The definition of a remix can be a little hard to pinpoint. How much can you alter before a remix becomes a cover? How much extra sampling can you throw in there before it becomes an altogether new song? When you consider that a lot of music these days samples older, the definition gets even foggier. Let’s also not even consider the fact that most remixes are really just bored people letting a rhythm track loop until you are sick of hearing it. Not all remixes are created equal, but with a high percentage, a good percentage shouldn’t have been created at all. They don’t make you rethink the music that you loved in the first place.
Basically, that means that this list is highly arguable, but if by the end of it, you have found some remixes of songs that you weren’t previously exposed to, then it has done a fantastic job. Don’t take the definitions and the rampant over explanation to heart, it is just music to be listened to, danced to, and loved. This list of songs are actually remixes that outdid the original in such a way that it created a better song than its source material.
So now ten remixes that outdo the original:
1 – Loreena McKennitt – Mummers Dance (Remix) – 4:11
There is an interesting reason I put this one first. The fact is that most people don’t even know that the version of this song that they are familiar with is a remix. Loreena McKennitt is known for her mythology and history inspired, Celtic and World based music, not her pop-locking beats. When Mummers Dance hit the airwaves and went up the charts, it was already remixed from a much longer and methodical version.
2 – MGMT – Electric Feel (Justice Remix) – 5:29
What was originally a light David Bowie sounding sort of indy song becomes an entirely different beast after it is given the remix treatment. Given an electronic, almost disco echo, Electric Feel moves into something closer to a club anthem. With a traditional bass and percussion line that fits it like a glove, this is a remix that overstates precisely what it should, while giving you new aspects of the original to focus on.
3 – U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing (Perfecto Mix) – 6:40
Nothing against the original of this, as it was one of the leading tracks on U2’s Achtung Baby, but when Paul Oakenfeld got a hold of it, you could argue that he not only made it better, but added an element U2 would have added if they had considered it.
4 – Rob Zombie – Dragula (Hot Rod Herman Remix) – 4:37
Hardcore Zombie fans will hate this choice. Dragula is a hard rock classic at this point, but that doesn’t mean that the remix isn’t better. It evolves the song into something different, and the end product, in my opinion, is better than what we started with.
5 – Friendly Fires – Paris (Aeroplane Remix) – 7:44
Sometimes slowing the song down is what changes it, and makes the entire feeling different. This is precisely one of those cases, as the methodical and more pop oriented remix changes up the full intention and feeling of the original.
6 – A Perfect Circle – Judith (Renholder Remix) – 4:57
Maynard of Tool, Puscifer, and A Perfect Circle is considered by many to be one of the great musicians of the last twenty years, so when the hit Judith was given a more slow and industrial beat leading to an ultimate crescendo, who knew it would take off as strong as it did?
7 – Delerium – Silence (DJ Tiesto remix) – 10:21
This remix is close for me. I tend to not like remixes that double the length of the original. The problem there is I find that at some point a DJ forgets to move on, because they are in love with their loop. This track comes close, but the vocals of Sarah McLachlan push it into the better than original category.
8 – Moby – Raining Again (Steve Angello Remix) – 6:54
I would be remiss if I did a list about remixes and didn’t include Moby. The man, similarly to Daft Punk, has made a career out of having his songs taken and turned into other songs by other musicians. Raining Again is a perfect example of a par song that is turned into something much more enjoyable in the stylish hands of Steve Angello.
9 – Linkin Park & Jay-Z – Collision Course (album)
I’m making an exception for this one. Not every track is better than the original, but conceptually there is something here that has never been tried. Mixing two artists albums together to create an entire new property is remixing on an entirely new level.
10 – Blix (Assorted) & Andy Rehfeldt
I am putting these guys together because I can’t figure out precisely how to qualify what they do. To find out what I mean, please go to your local search engine and give him a look. I’m including Rehfeldts viral hit of ‘Enter Sandman (Jazz Remix)’ to prove my point. Is it a remix when they keep the pure original lyrics, but then turn the music into a rock or metal sound? In essence these creative artists are having the original singers do their own covers.