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Spotlight on: Joyride: Remixes by Mirah

Cover of Joyride: Remixes by Mirah Mirah, Joyride: Remixes

Like most K Records artists, Mirah has never been afraid of collaboration. She's been on several other K Records artists' albums, and has never shied away from having guests on her own albums. (And, of course, the entire concept of Songs from the Black Mountain Music Project was about collaboration.) This work style culminated in her allowing several other artists to remix her songs, a project that resulted in the double-disc offering titled Joyride: Remixes.

Apparently some songs are just as popular with remixers as they are with her fans, as "The Light," "La Familia," "Make It Hot," "Don't Die in Me," "Apples in the Trees," and "Advisory Committee" are all given two different treatments. And some of the remixers weren't satisfied with just go-round, so Bryce Panic, YACHT, and Shawn Parke give their reimaginings of two songs each. Also, songs from Advisory Committee were chosen most often, with C'mon Miracle a close second and, surprisingly, You Think It's Like This, But Really It's Like This a distant third.

Of course, the level of tinkering differs from track to track, from adding just a little enhancement to completely rearranging or obscuring the song to the point where it's all but unrecognizable (Pash and screamclub, how could you do that to "Apples in the Trees" and "We're Both So Sorry," respectively?). From my perspective, the highlights tended to be the ones that rethought the original execution and came up with something new that changed the song without losing the essence of Mirah. Some good examples are the darker tone Ben Adorable added to "Sweepstakes Prize" (making it sound a bit like a Cure song) and how YACHT's Jona Bechtolt (also of The Blow) slowed down Mirah's vocals on "Jerusalem" (though in the end, I felt Bechtolt's take detracted from the meaning of the song).

Surprisingly, some remixes actually improved on the originals, like Electrosexual & Abberline's "Cold Cold Water," which not only changes the tone, but also enhances the lyrics, and Shawn Parke's "Nobody Has to Stay." DJ Beyonda also brings the lyrics of "The Light" to the fore, even more than the original version, by focusing on percussion and letting Mirah's voice take the melody all by itself (it's certainly powerful enough to do so).

Some other highlights are how Chris Baker takes the heart of "La Familia" straight to the dance floor, and Bryce Panic gives "Apples in the Trees" a taste of '80s new wave and adds a Singers–style recording of the chorus in Spanish. A lot of the remixes on Joyride, though, are simply misguided. The otherwise-brilliant Mount Eerie adds an interesting rhythm section to "Don't Die in Me" but also clogs it up with found sounds and reverse tracking. Krts' "The Dogs of B.A." tries for drama that already exists in the song, so adding to it feels overwrought. The "Make It Hot" remix by Tender Forever has a schizophrenic feel, as if there was no guiding concept. And Lucky Dragons' "Pollen" has a confusing rhythm that only occasionally matches the meter of the lyrics.

Remixes in general are hit or miss, and this music anthology is a perfect example of that. Several of the remixes make you wonder what the remixer was thinking, but many of them succeed at offering a new perspective of a time-tested song. Mirah fans will likely react in different ways to different songs, but that can only lead to interesting discussions about the merits of each piece. But what's better, Joyride: Remixes encourages a new appreciation of the source material, Mirah's original songs.

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