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In the Mix: 12″ 80s Dance & Pop

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on August 1, 2007

There’s not a problem that I can’t fix, ‘coz I can do it in the mix

I posted a week or so ago about the compilations of 80s 12″s I had been listening to recently, which have continued to provide me some quality walking-around-the-city music. The compilations are far from perfect though, and just about every disc (six total) has three or four songs that were probably barely listenable in their three and four-minute versions, and are practically unbearable in their extended remixes. I was asked by an internet acquaintance to upload one-disc compilations of the best tracks on each, so I figured as long as I was doing that, I figured I may as well post about it here as well. I’ve got links for the whole mixes, as well as the individual tracks, with a few words on each. D/l a couple, there’s some good times to be had:

Your Heart Sweats, Your Teeth Grind: The Best of 12″ 80s / Pop:

  1. Duran Duran – “Girls on Film (Night Version)” Nocturnal remix of the Duran boys’ US breakthrough, further emphasizing the Chic influence of rhythm section John & Roger Taylor. Hard not to miss the famous photo-click intro, but more Duran Duran is always good news.
  2. Blancmange – “Living on the Ceiling (Remix)” Unfortunately overlooked in the States, this sitar-heavy UK smash is quickly becoming one of my favorite lost synth-pop numbers. Never heard the 7″ version, though, so I don’t really know how it compares.
  3. Godley & Creme – “Cry (Extended Remix)” A couple extra minutes of moaning and pulsating synths bring what is quite possibly the wussiest song ever written to epic proportions of self-pity. And yes, I do (mostly) mean that as a compliment.
  4. Jan Hammer – “Miami Vice Theme (Extended Remix)” Didn’t use to be the biggest fan of the U.S.’s last-ever instrumental #1, but this extendo version helped me realize what a classic combination of blinding egotism and nose-rubbing paranoia this theme song is. Makes me want to rent Season 1 even more.
  5. Erasure – “Victim of Love (12″ Mix)” Never heard this one before, but like the great majority of Erasure songs, it’s solid, over-romantic 80s pop. And the 12″ format treats this one pretty well.
  6. Donna Summer & Musical Youth – “Unconditional Love (Extended Version)” Already said all there is to say on this one.
  7. ABC – “Poison Arrow (US Jazz Mix)” Not exactly an improvement on the original, which’d be pretty hard to top, but an interesting variation. Much mellower than the super-bitter original, the Jazz Mix now has a flute as the song’s lead instrument, which isn’t exactly much of a replacement for Martin Fry’s anguished vocals, but it’s cool to hear what the song’d sound like as lounge-pop.
  8. Wang Chung – “Dance Hall Days (Remix)” Once again, not really superior to Wang Chung’s swinging original, but a fascinating and compellingly dated attempt to modernize the song by adding a faux-hip-hop beat to the song (with guest rap vocals to boot, sort of!) It doesn’t exactly gel, but it’s still possibly my favorite thing on here.
  9. Fine Young Cannibals – “Johnny Come Home (Extended Mix)” Only heard the original once or twice, but this jazzier, jammier version sounds like a step up from the FYC’s forgotten first hit to me. Really would’ve killed for an extra couple minutes of “She Drives Me Crazy” or “Good Thing,” though.
  10. Robert Palmer – “Addicted To Love (12″ Mix)” Not too much difference from the original here, just a slightly longer intro and an additional “Might as well face it!” break. Hardly rocket science, but a little extending the groove of Palmer’s definitive number couldn’t possibly be a bad thing.
  11. The Cure – “Lullaby (Extended Version)” Don’t know why, but I really like dancier remixes of The Cure’s stuff. The “Love Song” 12″ would’ve been preferable, but this eight-minute version of The Cure’s creepy-crawliest hit is still a winner. I probably should’ve bought Mixed Up years ago.
  12. Orange Juice – “Rip It Up (The Intermediate Edit)” Like “Addicted to Love,” not too much difference from the original here, just an extended intro and a new breakdown section providing the outro. The little additions here really do improve the song, though, and coming under the 5:00 mark, doesn’t push it the way some of the other tracks here do. A pleasant update.
  13. Will Powers – “Kissing With Confidence (Extended)” Easily the strangest track on here, a bizarro girl-group / spoken-word hybrid one-off produced by Todd Rundgren. Silly as all hell, but somehow totally irresistible. Must be heard to be believed.

