In the Cookie Jar
Glee star Lea Michele continues her evolution into first-rate pop princess with her latest release Places (Columbia Records). From the first chords of the hauntingly gorgeous “Love Is Alive,” we see a very different Lea Michele than the Rachel Berry of yesteryear. “Run To You” is a scorching torch song to a lover, while “Proud” is a low tempo track that could be a song to a lost lover of long ago. With the emotional upheaval that has been a part of her personal life within the past few years, Michele has rebounded with aplomb, and belting out songs like the beautifully arranged “Getaway Car” and the remix ready “Tornado” near the end of the album, shows that we will be hearing this voice on our radios (and hopefully our Broadway stages) for many years to come.
Bob The Drag Queen’s collaboration with the insanely talented Mitch Ferrino “Purse First” was one of the hottest tracks of the summer last year, with remixes coming in from both Drew G and Wayne G., Mr. Ferrino has put his magic touch on another signature “Bitch Track” partnering up with not one, but four of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season Nine ladies. New York City’s Peppermint, Sasha Velour, Aja, and Alexis Michelle each bring their own individual flavor and perspective to C.L.A.T (Club, Legend, Art, Theatre). Each lady has their own verse, and between Peppermint’s impressive rhyming skills, Sasha’s high art style, Alexis’s theater dame tribute, and Aja’s house stomping bridge verse, each lady is able to stamp their own individuality on the track and get a place to shine. Ferinno has the ability to match up a fierce club beat with an equally fierce performer, conspiring to make a late night summer club stomper! The only question left is, where are the remixes?
MARY J BLIGE
In the process of putting the struggle of a public divorce behind her, Mary J. Blige has released one of her most personal albums yet. Historically, borrowing from your own personal challenges can make musical magic, and the release of Strength Of A Woman is no exception (Capitol Records). Tracks like “Love Yourself” and “Set Me Free” are direct hits on Blige’s ex in the best possible way, while tracks like “Thick Of It” and the title track are vintage Blige, with somewhat of a new sheen. “Survivor” is one of the most personal tracks on the album with minimal accompaniment, with “It’s Me” having a dark and mysterious musicality ominously beautiful feeling to it. Of course, it would not be a Mary J. Blige release without a throbbing dance hall track, and “Find The Love” is one of her most optimistic and dance ready since “Just Fine.” Remixes await for this sure to be summer anthem!
With summer anthems on the horizon, one of the biggest ones of the season is sure to be coming from future gay icon Jennifer Hudson. She could sing the telephone book and pack a dance floor, but the mixes to her single “Remember Me” are exactly the kind of high energy dance track every summer needs. She has assembled a pack of remixers on this package that brings a special kind of flavor to each mix. Expectedly, Dave Aude checks in with one of the strongest mixes, keeping the vocals velvet smooth, while tossing a great baseline behind it, while John “J.C.” Carr’s remix has a great and welcome industrial feel, with a great build up. The “Kat Krazy” Remix gives it the mix the big anticipating build up that we need, and drops it into a dub-style mix. The standout on the package is the “Ryan Riback Remix” keeping a consistent baseline behind the track, but giving the chorus the proper attention that it requires, escalating to smooth and high energy, perfect for a Saturday night or a Sunday Tea Dance. If that is not the perfect summer track, what it is?
DJ Matt Bailer – Top 10
- Giorgio Moroder ft. Karen Harding – Good For Me (Extended Mix)
- KIESZA – Dearly Beloved
- SOLANGE – Cranes In The Sky (Kaytranada Remix)
- THE WEEKND ft. Daft Punk – I Feel It Coming (Cosmic Dawn Remix)
- HIFI SEAN ft. Crystal Waters – Testify (Extended Mix)
- LE YOUTH ft. Sydnie – If You’re Leaving (Bit Funk Remix)
- MUNA – I Know A Place (DJ Matt Bailer’s Not My President Refix)
- SOPHIE ELLIS-BEXTOR – Wild Forever (Freemasons Remix)
- MATY NOYES – London
- LORDE – Green Light