Everyone loves Martha Wash. From her start as a backup singer for Sylvester to her classic with the Weather Girls “It’s Raining Men” and more than 30 years of club anthems, Martha is beloved in gay clubland as a legendary diva. For 2014, she is back with “I’m Not Coming Down” a house record that shows both the soft and powerful side to her voice. She can sing but she can also sang (as is the proper idiom for her unmatched vocal prowess.) Surely to be featured at every circuit party this summer, It comes as no surprise that it is flying up the Billboard Club Chart and set to reach the pinnacle any day now. One sure sign of how much she is loved by clubland is the sheer volume of remixes with more than 20 different ones currently floating around (Rosabel, Tony Moran, Danny Diggz, DJ Ting, Gustavo Scorpio, Phil B & Leo Frappier, John Le Page & Brian Cua, Todd Terry, Ranny, Alex Acosta, Guy Scheiman, C-Rod, Deep Influence, Giangi Cappai, James Anthony, Wayne G, Mauro Mozart, Guy Scheiman, Albert Cabrera, John Lepage, Gustavo Scorpio, Phil B & Frappier.) As the most remixed record of the year (aside from Cher’s “Take It Like a Man,”) it’s a good thing that we are in a digital age because there is no telling how many cd singles would need to be released to cover all the remixes and dubs. If perchance you’re a dj and can’t find a suitable mix among those, there is even a sick electro bootleg mashup with Showtek. Having worked with Martha several times over the years, she is also a joy to perform with and always has a fun sense of humor. Evidence of this is the video for “I’m Not Coming Down” which is clearly a tongue-in-cheek spoof of the 90s NuHouse meme with her updating the classic “Give It To You” video with hot shirtless men dancing all around her.
Having survived a second bout with breast cancer, singer/songwriter Anastacia returns to the spotlight. Her music first broke into the international pop and club world fifteen years ago and clubland continues to dance to her anthems. So, it almost makes me feel guilty to think that it has been far too long since we’ve heard new original music from her. Yes, there was the tribal track “If I Was Your Boyfriend” that she did with Tony Moran and the “Pride (A Deeper Love)” update she did with Tiesto, but the last taste of club mixes of her own original songs were from her vastly underappreciated Heavy Metal album back in 2008. Anastacia goes back to her pop/rock/dance roots with “Stupid Little Things,” by co-writing with two of her original collaborators, Sam Watters and Louis Biancaniello. The result is a powerful anthem that’s reminiscent of her early classics and screams radio for 2014. For clubland, Manhattan Clique pumps up the tempo for the verse with a commercial and modern electrodisco vibe but then slows it down to a semi-original tempo for the bluesy feel of the chorus. Often times, remixers use the slowdown trick when they can’t get a vocal to fit at a house tempo (or because they are simply too lazy to make it work, but of course, I won’t name names), but the Manhattan Clique duo (Chris Smith and Philip Larsen) show that they got the skills to make a full-fledged power vocal performance work in any context. Drag queens, twinks, and circuit boys, here is one of your summer anthems for 2014.
Just like the other day, when I wrote about Duke Dumont and Disclosure bringing back ’90s underground house, here are two songs that are reviving the seemingly long-lost tribal diva house of the late ’90s. Instead of new faces remaking classic sounds, here we have legendary tribal producer/DJs teaming up with cherished divas to let us have it on the dance floor.? These songs are all about partying and having a good time with sing-a-long choruses over percussive (and explosive tribal beats) kind of like the old school circuit parties. When Deborah Cooper commands you to “get ’em up” while Inaya Day belts out “make some noise,” can you really refuse?????
Images Courtesy of Sugar House / Electronic Kingdom.