Friday , April 19 2024
I've had it with remixes.

Render Unto Jim…

I’ve had it with remixes.

We started to hear a lot more of them after Moby‘s 1999 album Play got so much, um, play. Today I heard several new remixes of classic Doors songs by the famous likes of Paul Oakenfold and The Crystal Method. Nowadays, indeed, most every time you search the Internet for a certain famous or “classic” song you find remixes.

I never liked ’em much, and now I’m really tired of ’em. So many of them merely set samples from the song over boring dance tracks. What’s bad about that is not the chopping up of the originals but the loss of the chord changes. If you’re going to call it a remix, it should be a re-setting of the actual song. If you keep the melody and remove the chord changes, it’s not the song. A melody and its underlying chords are interdependent, and if you take one of them away, it doesn’t matter what else you add, you’re still left with not-the-song. (I know, a song can be sung a capella. But in that case the listener’s mind supplies the chords silently, or makes them up if the tune is unfamiliar.)

I have nothing against sampling of the sort we typically hear in rap and other mainstream music, that is, re-using another artist’s materials to make a new artistic statement. Nor have I anything against interpreting an old song in a radically new way. What I’m tired of is being told, “Check out my remix of [whatever]” and finding it’s merely the original song disemboweled.

About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Music, where he covers classical music (old and new) and other genres, and Culture, where he reviews NYC theater. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at where he is on a mission to visit every park in New York City. He has also been a part-time working musician, including as lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado.

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