It is really hard to come up with a review of a remix album considering that we have not had the pleasure of hearing the album that was the impetus for these remixes. Still, the tracks can be evaluated on the merit that they alone hold, which means that the opening track “World On Fire”, despite its extended time provides listeners with a solid beat and a compelling use of McLachlan’s vocals. The extended opening of “Ice (Dusted Mix) is almost enough to wreck the continuity that the disc had began to show, but the re-mixer was cognizant enough to have McLachlan’s vocals kick in at an opportune time.
The slightly Middle Eastern-influence to the track is interesting, but the slower style of the track really places it outside the realm of dance music. The track still is decent, however and will be perfect to sit back and strap on a set of headphones for. The retro (at least looking back to the nineties) feel of the Tom Middleton Mix really puts “Vox” into a sort of timeless haze that will get dance bars jumping, regardless of whether they like pumping Tori Amos or Cher through the system. What is perhaps the strongest thing about this remix CD is the fact that it does not have five or six iterations of the same track. Call me old-fashioned, but I really feel that even there is a limit to how much one can tinker with a track before the listeners become bored.
The dichotomy between soft, slower tracks and those that just feel cut-out for the dance crowd is interesting to hear; throughout this remix album there seems to be an equal focus on those more down-tempo tracks and the more up-beat tracks, really providing a non-answer to the question: which does McLachlan do better? By having two different crews working with the tracks on “Bloom”, Sarah has made sure that the album is even wider in focus than it must have originally been; for example, there is an R&B meets Latino beat that dominates “Train Wreck” that is just not replicated anywhere else on the disc. Many dance albums are extraneous purchases, really only suitable for true fans but the quality of the tracks are so high on this album that this should be recommended to anyone, regardless of whether they are typically a fan of McLaughlin or not.
Top Tracks: Just Like Me, Stupid (Hyper Remix)
Sarah McLachlan – Bloom Remix Album / 2005 Arista / 10 Tracks / http://www.sarahmclachlan.com / http://www.arista.com / Reviewed 16 September 2005