The Dance Remix Nightmare
by Melissa Minners
Why is that people in the music industry think that, by adding a dance track and speeding things up, any song can become dance music? How many times have we turned on the radio only to be greeted by a hideously mixed song that never was intended to be a dance track? I know that this has been an on-going occurrence since dance clubs came into existence, but must the radio stations perpetuate the problem? What possesses one to take a slow song with deep meaning and turn it into a meaningless dance mix?
The other day, I turned the radio to 103.5 (KTU in the New York area) and heard a dance mix version of Kelly Clarkson’s Because of You. Have you ever heard this song? Throughout the song, Kelly promises that she will never be as selfish and hurtful as someone in her past, someone that most fans theorize to be her mother. Kelly sings about someone who caused her to have trust issues and low self-esteem and how she never wants to become like that person she’s singing to. This is a song that is meant to be sung slowly, with heartfelt emotion. How does this translate into a dance track? Horribly! Speeding up the song cheapens the lyrics. The beat detracts from what is being expressed in the song!
Again surfing the airwaves, I came upon a dance mix of a love song in which a man tells his newly lost love how much she means to him. He sings his heart out, telling her that he will wait for her for the rest of his life as long as there is a hope that she might come back to him. Again, this is a song that was meant to pull at the heartstrings. The vocals are meant to be sung slowly so that the meaning comes across completely and has more impact. Well, leave it to the music industry to cheapen yet another love song by speeding up the lyrics and setting it to a loud cyclical beat so that all you concentrate on is the sound and not the meaning.
And yes, I know that I happened to mention another song by yet another former American Idol contestant (Wait for You by Elliot Yamin), but this is not about remixing American Idol stars’ songs. I have heard the same done to other stars’ songs. Here’s just a small list of the songs I’ve recently heard trashed via the use of the dance mix: Fergie’s Big Girl’s Don’t Cry, Pink’s Who Knew, Christina Aguilera’s Hurt, Avril Lavigne’s When You’re Gone, Christina Aguilera’s I Turn To You, any song by Brian McKnight, LeAnn Rimes’ How Do I Live, Savage Garden’s I Knew I Loved You, Nick Lachey’s What’s Left of Me, Big & Rich’s Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy (yes, you read that correctly)…and believe me, there are a whole helluvalot more.
Why must these songs be mixed and remixed and, for all intents and purposes ruined? Granted, there are some songs that sound pretty decent when remixed, but for the most part, if the song was created with a smooth, silky melody, why totally destroy it by adding a recycled track in an attempt to turn it into something you can dance to. Not every song was meant to be a “clubbing” song. If that was the case, there would be no songs left to slow dance to. Romantic ballads would be a thing of the past. Lyrics with deep meanings would cease to exist. Why have lyrics at all when all you need is a funky beat? My opinion? There’s enough Pop, Hip-Hop and Dance music out there that we don’t need to artificially create more. Allow us to hear the songs as they were originally released and stop forcing the same tired dance tracks on us. If you want to play dance music, I’m sure that there are hundreds of unsigned dance music artists out there just dying for a chance for their music to get played!