Thinking of a Master Plan: The Best of 12″ 80s / Dance:

  1. Indeep – “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life (12″ Mix)” Don’t even know if there’s a 7″ of Indeep’s catchphrase-spawning soul-disco classic, but 5:38 of this song doesn’t seem nearly long enough. Would’ve liked to have seen the spooky, skeletal Shep Pettibone remix on here, but they already used him on another track, which we’ll see later.
  2. Art of Noise – “Beat Box (Diversion One)” Also not sure I’ve ever heard the shorter version here, but this one’s plenty long at 8:05. Still a great early hip-hop cut-up instrumental, though, sampled recently in that decent Tech N9ne song. The Art of Noise 12″ compilation is fairly essential shit if you’ve never heard it, by the way.
  3. Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam – “I Wonder if I Take You Home (12″ Mix)” The most exceedingly sweet and buoyant of Lisa Lisa’s 80s smashes, given extra emotional weight here with some additional dialogue (“I gave our relationship too much credit!“) and a flexible running-time. Great stuff.
  4. Wham! – “Everything She Wants” By far my favorite of George Michael’s occasionally spotty 80s hit record, if lacking the cultural cache of “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”. Not too much new here, but that extended synth and hi-hat groove is some seriously addictive business.
  5. Level 42 – “Something About You” One of the better late-80s songs to prominently feature synth-horns, taken on by New Order and “Vogue” producer Shep Pettibone. Slightly dated, but definitely an improvement on the original.
  6. Central Line – “Walking Into Sunshine (Orignal Larry Levan 12” Mix) Never heard the original of this, but this is a pretty good light funk number given the works by legendary dance producer Levan.
  7. Eric B. & Rakim – “Paid in Full (Coldcut’s Seven Minutes of Madness Remix)” One of the most famous (and important) remixes of the 80s, and deservedly so. The first great exploration of the possibilites of the sampladelic asthetic, paving the way for a whole bunch of the tracks on here, including great ones by Bomb the Bass and S’Express that I cut for time, and because the extended versions weren’t terribly different from the originals.
  8. Quincy Jones – “Ai No Corrida (12″ Mix)” A semi-rare solo excursion (well, not entirely solo, pretty sure that’s someone else on vocals) by the biggest Grammy Award winner of all-time. Surprisingly good stuff, a little grittier and it could’ve been a Brothers Johnson number (speaking of which, where the hell are they on this comp? Or The Gap Band, for that matter? Not UK-friendly enough?)
  9. Donna Summer – “I Feel Love (Patrick Crowley Remix)” Originally from ’77, but I guess the Patrick Crowley version is different enough to count for the 80s. Stretching Donna Summer’s influential future-disco standard to a whopping 16 minutes, it could probably stand to get shaved down a little, but an “I Feel Love” remix that goes even HEAVIER on the synths can take all the time it needs, really.
  10. Stock, Aitken & Waterman – “Roadblock (12″ Mix)” Like “Ai No Corrida,” a rare step out from behind the decks from UK superproducers Stock, Aitken and Waterman (behind essentially the entire careers of Rick Astley, Bananarama, and countless others). Surprisingly low key and groovy for such crassly commercial dudes, definitely a pleasant surprise, even if they were assholes about M/A/R/R/S sampling it for “Pump Up the Volume”.
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3 Responses to “In the Mix: 12″ 80s Dance & Pop”

  1. billy said

    A most sincere thanks from your internet acquaintance. Definitely what I was hoping for. Nice job.

  2. Mitchell Stirling said

    From another Internet acquaintance, thanks for upping these as I don’t have these two!

  3. Undercooked Sausage said

    I feel pretty cool for having heard most of these.

    lol @ robert palmer followed by the cure. The Cure opened for Robert Palmer once, he was acting like a chode, so simon gallup yelled FUCK ROBERT POLLARD FUCK ROCK N ROLL! after performing an 11 minute version of “The Forest”

    I love that band.

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