Review: Dancemania EX 4

I’ve long believed that the art of being able to stomach a bad album is truly an art form. It takes strong will power, a steady nerve, and grapefruits the size of bowling balls.
Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to listening to Toshiba EMI of Japan’s Dancemania series. With a cult following in the US thanks to Dance Dance Revolution, the series has rapidly gone to shit over the past year with ridiculous covers, generic trance, and an occasional gem.
The recent release of Dancemania EX 4 was greated with groans, and one semi-resounding question – “when is Remy going to review this pile of crap?”
Today is the day, my friends. I have overcome a hard crash which killed 5 of the individual song reviews. I resisted the temptation to play GBA (just got Pokemon Pinball Ruby / Sapphire!), watch DVDs (Mr. Show Season 3!), or read (Al Franken’s new book). Yes, I have put it all aside to listen to this album which will likely just make me wonder what the hell I was thinking.

Prior art:
Dancemania EX 2 Review
Dancemania EX 3 Review
Standard rating system explanation: Songs are rated from 1-100. Over 40 is decent. Over 50 is above average. 60 or higher is on my standard rotation playlist. Over 80 is on my fantastically anal playlist.
The songs have been imported into iTunes – let the aural crapaganza begin.
Mr. Dabada (Groove Wonder Remix) / Carlos Jean
Ooh, it’s Latin-y. It becomes readily apparently that the name for this song derives from the fact that the primary vocal sample is “dabadabadabadabadabom”, moving up and down in a little scale. There’s also some quasi-ragga vocal bits. I can’t tell if this wants to be house, latin, soul, ragga, or what. I’m okay with genre blending, but I’m not okay with throwing shit against a CD and seeing what sticks. 32.
Let’s All Chant / DJ Roma
Oh boy, the use of annoying vocals continues. “ah ah, ah-ah, ah, ah-ah, hey hey, ah-ah-ah”. Still has a little of the latin thing going on, but it certainly feels more disco. This reminds me a bit of Ultimate Heights, except it’s not even remotely as good. Better than the last track, so 35.
U Can’t Touch This / Beam VS. Cyrus feat. MC Hammer
Oh sweet christ.
Katie just came back into the room and asked me “why I was listening to that gay ass song”. I think that would sum it up in short, but this is like listening to a car wreck. You take U Can’t Touch This, and during the verses, you add another bass beat and some crappy tweaky trance effects. During the chorus (as it were), you replace it with a crappy techno version.
Everybody’s Free / Aquagen feat. Rozalla
This is the eleventh time Everybody’s Free has appeared on a Dancemania album. This is beyond overkill, folks. Luckily, this may be the best version we’ve heard, with a nice weaving in of trance elements. Not a great track, but enough to be the first track tonight to break the barrier and hit 50.
Destiny / N-Trance
It’s required by Toshiba law that each Dancemania EX album contain at least one trashy female trance song, either by Lasgo or N-Trance. N-Trance takes the honors this time, and does a surprisingly decent job of not completely sucking. It’s got that feeling like you’ve heard it before, because the melody is done the same way all trance songs are done these days, but it’s decent, and thus deserving of a 40.
Holiday Crime / Greta
I had a long description of why this is such a horrible mashup of genres, but then my machine decided to be kind and crash to stop the pain for a few minutes. This goes from generic hoover trance to tinkly piano (think Starmine) and snare rolls with female vocals. Then it goes into SUPER CHEESE MODE and absolutely knocks me over about how people continue to make music that is somehow worse than all previous other music. Sprinkle in an annoying Jamaican sample and a really shitty hoover breakdown for good measure. COME IN, MISTAH DEEJAY – yeah, he better come in, because I’m going to beat his head in for putting this on. 20, only because I can deal with the snare roll/piano/echo-y vocal part.
One Day / 7th Heaven
One day, someone won’t try and rip off Roxette and fail miserably. How sad is that – they CAN’T do an effective Roxette ripoff. Very standard Europop of the non-bubblegum variety. One day, maybe crap like this won’t appear on Dancemania albums. 30.
Dove (I’ll Be Loving You) (T&F vs. Moltosugo Radio Mix) / Moony
I’m a little saddened to report that this will be receiving a high rating, for reasons slightly beyond my control.
You see…despite the fact that I’ve only reviewed the really shitty Dancemania albums on my website, I do occasionally run across a good dance mix CD. One such CD is Ministry Of Sound’s 21st Century Disco 2003. I’m a sucker for modern disco, and this CD had it in spades. It pulled an average of well over 50 per song, and nothing was below 40. It was, for all intents and purposes, a great album, and I recommend you pick it up.
This song was on that album. And while this is technically a different mix (T&F vs. Moltosugo Radio Mix being music industry jargon for “a minute shorter”), it’s still just as good. You have to get past the flighty vocals a little at first, but it’s good – and I feel compelled to give it the same rating I did before. 60.
Jenny from the Block / TK
And just when I was worried that this album might take an upswing, we hit the J-Lo “cover”. It’s sped up a bit, has a melody line that doesn’t fit in with the refrain in the least, and features liberal chorus effects. Chorus effects, for the unaware, is when you use one vocal performance and layer it over itself a lot at slightly different pitches, so it sounds like multiple people. I hate it when Radiohead does it, and I hate it here. The sad part is that if they had cut out the J-Lo lyrics and recorded something new, this would’ve been FINE. As such, though, we go for 17.
Don’t Believe You’re Leaving /
Is this the longest title for a song in history? Wait, this doesn’t have the traditional “Japanese” feel, this is actually rather dancey. There’s a bit of channeling late 70’s rock electro style effects. And once we hit the refrain, it returns to a little more traditional Katie thinks it’s good, I’m a little more reserved, but I’ll certainly go for a 45.
Fantasy Spaceship / Creamy
Creamy obviously is trying to be now, because this sounds exactly like the sort of crap I’d expect to churn out. I now feel dirty for liking I Do I Do I Do. 25.
Jumpin’ / X-Treme
Oh thank god. X-Treme finally redeems themselves for the awful Long Train Running version 2 discs ago with a great upbeat disco song. The string hits are a little discordant, but the rapping is finally back to decent levels. I have regained my faith in X-Treme. 65.
Sweet Dreams / Liberty
You know you’re in hell when people are covering La Bouche. You know you’re in the inner circles when it’s a trance cover. Slight saving grace: it’s got enough of a retro synth sound at times that it sounds a bit more like a Mr. T song. What kills it: Terrible rapping. 20.
Living Under Water / Infernal
Hey, it’s that plucky string effect that we’ve heard in So Deep and tons of other trance songs. And there’s a snare roll. And there’s female vocals!
I can’t tell you how happy I am that it’s only 1:14 long. Or maybe my copy got cut off. Either way, that makes me happy. 20.
Heart of Gold (Flip & Fill Remix) / Kelly Llorenna
More of the same from Flip & Fill. Very anthem-trance, very much not my bag at the moment, especially with how overpowering Kelly Llorenna is. 30.
Field of Dreams / Flip & Fill feat. Jo James
Now I know this one is cut off. No rating because all I have is 11 seconds.
In summation – outside of the X-treme track, and a song I have on another compilation, there’s nothing to see here. Move along, people.