Music

Various Artists: Totally Dance

Ben Varkentine

Various Artists

Totally Dance

Label: Arista
US Release Date: 2001-06-26
Amazon
iTunes

If you're a club-hopper you'll know chart hits like Dido's not-so-bad "Thank You" presented here in a "deep dish vocal remix." This is a good indicator of the contents of this collection. Electronic, groovy, beat-heavy songs, drum loops, technotronic synths, samples, cymbals, beats and sometimes soulful vocals blurred together in an electro-pop style designed to appeal to the party/dancefloor crowd.

Besides recent chart successes like Dido and Moby's "South Side" (in original, No Doubtless version) this compilation also includes some attempts at crossing over, such as Trick Daddy's mixing James Brown with KC and the Sunshine Band. You heard me. And KC wins, by the way (again, you heard me). There's also some Eurodance, best represented by the Italian Sarina Paris's "Look at Us", with its derivative, childlike but undeniably catchy in a sugary, hook-filled way melody. The Finnish Darude's "Sandstorm" gets second place. Standing for the new wave is a synth poppy "ringbang mix" of Eddy Grant's "Electric Avenue". Everyone should own at least one version of this song, and there's nothing wrong with this one.

This is as good a dance compilation as most, definitely worse than some, probably better than others. It's performance for you will depend upon your needs. Look up the track listing and, if you know and like three or four of them, buy and enjoy with my compliments.

To be honest I am not sure what more there is to say about a dance music compilation like this one as it's self-descriptive in many ways, really. There's not much of a sociopolitical angle to approach, as PopMatters often does. The songs don't resonate with me personally, so I can't take the tack, as I frequently do, of writing personal essays flimsily disguised as reviews.

There isn't much variety of tone, which might have been nicer, and the NRG level could be higher for my taste, but then I tend to splash down into the pop side of the pop/dance hot tub. The lyrics aren't much either -- where have you gone, Neil and Chris? -- mostly being of the "we've worked so hard, but the night's still young, so let's have fun" variety. It mostly succeeds on the level to which it aspires, though, which isn't a bad thing to do. And the beat goes on, uh-huh.

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