Big vocals & bright new superstars

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LeAnn Rimes
LeAnn Rimes
In the Cookie Jar

LeAnn Rimes 

Since she tore onto dance floors with a little help from the boys of Thunderouss 2000 with her iconic mix of her anthem “How Do I Live”, LeAnn Rimes has always been a favorite on the dance floor. Her latest single “Love Line” is a country winged track off of her latest album “Remnants,” but she has wisely traded in her cowgirl boots for stilettos and taken this one to the dance floor with some scorching mixes. The “Alex Acosta Club Remix” gives the track a classic dance feel with a very dub heavy vocal, with his “Dub Remix” being a nice pairing if you’re looking to extend the club remix a bit longer. For quite some time, Dave Aude has partnered up with Rimes and given her some of the biggest dance hits of her career. From earlier days with “I Need You” to more recent tracks like “Long Live Love” and off of the Remnants album, “Love Is Love Is Love”, which is what propelled Rimes to be a smash hit at New York City Pride this year. As expected, he delivers here as well. Keeping a simple beat behind Rimes, and letting her vocals do the talking, he turns this country track into a haunting early evening track with a slight 80’s vibe.

Shea Coulee
Shea Coulee

Shea Coulee 

After coming within an eyelash hair to snatching the crown on last season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Shea Coulee released an EP titled Coulee-D and it’s one of the most inventive and creatively gorgeous albums to come out of a “Ru-Girl” “Cocky” offers up Coulee laying down slick and sharp verses, sometimes battling other rappers. While Coulee may let them take the spotlight for a bar or two, this album is definitely all about Ms. Coulee. On the up-tempo “Feeling So,” Coulee experiments with an electronic tinged track that allows Shea’s vocals to be the true centerpiece. While comparisons to Luther Vandross vocally would be more than fair, Coulee adds his own flair to the track, making it both yearningly gorgeous, but definitely ready for the dance floor with the right remix. “Ride” slows down the EP, bringing Coulee to a smoother vocal space, with a creatively structured track. The track is experimental, and the kind of range that is great to see out of Drag Race ladies who hit the recording studio. Instead of cranking out a cookie cutter dance track, they experiment with new sound and mix genres, and in Shea Coulee’s case, to smashing success.

The Greatest Showman Soundtrack
The Greatest Showman Soundtrack

The Greatest Showman Soundtrack

Right off the bat, The Greatest Showman is the quintessential holiday movie. Between romance, drama, anticipation, and the gorgeous Hugh Jackman portraying the iconic (and culturally relevant) P.T. Barnum, this film checks all the boxes for a true holiday film. I would be remiss if I did not mention that the overreaching reason that the film is so gorgeous is the stunningly gorgeous soundtrack, with original songs by the dynamic Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. By now, many of us have gotten to see the videos of the cast and some guest stars singing some of the amazing songs from the soundtrack as the show took shape (If not YouTube them; seeing Hugh Jackman rip into “From Now On” while on vocal rest is beyond incredible, and a true film musical moment). From the first strains of “The Greatest Show” you are fully aware that you are in for an epic soundtrack. “Come Alive” is a dance-tastic cast number, while “Rewrite The Stars”, is a vocally charged duet that is brilliantly shared by Hollywood darlings Zac Efron and Zedaya, who are entrenched in chemistry in this film. Michelle Williams checks in with the ethereal and pure “Tightrope” and “From Now On” is shared by star Hugh Jackman and the entire ensemble, creating a brilliant and raucous anthem led by Jackmans’s bold vocals. The crowing jewel of this soundtrack though, is the beyond sublime Keala Settle’s rendition of “This Is Me” an original song created for this film by Pasek and Paul. Like “And I’m Telling You” crowned Jennifer Hudson as a new member of the Hollywood community during “Dreamgirls”, Settle’s guttural and raw performance of “This Is Me” could do the same for her. The vocals on this song are simply astounding.

David Morales & Janice Robinson 
David Morales & Janice Robinson

David Morales & Janice Robinson 

Not since Deborah Cox partnered up with music geniuses like Tony Moran and Hex Hector has there been a partnership like Janice Robinson and David Morales. With last summer’s gargantuan “There Must Be Love” taking flight everywhere from the United States to Rome and back again, we saw how Morales’ brilliant production and mixing, when melded with Robinson’s achingly stunning vocals, could make sheer magic on dance floors worldwide. With the latest pairing from their partnership, the gorgeously ethereal Father they bring us back to the dance floor with another soaring production. With the first beats of the “Classic Club Mix” Morales and Robinson bring us what we have grown to love from their pairings; fantastic rhythmic beats and Robinson’s slick and raw vocals, this time with a choir-esque backing, making the track that much more strong and meaningful. The “DM World Mix” mixes it up a bit, tossing the backing vocals up front, leading into Robinson’s vocals and putting those front and center where they belong! Going all the way back to her days in Living Joy with “Dreamer” there is absolutely nothing like the middle of a dance floor with Janice Robinson’s vocals playing, and Father is the latest example of that. The “DM 380 Mix” takes the track in a slightly darker area, bringing it a more ominous yet gorgeous tone, keeping the track as simplistic as possible. Finally, the brilliant Quentin Harris checks in with the “Quentin Harris Crimson Sector Drum Dub” bringing some slamming percussion and electronic sampling to the track, taking it is a totally new and refreshing direction.

Trixie Mattel 
Trixie Mattel

Trixie Mattel 

So many of the ladies of RuPaul’s Drag Race hit the recording studio and give some pretty incredible dance music to the masses post Drag Race. A fan from her Season 7 appearances, Trixie Mattel has operated a little differently, and her release of her full-length album Full Length reflects that and more. A tried and true country album, these tracks could have come straight out of Nashville. Mattel’s “Mama Don’t Make Me Put On The Dress Again” is an upbeat, yet meaningful single, and “Seen My Man” is wonderfully string laden yearning song for a loved one. One of the biggest treats of all is how Mattel truly shines on the ballads on this album. From the simple and heartfelt “I Know You All Over Again” to the breezily beautiful “I’ll Wear Your Ring” Mattel can cut right to your heart. She dives into some boot stomping with “Bluegrass” and some harder guitar with “Make Up Your Mind”, but throughout all of it, Mattel’s simple vocals and gorgeous arrangements make this album and this artist one to get to know in 2018.

Top Ten from DJ Matt Bailer

  1. Kesha – Praying (Russ Rich Remix – DJ Matt Bailer Re-Edit)
  2. HAIM – That Don’t Impress Me Much (Gay Or Foreign Remix)
  3. OFENBACH VS. NICK WATERHOUSE – Katchi
  4. THE RAH BAND – Clouds Across The Moon (Kid Kisgo Remix)
  5. FLUME FT. KAI – Never Be Like You (Funk LeBlanc Remix)
  6. SKOGSRA – Hey Lady (Oliver Nelson Remix)
  7. BECK – Colors
  8. TOVE LO – Disco Tits (Lenno Remix)
  9. FCL – It’s You (Mousse T. Discotronic Remix)
  10. DUA LIPA – New Rules (Initial Talk Remix, Mark Roberts Ultimix, MRK Remix)