Prime Cuts: Help Me Make It through the Night (Fear of Tigers Remix), Can't Fight the Moonlight (Alias Remix), Grace
Maybe it's because she's in the news so often that we forget, LeAnn Rimes' last country top 5 hit is almost a decade old when "Something's Gotta Give" made it all the way to #2 in 2005. Sadly her musical career ever since has had been overshadowed by her own personal life where she had become a regular tabloid fodder. To compound on her spiraling problems, Rimes' recording imprint Curb Records has a tacit retention program where artists on their roster are made to make for ages before a new album is issued. Rimes, like many of her former label mates (including Wynonna Judd, Tim McGraw, and Jo Dee Messina) was made to endure one delay after another when she had a new album on hand. This has thus retarded her ability to place singles onto the charts in a systematic and timely manner. Nevertheless, with all the social and political faux pas aside, Rimes is a stellar singer where her effervescent soprano has the charisma, the range, and the flexibility to perform vocal acrobats in the league of Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Carrie Underwood.
"Dance Like You Don't Give A... Greatest Hits Remixes" is the first compilation to get out of Curb Records' heavily guarded door after Rimes' contract with the imprint came to a wrap up last year with the release of her final Curb album "Spitfire." Curb Records, who is notorious for churning up "greatest hits" collections (if in doubt, count the number of compilations Tim McGraw has), is up to their forte again with this release. However, to the credit of the label, this is not just your average "best of" collection. Rather, these 13 tracks find Curb employing some of the best DJs and producers, including Dave Aude, 7th Heaven, Digital Dog, Cicada, Soul Seekerz and others, to add their creativity into the remixing of Rimes' formerly released singles. And to add further kow-tow to Curb Records, they have also attached a never released song "Grace" as the final cut of this set.
Save for the formerly unreleased "Grace," most of the songs here come from Rimes' later albums. This means that there are no songs actually lifted from Rimes' earlier (and more country) releases. Rather, most of these songs come either from movie soundtracks or songs postdating 2006. Three of Rimes' biggest soundtrack offerings are here. The Alias remix of the Coyote Ugly theme song "Can't Fight the Moonlight" gets a bloated electronic embellishment giving it a science-fiction feel that brings out another dimension to this song that exalts the powers of moon. "How Do I Live," arguably one of Rimes' most successful pop hit which 69 weeks on Billboard's Hot 100, is best left untouched. The mechanical sped up version of the Cahill Remix simply empties the song of its romantic sweetness. The same can be said about Digital Dog's mix of "I Need You" which falters on too many elongated notes that somehow pilfer the song of its emotional exigency.
What really works, albeit surprisingly, is Fear of Tigers' treatment of Kris Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through the Night." The stately and not overwhelming electronic vibe creates an anticipation that adds further drama as the protagonist eases into the loving arms of her paramour. "Gasoline and Matches" is Rimes' final assault at the country chart last year. Here she returns with a Miranda Lambert-esque tough chic fight back that gains further street cred with Dave Aude's deft touches. Given Rimes' tattered reputation in the press, tracks such as "Crazy Women" and "You've Ruined Me" are not only paltry in their melodies but they are not the wisest songs lyrically to even consider. Much more redemptive is the never released "Grace" which once again puts Rimes' powerful vocals back on center stage again.
The album would have worked a tad better if some of Rimes' more melodious (and successful) hits such as "Blue," "One Way Ticket," "Commitment" and even her rendition of Prince's "Purple Rain" were included. But for what it is, "Dance Like You Don't Give A... Greatest Hits Remixes" is satisfying but not perfect.
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