Living in Nashville is both a curse and a blessing for people making dance music. The curse is, of course, the overwhelming focus on country music and the traditions associated with it. The blessing is a plethora of singers and songwriters looking for a break and willing to experiment. Nashville is a songwriting town, so if you are a producer who makes a great track, finding a singer to write a topline is just an ad on a bulletin board away. Sylvane is the more upfront/aggressive pseudonym of Lenny B, who is better known for making commercial remixes. On “Light Me Up,” he flips the focus of progressive house. Whereas tracks by Zedd and Avicii are normally passive, meaning they that play in the background with a mellow energy, this track uses a lot of the familiar stadium/progressive sounds but transforms them into something energetic and aggressive with electro, but not a standard soundalike festival banger track. While you can hear a hint of country in Sweet Melissa’s strong vocals (especially in the last syllable of each line), the lyrics take the track from club to radio-friendly pop. Both remixes are similar to the original but manage to focus on a different flavor (or influence of another producer). If you are wondering what an Arty remix would sound like, check out Dennis Pederson’s mix, and if you are a fan of Walden, then Jus Jack & Oza’s will be your mix of choice.
Honestly, when someone told me that they heard a dance cover of “Take My Breath Away” on Fusion Radio, I was thinking to myself, “please, Lord, no.” To say that I had low expectations would be a mild understatement. You know how when you are about to get a shot at the doctor and tense your arm in fear – that’s kind of what I was doing when I was about to listen to it. My delusional drama was more than unfounded. Operatically-trained Sylvia Tosun takes the classic Berlin ‘Top Gun’ theme song in a fresh new direction – not the expected karaoke-lite Hi-NRG cover – but a modern progressive vocal pop record. Yes, you get the vibe of the original singer Terri Nunn, but with a mix of Enya and Amba Shepard as Sylvia’s soothing yet powerful vocals elevate the new version beyond expectations. The track doesn’t even sound like what you would expect from Bimbo Jones – it sounds more like Markus Schulz channeling Zedd. Let me make it clear that I am a huge fan of Bimbo Jones’ Hi-NRG commercial sound, but together with their recent mix of Zedd’s “Stay the Night” – this new direction from them is unexpected and quite wonderful. This song would fit on A State of Trance radio show just as easily as it would make bears rush to the dancefloor at a leather bar. Sylvia has two other tracks that are buzzing in the trance world (“There Are No Words” with Andrew Rayel and “Eye 2 Eye” with Aly & Fila and Roger Shah), but I am hoping that “Take My Breath Away” encourages her to update even more classic songs with modern EDM styles (future house, electro, and even trap) for a new generation of listeners.
The Nickelodeon star turned pop princess is gradually growing up, with the edgy and sexy (for her) duet with Iggy Azalea crossing over to become her first pop hit. Time for her to hit the clubs with a full-on EDM track. While she has had club remixes in the past (“Right There,” “Baby I,” “The Way”), this is her first full-on original dance production, courtesy of Zedd. It sounds pretty much like you would expect, a very pop production with excellent vocals (comparisons to early Mariah Carey have been abundant) and so many catchy hooks that you would think Zedd wrote this for Katy Perry instead. With the radio success of “Problems” and the recent Zedd collaborations, this will no doubt get massive success and probably lead to even more major collaborations for Zedd. Flashback to when BT worked with ‘N Sync, we can expect a lot more of that over the next few months.