The 1990s were a decade of transition – the end of one era and the beginning of another. The internet started to take hold but wouldn’t be “worldwide” until closer to the new millennium. It was also the final gasps of a time when people could converge in a truly underground fashion. Club culture, alive for decades but truly hitting its stride by the mid-‘70s, peaked in the ‘90s. Billboard published a dance chart, and dance remixes of current hits and even deep cuts started appearing in it and on dancefloors throughout the US and the world, regardless of genre.
Even country hits like “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” received the remix treatment, causing the unfortunate birth of the line-dancing craze. For the most part, however, the clubs where DJs spun these remixes were a safe space for its inhabitants. Dancing, mingling, flirting, entranced with the incessant thump and throb of the kick drum and bass, it was a place to escape, an oasis of freedom from the doubts and judgment of the outside world.
Since the phenomenon was still relatively niche, many mainstream artists were not aware that remixes of their songs were hitting big. One of those artists was kd lang, who was surprised to find a couple of her tracks had even made it to number one on the dance charts. Those mixes and a dozen others make up Makeover, a new collection of classic remixes of high points in kd lang’s catalog throughout the last decade of the 20th-century.
Makeover boasts classic reimagined versions of tracks that originally appeared on 1992’s Ingenue, the 1993 soundtrack of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, 1995’s All You Can Eat, 1997’s Drag, and 2000’s Invincible Summer. Placed here altogether for the first time, it’s a playlist that evokes a hot summer night, pulsating with possibilities and promising to never end, as long as the beat goes on.
The best remixes expand on the original intent, creating its own world in the process instead of just looping the beat and adding scratching effects and stuttering the vocalists’ lines (a la the aforementioned “Boot Scootin’”). The versions here are atmospheric, hypnotic wonders. You can feel the sweat of the dancers and lovers intermingling under blinding strobes and roaming, penetrating laser lights. Producers and DJs that lent their talents here are a who’s who of ’90s dance culture, including Junior Vasquez, Robert Holmes, and Tony Maserati, Tony Garcia, DJ Krush, and others.
The result is an exciting, immersive experience that arrives at the perfect time as we celebrate a new, vaccinated populace ready to hit the dancefloors again, sharing their experiences one-on-one and collectively, enjoying the intimacy only face-to-face contact can provide. Makeover reminds us that after such a long time in lockdown, it’s time to have fun again and make the most of the time we have.