Monday, July 05, 1999

Gene Loves Jezebel - Desire: Greatest Hits Remixed

Sometimes you just can't take a key element away from something and have cohesion. John Mellencamp once said that in recording "Jack And Diane" they kept the beat with handclaps and when trying to pull them off - the song fell apart. This is one of those times.

The record label tries to promote the band as some sort of Bauhaus yet only sparse guitar remains on some tracks (if that.) Some darker bands can be hardened in a well-produced mix but here Gene Loves Jezebel has pretty much been cut out of the product. "Jealous" from what is arguably their best album Kiss Of Life is the only track from it on this collection. Yet, they found space for two versions of two other songs "Always A Flame" and "Desire". Three of those four were 'undesirable'. "Suspicion" is also missing when actually it could have used a remix. It also sounds as if the vocals have been re-recorded with less emphasis... the high notes are nowhere to be found. It's as if particular songs were meant to be slaughtered and thankfully they left the other songs alone! Even the signature howl at the beginning of some of the songs is missing.

There are some redeeming factors to this collection. Actually, the highlights are the first songs on this disc. The Mission U.K.'s mix of "Heartache" puts a very nice spin on a great song. The remix by Ex Voto of "Desire" and JLab of "Jealous" do the songs justice. They have subtle keyboard textures, a throbbing bass line and a kick beat that follows through the songs as it it were meant to be there.  Spahn Ranch put a great mix of "Motion Of Love" together into what could be a dance floor anthem.

If you are a diehard collector, some of these remixes might be worth your while. Otherwise, I'd highly recommend waiting for a real "Best Of" collection. I feel more than half of these 14 mixes yanked the essence of the band out of the music for a chance at releasing a product. Give me the originals any day.

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