What Are You Listening To? : “B in the Mix, The Remixes Vol. 2”

Lucas Villa
Promotions Manager

Photo Courtesy of Jive Records

Pop songstress Britney Spears is back (at least, in remixed form) on her latest compilation set, “B in the Mix, The Remixes Vol. 2.” This 10-track album is a sequel to the 2005 first edition of remixes that was treated as more as an underground fan release, with the set receiving minimal promotion. “Vol. 2,” on the other hand, seems to follow the trend of the holiday release, where record labels try to cash in on their artists by having them release awkwardly timed Christmas albums, re-releases of their current record or a remix set.

While the original “B in the Mix” featured a previously unreleased track and special remix edits for fans, “Vol. 2” seems like more of an obvious sales ploy because it features all previously released remixes, spanning from Britney’s magnum opus “Blackout,” her comeback album “Circus” and this year’s “Femme Fatale.” This blatant commercialism doesn’t detract from the quality of the album’s remixes though. “Vol. 2” has well-known DJs like Tiësto and Benny Benassi’s take on Britney’s well known hits, turning them into club anthems.

The best cut on the album is Kaskade’s club mix of Britney’s “Gimme More.” Kaskade breathes new life into the dark track, with his house-influenced remix. The wall of synthesizers sound that encompasses Britney’s breathy come-ons of wanting more makes the chorus even more epic. Despite the omission of the classic “It’s Britney, bitch!” line, Kaskade gives the song a nice rave-like update that could have the 2007 single easily compete with the best of the electronic sound on mainstream radio today.

DJ Alex Suarez revamps “Till the World Ends” with a remix sonically heavier and grimier than the electro-pop original. Suarez puts “World” into overdrive, sending the track into another galaxy with trance-like undertones, a massive chorus and sporadic breakdowns of dotted synthesizers, urgently bouncing around over handclaps. The remix gives Spears a more confident sound on the song.

One of the more fun and playful remixes on the album is U-Tern’s sassy update of Britney’s controversial “If U Seek Amy.” U-Tern plucks “Amy” from the “Circus” and lays the track out along the Las Vegas Strip, with his addition of funky guitar licks, dramatic violin strings and disco-influenced synthesizers. This track is definitely the most off-kilter remix of the album, but also the most ambitious and imaginative of the bunch.

The rest of the album follows the production success of the aforementioned DJs. Gareth Emery gives new meaning to Britney’s line “taking out my freak tonight” in his beautifully primal interpretation of “I Wanna Go.” Tiësto does a hypnotic reworking of “Piece of Me” that is distorted in ambient trance. Britney’s latest single “Criminal” also receives a very slight tweaking on the radio mix with a harder bass line and added melodies that betters the original, but still keeps the track’s mid-tempo folksy charm intact.

“B in the Mix, The Remixes Vol. 2” may be another holiday sales booster for RCA records, but the album still delivers, in terms of compiling the best remixes DJs have made of Spears and her hits over the past five years. This record is a testament to Britney not only as a pop artist, but an electronic dance muse for remixers and producers alike. It’s Britney remixed, reinvented and ready to party.