Groove Line

Wed. May 14, 2008 12:00 AM
by DJ Plez

Or 240 Seconds!
The current buzz on dance floors around the world is centered on the remixes of "4 Minutes," the first single (featuring Justin Timberlake) from Madonna's new album HARD CANDY (WEA/Reprise). I've long advocated that not all songs should be remixed or that a song can't always be effectively remixed for all the various sub-genres of dance. I think "4 Minutes" perfectly proves my latter point as I found the house-ier and melodic official remixes by Tracy Young and Bob Sinclar to be significantly better and more enjoyable than edgier progressive treatments by Peter Rauhofer and Junkie XL. Timberlake's presence and contributions to the song adds a certain level of soulfulness and funk that Young and Sinclar have been able to capture. In the DJ booth in coming weeks I'll most likely play Young's House Mix for the lounge set and Sinclar's Space Funk Mix during a dance floor's pre-peak hours. As for peak hours, to be honest I'll probably try to avoid playing "4 Minutes" despite what I'm sure will be an onslaught of requests; IMHO none of the current iterations really seem that worthy of 2 AM consideration.

Soul Brother #1
While Justin Timberlake may be this generation's "blue-eyed soul brother," the man who carried that title throughout the 1980s and 1990s, George Michael, is out with a greatest hits collection that's quite good. TWENTY FIVE (Aegean/Epic) is a 2-CD, 29-track compilation of Michael's greatest hits over his twenty-five year career. The first CD is called "For Living" and includes "Freedom," "Amazing," "Flawless," two tracks from his Wham! days (including "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" ) and "As," the original Stevie Wonder track that Michael sung with Mary J. Blige. CD2 is titled "For Loving" and it is the real jem of this release, showcasing Michael's captivating voice on stellar ballads such as "Careless Whisper" and "Father Figure." My favorite track is the live performance of "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" by Michael and Elton John. The song, as is the entire album, is exciting and brilliant.

New Talent Alert
My mailbox is often the recipient of CD mailers containing music that is both good and bad from artists who are well-known and famous and from up-and-comers trying to get exposure and acceptance beyond their family, friends, and neighbors. One of the most interesting PR/media kits that I have received in recent months belongs to guitarist/singer Elle Scott, and thankfully the quality of her music matches the creativity of the packaging in which it was contained. Influenced early on by the likes of Judy Collins, The Beatles, and Bob Dylan, Scott's debut album "STORIES FROM THE TREEHOUSE" is an impressive 11-track presentation that pairs strong melodies with smart lyrics about life: the ups and downs, the loves and the losses. I actually first heard about Scott a few weeks before her media kit arrived on my desk: via a stellar Mark Picchiotti dance remix of her first single "Take a Trip." While this jackin' house track is currently in heavy rotation when I'm in the DJ booth, STORIES FROM THE TREEHOUSE, an album by the way that is far from dance-y, is sure to remain in heavy rotation when I'm at home or in the car. This is good stuff here and I encourage you all to not get caught sleeping on the talented Elle Scott. For more info, check out her web site ( or better yet, support this new artist and go buy her album on iTunes.

Round-up –
There's been a bunch of new music to come across my desk during the past couple of month; I unfortunately haven't had the opportunity to tell you about it. Here's a quick rundown of three full-length CDs I think you should seek out.

WHEN YOU KNOW by Dianne Reeves (Blue Note/EMI). I've long been a fan of this very talented jazz vocalist and this new album has her covering a variety of genres with dazzling brilliance. While several pop and R&B divas have recently tackled jazz projects with varying degrees of success, it's nice to have Reeves demonstrate what a true jazz pro can do.

THIRD by Portishead (Mercury/Island). Classified as Electronica Trip-hop by, this inventive and ground-breaking British trio just performed on the main stage at the Coachchella Music Festival, and they are back in our consciousness with their first album in ten years. Definitely not geared for the pop music obsessed or those who like their electronica easily accessible, THIRD is a masterful effort that will reward those with an open and adventuresome musical mind. It may take a few listenings to finally "get it," but your investment in time will be well worth it.

ROBYN by Robyn (Interscope). Remember the huge 1997 international hit "Show Me Love" by Robyn? Well, the Swedish star is back with a fantastically fun CD that has infectious melodies and funky fresh beats. Featuring tracks such as "Who's That Girl" and "Konichiwa Bitches," ROBYN is more than mindless pop; it's a creative and entertaining album that's a must-have.