Burning issues of our times: Have you seen David Guetta leading Tomorrowland’s main stage crowd in a rousing sing-along of . . . well, look for yourself. Pitchfork dance columnist Philip Sherburne, from whose Twitter account I found this droll little item, openly wondered whether or not Guetta was, in the parlance of our time, “trolling us.”
But take a listen to the current Beatport Top 10 and it’s not difficult to see Guetta’s latest “hit” as less of a troll and more as an endgame of a tendency to blatantly revisit well-known older songs. Guetta merely found the most grandiloquent example of, as Lou Reed put it, “where the absurd court the vulgar.” At least until Pacha Ibiza’s closing night, when he will no doubt whip out “Yes! We Have No Bananas.”
The Top 10 does not peak quite so low. Right below “Suga,” still #1 (covered in last week’s column), is Hi-Lo’s “Renegade Mastah,” the first release on Oliver Heldens’ new Heldeep Records. Hi-Lo’s track runs on the same brash vocal sample as the 1995 dance hit “Renegade Master” by Wildchild, best known in its Fatboy Slim remix from a couple years later. But Hi-Lo’s bulbous low end and a gaseous build (literally—sounds like a balloon filling) could work even without the sample.
#3 brings even more retromania: Freejak, Mr. Belt & Wezol’s “Somebody to Love.” Yes, it’s a cover of the Jefferson Airplane hit, #5 during San Francisco’s 1967 ‘Summer of Love,’ and one of the handful of records from that era to retain most of its original power. This version samples Grace Slick’s vocal and turns it into a hands-in-air banger. It’s like a 3D animated version of a Wonder Years episode. Even the cover image sells it: a young woman with hippie-length blonde hair, colors bright and faintly iridescent, capped by big round yellow sunglasses that deliberately invoke Richard Avedon’s psychedelic portrait of John Lennon. And let’s not forget the origin of Freejak’s name: A flop 1992 sci-fi thriller (Rotten Tomatoes average: 15 percent) best known for co-starring another sixties guy, Mick Jagger.
#5 doesn’t look like a remake: It’s called “Saltwater,” and it’s by Nora En Pure. But then, out of a bumping little deep house groove, comes marching — yes, it’s Spandau Ballet’s “True,” not just one of the most famous songs of the eighties but also one of the most recognized samples of the ’90s, thanks to P.M. Dawn’s “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss,” the first #1 pop hit of the SoundScan era. My response, appropriately, was also “Ah-ha-ha-ha.”
Our survey ends at #14: Joe Stone feat. Montell Jordan’s “The Party (Firebeatz Remix).” Guess which song this samples? That’s right: Jordan’s 1995 R&B smash “This Is How We Do It,” one of the most no-brainer party records ever made. Jordan’s featured credit is a show of class, but it’s also a necessity, since Stone and Firebeatz drop in a giant chunk of the original track’s chorus. You can never be too familiar. Right, David?