The 10 Best Remixes You’ve Ever Heard Vol. 2
It goes without saying that the feedback from our Best Remixes Vol. 1 was overwhelming; and now that we compiled enough 100% MUF approved remixes to be considered the best out there, we’ll savor this moment and take this one volume at a time, adding new songs only when we feel we have another good list for Volume 3.
That said, we’ve slowly expanded on our original 10 remixes this time around, carefully selecting each track as if our resume depended on it. Several of these tracks came from selections we featured this year, while others keep surfacing from years past. With the exception of Coldplay (whose remixes we extensively covered) and Avicii, there are hardly any pop remixes on this list, which really makes this list a bit stronger. We wouldn’t bore you with the saturated remixes of pop-symbols such as Lana Del Ray, Chris Brown or even Rihanna. That’s not to say that we wouldn’t invite them in for coffee, but they’ve had their turn.
Our list here focuses on tracks that we’ve truly enjoyed. There’s no fat here. There’s no tracks we felt obligated to put here because of some promotion company. In a world where the Internet is overflowing with various DJs remixing top 40 songs like it’s the end of the world, these remixes are honestly our favorite ones. We hope you can appreciate the indie skew we set here, focusing purely on the elements and overall pleasure we o squeezed out of every track.
If you think a remix belongs on this list, please let us know in the comments below!
While this is our first song on our best remixes list, it is not typical for us to feature pop groups outside of Coldplay. As we’ve seen earlier this year, we had a slew of remixes from Coldplay that rocked our world. The best of all 30+ remixes we featured? To some it may come to no surprise, but Avicii dominated this remix where others could not. Avicii was able to make the best remix of “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall”, Coldplay’s first single from Mylo Xyloto. While a remix from Avicii doesn’t seem all that amazing, consider the elements in the song itself. The off-beat nature deterred many from actually being able to wind a beat around it, but develop their own melody to go along with the vocals. Almost all other amateur efforts seemingly failed, if not miserably, given the complex foundation of this song. “Every Teardrop” was perhaps one of the hardest tracks to remix this past year, but not only did Avicii somehow match up the melody, beat and vocals as a remix, but he did it in fashion adding some of his own elements restaging the entire song.
Phoenix dominated 2009 with their widely-acclaimed album Mozart Amadeus Phoenix. Out of the handful of tracks, which topped charts left and right, “Lasso” was perhaps one of my personal favorites. Once again, like “Every Teardrop”, the beat was unorthodox and the flow of song not easily matching the cookie-cutter 120 bps. Out of every band in 2009, Phoenix was perhaps the most remixed artist with dozens of remixes of “Lasso” done alone. Each remix shared a common thread – the vocals didn’t time properly with the beat. Amateurs left and right tried dropping a repetitive beat over the song, failing miserably. Off-beat rhythms and unmatching percussion do not please my ears. While few DJs were actually able to remix this song, this one remains the most blissfully chilled out track from the lot that was actually executed in time with the vocals. That said, Uphill Racer made the best remix of this song, particularly when it comes to a half-stepped pace with some beautiful effects to add alongside this pop-sensation of a song.
When remixable groups come to mind, Silversun Pickups do not. Their raucous style sets the benchmark for a wild undertaking if any of their tracks were to be actually remixable. However, in a good DJ’s eyes, everything is remixable. Such is the case for Grayarea who dropped SSPU’s best remix yet and perhaps the best we’ll ever see. Electronica oozes out of this track, overflowing at every turn. The rhythm is machinated, the melodies of the original stripped and replaced with some catchy tones. The driving rhythm makes this track a mover. To say this track was well-executed is an understatement.
Of course we have to include a remix by RAC, who have taken the world by storm with their high-quality approach to each remix. While every aspect seems to be picked apart in their remix composition process, if one strength were to be pinpointed, RAC’s strengths typically lie in their beats. Clean snapping beats are delivered while the basics of the song are left alone. The most drawing aspect of this song, besides simply noting that The Shins are genius, is the pop approach which RAC has nailed down to a science. So while there is much quality across the boards to RAC’s songs, the key element is the likability which I link to the pop standards the always seem to deliver. The combination of The Shins and RAC sets the mold perfectly for this remix.
Steve Schiltz is one of our idols based simply on Longwave. But let’s explore his more recent project Hurricane Bells in which his style is much of the same, albeit slowed down a bit. In comes Dennis Cahlo, who’s rework was a different test than most remixers get the chance to test themselves with. As Longwave faded away, Hurricane Bells’ second album became more of an exploratory effort for Schiltz. Different instruments are abound in his second album Tides and Tales, which meant more remix fodder for Cahlo. The beauty of this remix lies in the instrumental rhythm here. No “bum, tiss, bum, tiss” here. This remix is sophisticated like a fine red wine.
Listen here and see Tennis get all dressed up like its Prom night. Tennis is transformed into a beautiful creature thanks to Vacationer’s unique touch here. The overall feel of this song is like that of a 50s meets 00’s with a touch of class through some vocal effects and our modern engineering through the “sha-la-la-la-la” during the refrain. The old-styled organ and keyboard additions absolutely make this song. Vocals from Alaina Moore don’t hurt either.
Giselle Rosselli, aka Giselle marks yet another female vocalist on the blocks in our ‘best remixes you’ve every heard’. This one has a tad of dubstep in it, but makes its appearance subtle enough that it doesn’t drive the non-
dubbers away. “Silk” was on repeat for me quite a bit this year, mainly due to the vocals which Giselle controls magnificently enough to drop her tone low like Florence Welch (from Florence & The Machine), then sweetly sing like she’s lulling a baby to sleep. Much love to Ianborg here.
Toro Y Moi is one of those artists half of the world hasn’t listened to, yet has heard the name. Let this be your starting moment if you’ve been on the outside looking in. Moi’s songs are practically set up to be remixed; and wouldn’t you know it if just that happened about a million times over. Lucky for you, we’ve managed to sift through that pile of remixes and find “Still Sound” remixed into a bliss by Vindata. This isn’t one of those club bangers, rather a throwback to the 80s club scene with a sly approach; danceable, yet laid back. The keyboard overhauls the entire track winding itself into a few solos while mixing with equally soothing bass. This remix took me to another place, thanks to a combined effort of Moi and Vindata.
It’s hard to go through an entire summer without hearing Vampire Weekend. The summertime simply compliments the overall feel and light elements used in VW’s songs. But here we see one of the more recent VW tracks “The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance” stripped of its elements leaving only Ezra Koenig at the forefront. I’m not quite sure where ‘Weemix’ came from, but any Google search for Vampire Weekend’s Weemix yields a robust compilation of Vampire Weekend remixes. Many of the remixes on this fan-made remix compilation are just unimpressive beats over the original song. While this track is much of that, it is perhaps the best remix of Vampire Weekend you’ll find. Do go looking elsewhere, this one is tops. Not only does the refrain of the original track wreak of Peter Gabriel influences, but the simple break-beat works astounding here. Drop this one on your next party playlist – Chromeo worked it here.
Grouplove graced commercials all over with “Tongue Tied” and served as a handy go-to track for party-goers. The song’s carefree lyrics “Take me to your best friend’s house I loved you then and I love you now” goes hand-in-hand with the basic remix formula. Combine a song as catchy as this with elements of a 90’s rap anthem (like “Hip Hop Hooray”) and you’ve got yourself one of the best remixes out there. I don’t need to expand on this track any more – it’s the only shoo-in on the list if you’re an avid pop listener yet like to keep things a bit underground.