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Sam Taylor-Wood

I'm in Love with a German Film Star

(Kompakt; US: 21 Oct 2008; UK: 20 Oct 2008)

If the idea of one of the Young British Artists (they of unmade beds and shark tanks) covering the lone hit of 80s dream poppers The Passions, raises eyebrows and interest, you aren’t alone. Past YBA forays into music have been a mixed bag at best, not to mention that we’re dealing with some of the most pretentious creatives in the world. True to her nature as a visual artist, the cover art for Sam Taylor-Wood’s EP, I’m in Love with a German Film Star, is perfectly gorgeous. Dressed as Marlene Dietrich, the potential object of affection for title track, Taylor-Wood’s blemish-free appearance and complementary cigarette suggest the ethereal disco pop contained inside. 


The radio edit of “I’m In Love” passes by as a ho-hum moment, due in equal parts to producers Pet Shop Boys checking their trademark flamboyance at the door, and Taylor-Wood’s breathy vocals, threatening to dissolve at any moment. Much better is the “PSB Symphonic Mix,” double the length of the radio edit, where the Boys are given free reign to extend the instrumental passages and introduce a penultimate detour to clashing symphonic samples. Taylor-Wood shines brighter in this environment, feeling more sultry and relaxed than on the stiff radio edit. 


The remaining two remixes, from Mark Reeder and Gui Boratto, are each pleasant without fundamentally altering the chord and beat structure of the song. Reeder’s “Stuck in the 80’s Remix” introduces more present percussion and some extra arpeggiated synth bubbles, while Boratto’s mix features tremolo guitar twang but otherwise gets lost in itself for an unnecessarily long seven and a half minutes. Altogether, the EP is an interesting excursion from Taylor-Wood, whose removed vocal presence happens to mesh well with the material, and Pet Shop Boys, whose theatrics are once again valuable assets.

Rating:

David Abravanel is based physically in Brooklyn, NY, cosmically linked to Portland, OR and based metaphysically in the Dreamtime.


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