Soundwaves

Janet Jackson update, Missy Elliott's reality, Cesaria Evora and Daft Punk's remix

by Doug Rule
Published on March 11, 2004, 12:00am | Comments

DAMMIT JANET: AN UPDATE… How long can this go on? Not a week goes by without another attack against Janet Jackson in response to l'affair de boob. This week, it's the Mouse who's scurrying away. The Walt Disney Co. dumped a six-foot, 700-pound statue of Mickey Mouse dressed up in a replica of Jackson's Rhythm Nation outfit, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Unveiled last fall at Walt Disney World to celebrate the 75th birthday of the Mouse, the bloused mouse was replaced by a spare statue designed by an in-house Disney artist. "Considering all the controversy it drew, we talked it over for a couple of days and decided it would be best to replace hers with a new one," a Disney spokesperson said. Meanwhile, Mickey Mouse statues inspired by Andre Agassi, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ellen DeGeneres and 71 others remain untouched in the not-so-magic kingdom…

REALITY BITES BACK… In reality, l'affair de boob has done nothing to tame popstar -- ahem -- titillation. Missy Elliott, who took pains to coyly defend Janet last month, is now suggesting she just might outdo her, through her new "reality" series in development. On Wednesday, March 17, the city of Arlington, Va., will play host to auditions for the coming UPN series, which will revolve around singing/rapping/dancing recruits touring with Elliott as they hone their skills to become hip-hop stars. Elliott told reporters last month that the touring life often lends itself to intimate situations. "Once you spend a long time on the road, everyone starts looking good to each other," Billboard quoted her as saying. Sounds naughty. Of course it won't match what several of her male counterparts are selling. Snoop Dogg continues to pimp porn that he's had great success with the past few years, so great that others, even 50 Cent, has begun his own porn series, as well. And no, they don't actually "perform," they merely act as masters of ceremony for the prototypical girl-on-girl debauchery. Oh, what a circus…

DAFT PUNK, PUNK'D… If you went against your better judgment and didn't purchase Daft Punk's 2001 album Discovery (Virgin), do it now before picking up the new remix album Daft Club (Virgin). It's actually debatable whether anyone needs to pick up Daft Club, even die-hard Daft Punk fans, since nearly every remix makes only minimal change to the original tracks. And it's the rare remix here that offers minimal improvement. In fact, this compilation should be sought out less by Daft Punk fans than by fans of the best remixers here. That list doesn't include Romanthony, whose atrocious, over-emoting ballad remix of "One More Time" is unfortunately the only version of the Punkster's biggest hit. It also doesn't include Demon, whose "Face to Face" remix sounds only half complete. "Face to Face" is just now ascending the Billboard Dance Chart, and it must be because of Cosmo Vitelli's warm, effervescent remix of it. (I'm guessing you missed Vitelli's egregiously under-promoted album Clean last year. And you really mustn't let that salutatory album of all-original songs go any longer. Vitelli, an obvious protégé of Daft Punk, just has to be an up-and-coming electro-pop purveyor.) The most notable remix on Daft Club comes courtesy of today's leading pop producers, The Neptunes: It's notable less because of the quality of the duo's naturally minimalist tweaking of "Harder Better Faster Stronger," but because it appears as yet another sign that hip-hop and dance-pop are bridging the genre gap…


DANCING TO DESPAIR… Club Sodade (Bluebird/BMG) is another remix album that should be sought out for the great remix work that anchors it. But this one also deserves the attention of even casual Cesaria Evora fans, and all would-be Evora fans. If you're unfamiliar with Evora, it's probably because she doesn't sing in English -- she sticks to Portuguese, the language of her native Cape Verde, and, at least once, Spanish. She also rarely moves beyond the slow-burn melancholy ballads that have little appeal on the dance floor, for the obvious reason: you can't dance to them. A few years back the great James Bond singer, the jazzy, brassy Shirley Bassey received the remix treatment with The Remix Album: Diamonds Are Forever (Nettwerk), which continues to luster as one of the best remix compilations, ever. Despite its similar bevy of leading house music producers, Club Sodade is not quite at that level -- mostly, the remixes here don't stray beyond the chill-out category you'd expect of Evora. Few move into the never-before-imagined heights that so many of Bassey's remixers reached amazingly well. But a couple do. Remixer Kerri Chandler does it twice on Club Sodade. Together DJ Rock and Demon Ritchie do too, turning out a full-flavor house brew of the title track. And then there's Señor Coconut. Evora's original version of the Mexican classic ballad "Besame Mucho" was a despairing ode that sounded as if she recorded it just after a bad breakup, in an empty, smoky bar. Coconut strips it down to just her resonating contralto vocals as he creates a frenzied remix that follows a Cuban cha-cha beat. Like this compilation itself, it makes you smile, it makes you chuckle, it makes you move. But it also makes you long for the sentimentality of Evora's original…

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Janet Jackson: Damita Jo

Daft Club

Club Sodade

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