To those who don’t know – EMI Toshiba in Japan likes to release dance compilations called Dancemania. These are notable because of an agreement with Konami, which makes these the licensed tracks that tend to appear on Bemani games. Dancemania Ex 2 is the 26th album in the “main” series, which tends to be fairly standard dance music. Other lines include Speed (which are all overly fast), Bass (now discontinued, almost all booty-bass songs), and a few other smaller lines. Today, I shall be reviewing Ex2.
Listening to each track, one at a time, rating on the standard 1-100 MP3 rating scale. For those who don’t know, I tend to average a rating of 40/100 across all my MP3s. Anything equal to or over 60/100 gets automatic inclusion on my usual playlist.
Captain Jack / Centerfold (130 BPM Move It Remix)
Oh lord, this is a bad start to the album. Isn’t this John Melloncamp? No, in fact, it’s the J. Geils Band. Talking about 80s trash – you want to know how ridiculous they looked?
Am I honestly listening to a CJ cover of a song I hated to begin with? I mean, some of the stupid CJ covers work – Iko Iko was okay – but this is just ridiculously bad. In fact, there’s absolutely nothing redeeming about this song. And that picture made it even worse. 1/100
Creamy / Never Ending Story (Manhattan Clique Extended Remix)
Creamy, of course, also did I Do I Do I Do which is currently being underplayed on Extreme. This isn’t any worse than the other Never Ending Story remix we’ve been subjected to, although it gets a little chipmunky before the refrain. While the last song was just stupid, this one at least doesn’t make me want to turn it off immediately. We’ll go with the pedestrian 40/100.
Atomic Kitten / The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling) (Lasgo Remix)
Oh my god, ANOTHER cover. If it wasn’t for the rest of the track list, I’d just call this Covers 3. Covering Blondie and/or Billie Piper depending on how you’re looking at it…this is very minimal for an Atomic Kitten song, I guess. Meh. 35/100.
Smile.dk / Domo Domo Domo
It’s like Nori Nori Nori crossed with Butterfly! I wish I was joking. Frankly, outside the refrain, this song is fine. But the refrain is SUCH a waste. I’ll be nice and give this 50/100.
Ladybird / Dangerous To Me
Okay, the bassline sounds like Can’t Get You Out Of My Head. The vocals sound a bit like Kylie. This is nothing spectacular, but it’s good – and given how it sucks far less than everything else I’ve been subjected to, let’s go 60/100.
Cream / I’m Back Now
Given that this has a little bit of a female vocal house feel, I’m guessing this isn’t the legendary band Cream. Makes a lot of sense to have a name very similar to another band on the album, too. Still, it’s decent vocal house, it’s not grating on my nerves too much…but it’s missing just a touch of something. 58/100
Funk Project / You Make Me Feel
I can’t get into this. Cheese + standard dance bass line + badly synthed horns + echoed female vocals with lots of “oooOOoOOO” lines = not my cup of tea. It’s not as bad as CJ, though. 37/100
X-Treme / Long Train Running
This will be interesting, since I love both X-treme, and the Bus Stop cover of Long Train Running. Okay, so the vocals sound like they’re done by some BeeGees knock-offs. And alternately, you get some weird “rapping” from the guy who does most of the X-Treme vocals. The reworking of the song itself sounds really good, but the vocals…wow, they really blew the potential on this one. Seven words I never hope to say again – I’ll stick with the Bus Stop version. 40/100
Bus Stop / Let The Music Play
Speak of the devils…WHAT THE HELL IS THIS EURO TRANCE COMING FROM MY SPEAKERS. Female vocals? Okay, odd. Where’s my lisping rapper? Oh, there he is, only it sounds like he’s being sampled – ironically, sort of like he did on Long Train Running. I can deal with this. Expect this to get massive shouts of “THIS SHOULD BE ON DEE DEE ARR” from the fanboys. 65/100
DJ Alligator Project feat. Dr. Alban / I Like To Move It
I have lived in fear of this track since the track list was announced. Dr. Alban appears to be the ones doing the vocals, and his accent (what is that, Indian?) is pretty thick. This seems to be a pretty standard trance cover…oh THERE’S DJ Alligator. Okay, this is really sad – before October, I hadn’t heard the original I Like To Move It in ages. However, thanks to the grand wisdom of Jason Enos, I’ve unfortunately been re-subjected to it and now know what it’s supposed to sound like. So while DJ Alligator does fine on his rap part, and the techno cover is passable, Dr. Alban is SERIOUSLY out of place here. Still, I’m willing to include this into the usual list. 60/100
DJ Rasputin / Katjusha
I Like To Move It gets mixed into this for far too long (50 seconds). And this is just hard trance with goofy sirens mixed in with what I’d imagine is a Russian melody of some sort. They should’ve just gone with the Tetris theme. Not doing anything either way for me. 50/100.
Kirsty Hawkshaw / Fine Day
Standard arena trance that I’ve heard before – surprisingly, this is the same vocalist who did the other trance version. What the difference is outside just the vocalist being credited, I’m not quite sure. Huh, just found out that the original of this was sampled into Halcyon + On + On. Interesting that this is on Dancemania *now*. Passable, if nothing else, but I’ve heard this a lot in the past. 60/100.
Lasgo / Alone
Triplet hoover trance with female vocals. And then some bassline I’ve heard before. Oh wait, this was remixed on FantasiA 3. No wonder it sounds familiar. So this must be the original? Not bad. Sadly, my willpower has been broken down so that the chorus is hooking me. Watch me rate this down in two weeks. 65/100
Milk Inc. / In My Eyes (DJ Philip Radio Edit)
Wow, another Female Vocal Trance track. This even has the stupid breakdown-snare fill comeback that I’ve heard in nearly every “trance” song since 1998. 30/100
Nouvelle Vague / Love and Pride
Wow, now it’s a trance track where the guy SOUNDS like a girl…and it’s just gone ultra-stupid. They sound a bit like wannabe Duran Duran. And the trance melody sounds like Fire from Beatmania 6th Mix. Better than the average we’ve been batting this album, but that’s not saying much. 52/100
Obsession / Your Song (Transensual Mix)
We seem to have dropped back to the lighter dance-trance. Oh good lord no. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. It’s an Elton John cover. A female vocal trance Elton John cover with snare fills and triplet melody and standard bassline. All I need is to put this on endless repeat, get Kyle Snyder freestyling in here, and I can have my own personal hell! 15/100, only because Kate’s going to want to hear it.
LMC feat. Karen West / Everything U Need
Just unremarkable on a whole. Relies more on rhythm and the voice of the female rather than most of the standard trance elements, so I guess that’s something. A pitiful 40/100.
E-Rotic / Fred Come To Bed 2003
And to close out the album, we get another remix of an E-rotic staple – and even though it’s got snare fills and the standard bass line I’ve been bitching about, at least E-rotic can make it INTERESTING. So help me god, I’m giving this a 60/100.
So half the songs are covers of songs I absolutely hate. The majority of the remainders are by the book female vocal trance. Some even hit both of those categories. There are 5 songs on here that I’d be willing to listen to again – and by “willing”, I mean that if they come on my playlist, I’m not going to flip the song immediately.
Skip this, unless you have a desire for pain or the ability to stomach all crappy trance and covers.
I’m tired of the Speed series (Classical Speed was a waste), the main series, as Herbie said, has sucked since 21; I’d really, REALLY like to see another Scorccio mix. Or some more FantasiA. Please, anything except this shit they’ve been churning out.