[Photo Credit: Mark Brown]
Usually, after listening to an original song, you become connected to that version, and no remix can reach the same level of greatness, let alone prove to be better than the original. However, there are sometimes exceptions. Truly talented producers and DJs can take a good song and actually make it better. Examples are few and far between, but I managed to make a list of my personal favorite remixes. Not only are these remixes great, but they might actually be better than the original songs they're based on.
1. Bleachers - "I Wanna Get Better" - RAC Remix
I actually heard this remix a lot before listening to the original, so I might be a bit biased, but I just really like the rhythms in the remix more than in the original. RAC's remix preserves the vocals completely, but makes an instrumental that sounds smoother and fuller. I especially like the chorus in the remixed version; the rhythms of the guitar and bass are more legato, and sound more powerful than in the original.
2. Fitz and the Tantrums - "Out of My League" - Josh One Remix
Just like with the Bleachers/RAC remix, I've listened to the Josh One Remix more than the original version of "Out of My League." Also like the Bleachers song, the original makes use of more staccato rhythms, while the remix is more smooth. The original also sounds a lot more peppy, while the remix has a more chill vibe. I think the smooth, legato sound of Josh One's version of "Out of My League" sounds fuller and therefore more powerful. I also think the drums in the original version have a cool rhythm, but tend to be more repetitive.
3. Kali Uchis - "Ridin Round" - DJ Dahi, Single Version
The different versions of Kali Uchis' "Ridin Round" aren't actually listed as an original and a remix, but the version on her EP Por Vida
is definitely different from the version released as a single. I didn't actually realize there were two different versions until I played the EP version for a friend who had been exclusively listening to the single version. The newer version was produced by DJ Dahi, and has a cooler vibe than the original. The bass line in the single version really fills out the sound, and the rhythm of the drums is tighter. Overall, the single version sounds like the "right" version of the song.
4. Charli XCX and Rita Ora - "Doing It" - A.G. Cook Remix
The original version of "Doing It" isn't bad - it's a pretty typical-sounding pop song, and the style of the instrumental, especially the bass line and the synths, has a nostalgic sound. For me though, the remix is a lot more interesting. A.G. Cook is one of my favorite producers, and I love what he did with the remix. The remix is a lot more "bubblegum," which is very typical of A.G. Cook. Musically, there are more moments of tension in the remix, which makes for better and more satisfying resolutions.
5. Mike Posner - "I Took a Pill in Ibiza" - Seeb Remix
I actually feel pretty conflicted about choosing between the original and the remix of Mike Posner's "I Took a Pill in Ibiza." I didn't realize until I started looking for songs for this list that the version we've all been hearing on the radio is actually the remix, and the original version of the song is a soft acoustic song. The original really captures the sadness of the lyrics, but obviously the remix is catchy, fun and danceable. At any rate, the general public seems to have chosen the remix over the original; the video for the remix of "I Took a Pill in Ibiza" has over 800 million views, while the original only has about 28 million views on Youtube.
6. Suzanne Vega - "Tom's Diner" - DNA Remix
Again, I feel torn between choosing the original and the remixed version of Suzanne Vega's 1987 song "Tom's Diner." The whole a cappella thing that Suzanne did with the original was really cool and minimalist, while the remix adds a very 90s instrumental that is admittedly kind of repetitive. However, the thing I really like about DNA's remix is the fact that the lyrics are cut off at the end. In the original, Vega goes through the whole description of everything she's noticing as she's sitting in the diner, and when her mind starts wandering onto the topic of a special someone, she sings "I am thinking of your voice...and of the midnight picnic once upon a time before the rain began." In the remix, the lyrics cut off at "I am thinking of your voice…" which I think is a more effective way for the song to end. Ending with just this one line after the long description of her surroundings makes it seem like she trails off into her own thoughts, and there's more of a mystery.
7. The Chainsmokers - "Closer" - 80s Remix
I'm not a fan of the Chainsmokers, and I'm still amazed that their song "Closer" was number one on the charts for as long as it was - the song spent 12 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 list. The original version of "Closer" sounds like it's trying way too hard to be cool and trendy, but just comes off as cheesy sounding. The 80s remix, done by Youtube musician TRONICBOX, is also cheesy, but in the best way possible. The remix turns "Closer" into a dramatic, nostalgic 80s ballad. The comments on the video are also really great - a bunch of people are sharing their "memories" of listening to the song in the 80s. Honestly, I don't think it would take much for any good producer to make a remix that's better than the Chainsmokers' original version.