It’s the time of year when everyone thinks “nope, had enough now”, and starts churning out lists of what was supposedly good this year. Rest assured that your favourite dance music blog is swerving this tactic and will deliver plenty of new content over the festive season – but I’ll have more about that early next week.
Anyway, regular readers of the blog might have noticed that the Six On Saturday column has now gone on holiday until the New Year. In years gone by, I quickly discovered that very little gets released during this period – and even less of it is any good. And Traxsource have almost certainly noticed this too – releasing lists in early December of the best tracks on the website throughout the past 12 months.
I thought I’d take a quick trawl of the Top 200 tracks for 2021 chart. My very first thought? Even for dance music, a genre which cannibalises itself with endless unnecessary remixes of past glories, the number in the chart is quite something.
Here’s just a few of them…
#1 The Fog – Been A Long Time (Full Intention 2021 Mix) – originally released in 1993.
#2 Soul II Soul – Back To Life (Booker T Kings Of Soul Satta Dub) – originally released in 1989.
#9 Junior Jack – Stupidisco (David Penn Extended Mix) – originally released in 2004.
#11 Milk & Sugar Feat. Lizzy Pattinson – Let The Sunshine (Purple Disco Machine Extended Remix) – originally released in 2003.
#13 Ministers De La Funk Feat. Jocelyn Brown – Believe (Kurd Maverick Extended Revamp) – originally released in 1999.
#16 Adeva – In And Out Of My Life (Michael Gray Remix) – originally released in 1988.
#23 Blaze Feat. Barbara Tucker – Most Precious Love (Michael Gray Remix) – originally released in 2005.
#27 First Choice – Let No Man Put Asunder (Alan Dixon Remix) – originally released in 1984.
#65 Kathy Brown – Happy People (Michael Gray Remix) – originally released in 1999.
#132 Stephanie Cooke – Alright (Fizzikx Vocal Remix) – originally released in 2004.
Let me emphasise one thing – I’m not saying these remixes are all bad. For example, Fizzikx’s rework of Stephanie Cooke was rather good, and the Booker T dub of Soul II Soul is actually up for a Grammy Award next month. But I don’t understand why there need to be so many – and remember this list isn’t a comprehensive one.
Then again, what do we honestly expect? Years ago, songs typically only had to compete against other songs out at the time. Nowadays thanks to streaming, every other song that’s on the service is competition. No wonder that record labels keep resorting to cannibalising their archive – a trend which, I must note, Mr Michael Gray has done rather nicely from for the past year.
This is one of the reasons why I’ve given up making music. The current ecosystem simply isn’t built for supporting new music – labels could put out five new songs and one remix of an old one, and the remix ends up doing ten times as much on streaming. It means a lot of brilliant new records out there, which deserve success and recognition well into the future, end up going virtually nowhere.
I just wonder what it’s going to take for people to wake up to this problem. Classics playlists now consist mostly of tracks from the 1980s and 1990s. When someone in 2050 is trying to compile a playlist of classics from the 2020s, what the hell are they going to put in it? In a culture where streams last just seconds and DJs only play songs once, how on earth is a big record supposed to gain any real traction?
I really hope 2022 is a year where this problem finally starts to improve. Because if it doesn’t, it’s going to deter a lot of people from making dance music in the first place. I know it did for me…