I have to admit, I approached Motown Remixed with some trepidation. I was hard pressed to think that even some of the industry's finest DJs could do anything creative enough to classic Motown standards to make me want to give a listen. My thinking was, with the sounds of Motown etched so deeply into the collective consciousness of the public, do we really need a remix cd? Of course, I'd heard the cd was quite good, but 'good' is relative, you know?
After a quick perusal of the titles and liner notes, I was pleased to see some of the usual suspects as contributors (i.e. DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Spinna). But was it any good?
The short answer is yes. Very good.
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't expect anyone from the Motown generation to appreciate hearing these 21st century interpretations of the songs they grew up on, but it's perfectly good stuff for Gens X and Y. These aren't bastardized renditions of the classics, but re-imaginings, the DJs keeping the “Motown Sound” intact, while creating something new and innovative. Da Producers' breezy, groove-filled take on “Let's Get It On” sounds like Marvin was right there in the studio with them during the recording process while Smokey's “Quiet Storm (Groove Boutique Remix)” never sounded better.
Other stand-outs include “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (Gladys Knight and the Pips) and “The Tears Of A Clown” (Smokey Robinson and the Miracles), though honestly, the entire cd is a solid collection (I couldn't help but chuckle a bit at the crunkified take on the Jackson 5's “ABC”). Last but not least, the re-working of Rick James' “Mary Jane” is just hot, and a reminder that though he's perceived as something of a joke to some of the younger folks out there (due in no small part to Dave Chappelle and his own antics), in his day, Rick James was a huge talent who made enormous contributions to popular music.
You can listen to Motown Remixed here.