its disparate verse/refrain speeds and underlying stomp/clap percussion. These musical qualities have been exaggerated in the official mixes, which have been given a mammoth promotional push. (DJs have been serviced a 2-CD set featuring a whopping 20 cuts from 7 different mixers!) It would appear all the mixing artists were given the directive of shoehorning the song into the dubstep formula. While its basic construction might lend itself to this choice, it’s deadly on the dance floor, rendering most of these tracks useless. The two exceptions are the Kaskade mixes, who’s Electro refrains are bright and sped-up; and Jump Smokers, which inject some New Wave pizzazz. Alas, the rest are a pass.
“This Is Love” – will.i.am feat. Eva Simons
We’d long tired of will.i.am’s recycling his same sound on everything he touches, from his work as a Black Eye Pea to outside producing projects. We were ready to dismiss his latest before even hearing, but given it features the vocals of darling-of-the-moment Eva Simons (of recent “Take Over Control” and current “I Don’t Like You”), we were willing to give it a shot. And we’re glad we did. Exploring some different musical territory, this starts off with a simple piano and builds until punctuations by a choir booming, “Hell Yeah!” He even takes it easy with the AutoTune, revealing an appealingly unpolished voice with some ragged, John Legend-like flourishes. The original version of the song back-and-forths between his subdued spoken/sung verses and the more exciting verses that have Simons repeatedly wailing the musical question, “Can you feel the love??” With some uptempo retooling, this could be a real dance floor pounder.
DJ John Michael Di Spirito including Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake”
We have great love for NYC DJ John Michael Di Spirito. He’s a fierce spinner, most notably with his residency at Shep Pettibone’s Paradise in Asbury Park, NJ. (NYC boys that have never made the journey, take it from someone who generally refuses to travel to the outer boroughs: it’s an easy trip and well worth it! His next date is June 30.) Di Spirito is just as talented in the studio, constructing brilliantly layered mixes that have a sly sense of humor. Two favorites: the epic “This Is My House,” in which he spliced dialogue from All About Eve in a completely clever, totally unexpected way; and an incredibly current-sounding rework of Dionne Warwick’s 1969 cover of the Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out.” Both are House Heaven. For a good sampling of his varied work, we highly recommend a visit to his SoundCloud page. In particular, check out his cheeky spin on Big Sean/Nicki Minaj “Dance (A$$),” a spectacular take on Lady Gaga’s “Government Hooker” and especially his “Bootleg” mix of Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake.” Given RiRi’s label hasn’t released dances mixes of that track yet, John Michael’s version is essential for your summer soundtrack.
BPM BITS: Singer/rapper Outasight is back with his new single “Now or Never.” The label is pushing the Chris Cox mixes, but the sterile take strips some of the song’s soul. We recommend the more rounded ones by Johnny Vicious or Jason Nevins…Anyone named Kwanza Jones gets our attention. The LA-based indie singer doesn’t disappoint on her chanting AND enchanting “Time To Go.” The dreamy, fantasy video is an improbable mix of Lady Gaga, Electric Company and Bonnie Tyler!…We touted the debut EP of LA-based duo Speakers a few weeks back. First single “And Her Too” gets the remix treatment from the likes of Blair Witch, DJ Kue and Jump Smokers…One of our fave remix artists, Brian Cua, has finally done what all Madonna fans been thinking about since the release of MDNA: a mash-up of the album track “I’m A Sinner” with the sound-alike Austin Powers hit “Beautiful Stranger” (aka “I’m A Beautiful Sinner”). We usually fall all over Cua’s Popilicious elongations – especially his stellar work breathing life into all those whitebread “Glee” covers. So we hate to say that while fun, this one is a little messy. While musically inspired, the competing lyrics in the second half of the song overlap each other making the whole thing a little claustrophobic…Last fall we were obsessed with Breathe Carolina’s “Blackout.” Thumbs up to their new Electropop single “Hit And Run.”
Speakers (a very cool making-of video):
NEWS: Next Wednesday, June 20, as part of Pride Week, I’ll be spinning the pre-show party for the outdoor screening of the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory down on Pier 46 (Hudson River Park at Charles Street). “Doors” open at 7:30 PM in advance of the 8:45 PM movie. Free admission, food and entertainment! Presented by NYC Pride and Target for Gay Families. Come say hi!
Kylie reigns a second week on top of the TOP 20 DANCE CHART while the Scissor Sisters kiki to #2 in only 2 weeks. Expect a fierce showdown next week. All 5 of this week’s debuts are by women: Loreen reaches highest, coming in at #7, followed by entries from Rihanna, Madonna, Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson.
1) Timebomb – Kylie Minogue (1) *
2) Let’s Have A Kiki (Original & DJ Nita Mixes) – Scissor Sisters (8)
3) Put Your Graffiti On Me (Original & Moto Blanco Mixes) – Kat Graham (2) *
4) Dance Again (Extended Remix) – Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull (3) *
5) Call My Name – Cheryl Cole (5)
6) Euphoria (Original & Wawa Mixes) – Loreen (DEBUT)
7) Call Me Maybe (Original & DJ Reidiculous Mixes) – Carly Rae Jepsen (4) *
8 ) Goin’ In (Extended Mix) – Jennifer Lopez feat. Flo Rida (10)
9) Diddy Dum – My Name Is Kay (11)
10) Girl Gone Wild (Justin Cognito & Dave Aude Mixes) – Madonna (6) *
11) Vacation – Alphabeat (17)
12) I Don’t Like You – Eva Simons (13)
13) Birthday Cake (John Michael’s Bootleg) – Rihanna feat. Chris Brown (DEBUT)
14) Don’t Wake Me Up (Benny Benassi Mix) – Chris Brown (15)
15) Scream – Usher (14)
16) White Knuckle Ride (Penguin Prison Vocal Mix) – Jamiroquai (7)
17) Turn Up The Radio (Original & Leo Zoren Mixes) – Madonna (DEBUT)
18) What Makes You Beautiful (Dave Aude Pop Rhythm Mix) – One Direction (16)
19) Wide Awake (Kaskade Mix) – Katy Perry (DEBUT)
20) Dark Side (Ean Sugarman & Timofey Mix) – Kelly Clarkson (DEBUT)
Heart Skips A Beat – Olly Murs
Hit And Run – Breathe Carolina
Now Or Never (Jason Nevins Mix) – Outasight
This Is Love – will.i.am feat. Eva Simons
*Indicates current/former #1s