Junior Vasquez, Chris Cox, and Bedrock compilation

by Doug Rule
Published on November 14, 2002, 12:00am | Comments

Earth Music Vol. 2
Junior Vasquez
Tommy Boy

12 Inches of Cox
Chris Cox
Provocative Music/Capitol

Bedrock Compiled & Mixed
John Creamer & Stephane K
Bedrock Music Ltd.

Hello and welcome to the music industry's fabulous big year-end finish. In 2002 the hope is for nothing short of a miracle to revive album sales. The industry has pulled out all the stops and brought back virtually every artist who's ever once attained any sort of fame, from Depeche Mode to Soft Cell to U2 to Mariah Carey. But you over there, with the clubwear and glowsticks: you might as well put away that credit card. While many of the leading lights on the dance scene are out in force with new CDs, none (NONE, I repeat) are worthy of your time. Not the latest from Junior Vasquez or Peter Rauhofer or Jonathan Peters or Chris Cox. Why yes, it seems the dance labels suffer from the same cloudy thinking that recently befell a certain political party: You'll support us regardless, so why bother offering anything with substance? Well if only this year, it's time to be conservative with your money.

Take Junior, the granddaddy of ‘em all. His first volume of hits inspired by his year-old gig at Earth was a delight, packed with brand-new hits that kept the CD fresh many months after release. With Earth Music Vol. 2, Junior offers more brand-new tracks from powerhouse vocalists (Lamya, Kristine W., Suzanne Palmer). But it's hard to believe any of these will have the dance floor staying power of Dolce's "Fire" or Kevin Aviance's "Alive," to name but two from his first volume. From the ugly-eye cover to the track selection, Junior appears to be coasting on his tiring grandiosity. As it is written (in his liner notes): "With a following that rivals that of Jesus Christ…his loyal disciples clock his every move." With this move, it's time to question that Juniorverse faith.

Then there's Chris Cox, who (along with Jonathan Peters's Sound Factory Uncut: Thirteen on Thirteen) try to allure you with a suggestive title. Cox may well have 12 very personal inches, but with 12 Inches of Cox to show for himself, that still doesn't make him especially comely. Unlike Peters (Sound Factory), Junior (Earth) or Rauhofer (Roxy), Cox isn't celebrating a particular club with his CD, and if he were, he'd probably single out D.C.'s own Velvet, his favorite space to spin. He'll be there this Saturday, and by all means, if you like pop-dance, go. He's never a let down live. But on record? Well, for instance, where's the "Faster, Better, Harder, Stronger" Cox promises by including that Daft Punk tune here? Dammit if he hasn't totally ruined some of the songs that, on face value, would be the only reason to buy the CD. The shrill, ascending keyboard technique that's never a good idea used once is used without letup on his ill-advised tweaking of Perpetual Dreamer's "The Sound of Goodbye." Let's get out of Cox's "Head" and his "world of make believe." Most of the best songs here can be found on better compilations, so seek them out. "Shiny Disco Balls" by Who Da Funk featuring Jessica Eve is one exception, since it's a newly released track; it delivers the "late night booty calls, shiny disco balls" as promised.

Of all the latest compilations, Cox and Junior deserve praise for not wasting plastic -- and our time -- by offering two-disc sets, as everyone else ignominiously does. But that's faint praise, indeed. Heed the advice given in the "Fuck Sonnet" by Creamer and Quick. The only memorable song on remixing duo John Creamer & Stephane K's two-disc Bedrock compilation, this potty-mouthed orgy hits you right at the peak of your worst-ever hangover. "But fuck you for letting me fuck you now," it admonishes. How true. Everyone still with me tonight, repeat after me: Never. ‘Fuck'ing. Again.

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