Puffy Combs, Roni Size, Armand Van Helden
Sean P. Diddy Combs, It's All About The Benjamins

It's All About The Benjamins

I Will Come to You, Sweet Surrender, and others

Dance remixes of top 40 hits have been spinning away since the Watergate era, but never have they been as abundant, or as surreal, as they are now. Once strictly relegated to clubland, remixes often overtake the singles? original versions on the charts and pop radio.

The results of this cross-pollination can be masterful or comical — a truly remixed bag. On Hanson?s ?I Will Come to You? (Mercury), Todd Terry strips away the power-ballad track and replaces it with clomping house beats. It works, too: The song takes on an almost religious fervor, and Taylor Hanson fulfills his destiny as a teen-in-heat male diva.

If Terry wants to pump up the volume, British DJ Roni Size wants to tear the playhouse down. For Sarah McLachlan?s ?Sweet Surrender? (Arista), Size tosses the song?s beat and chorus, retains snippets of McLachlan?s vocal, and inserts them into a spectral drum-and-bass backdrop. McLachlan sounds less like a Lilith fairy and more like an astronaut cooing forlornly out her porthole.

Then again, less can sometimes be simply less with remixes. On album, Loreena McKennitt?s ?The Mummer?s Dance? (Warner Bros.) is a folk mass for young, romantic Druids. The generic sonics of DNA?s remix zap the original?s alluring mystery — and place more emphasis on McKennitt?s ?Stonehenge?-homage lyrics. Meanwhile, disco overhauls of LeAnn Rimes? ?How Do I Live? (Curb) recast the teen country queen as a virginal dance diva, but the production is model-thin.

Apparently believing ?It?s All About the Benjamins? (Bad Boy) is an anthem for all ages and tastes, Sean ?Puffy? Combs has retooled it for different radio formats. The two rock remixes tack on an alt-rock lineup (Dave Grohl?s drums, Rob Zombie?s belch), but they?re cluttered and cartoonish. The ?Ain?t Armand Mix,? by British DJ Armand Van Helden, sets the song to cold, stark drum-and-bass –which, given the hit?s fixation on money and material gain, may be its most honest manifestation yet.

It's All About The Benjamins
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