We had ask for a Fans perspective and review,someone “out of the box” meaning not a music critic. The prize was the two 12inch “Love is The Healer” vinyl records that the Fan Club had in storage. Enjoy this Fans review as he gives us his review of the “Love to Love You Donna” release, and as always please feel free to comment. Congratulations Jimmie Lee Koetzle of Dallas, Texas.
Album: “Love To Love You, Donna
Artist: Donna Summer
Label: Verve Music Group
Rating: * * * * (out of 5)
“Love To Love You, Donna” is one of many new releases by The Verve Music Group. Artists, such as Mary J. Blige, Lou Doillon, Cody Karey, Natalie Cole, Kan Wakan, Yuna, and more, are represented by this jazz label, which was founded by Norman Granz in 1956. Considering that the label promotes an already established music genre diversity on its roster, the union of Verve and the music of Donna Summer seems rather fitting. After all, Donna Summer is known for being a multi-genre artist and songwriter.
In tribute to The Queen Of Disco, “Love To Love You, Donna” opens up with Summer’s first big hit, befitting of the album’s title. Her collaboration with music producer, Giorgio Moroder, on the original “Love To Love You, Baby”, helped her gain superstardom. Her sensual moans and groans served as the perfect background music to many 70’s public and private parties. With the help of dj/remixer, Chris Cox, Giorgio revisits his 1975 Donna Summer hit and revamps “Love To Love You, Baby” into a modern sounding club track that today’s young and not so young dance music lovers would appreciate. Clocking in at about 4 minutes and 19 seconds, this remix emphasizes the sexiness of the original track while creatively setting Summer’s famous falsetto on top of the beat of today’s EDM (ie. Electronic Dance Music). If you thought the original version was good, this new version is just as good and even more danceable. After all of these years, Summer’s voice still convinces you that she really does love to love you. As the track comes to an end, you could possibly find yourself wishing that it, like the original album version was, at least, 12 minutes and 34 seconds longer.
Donna Summer is best known for her classic dance songs and British dj/music producer, Duke Dumont, continues Summer’s dance legacy by taking her classic hit, “Dim All The Lights”, and turning it into a 90’s house club thumper. No doubt, some will be disappointed by this revision due to its constant repetitiveness of Donna’s vocals. Others, however, will love Dumont’s vision of the disco queen commanding her dance subjects to dim all the lights and ‘dance your heart away’. The focus of this track seems to be on the beat and not so much on Summer’s voice, but it’s sure to be a club favorite as the atmosphere of the mix invokes the memory of Donna Summer and her musical contribution to the genre that made her famous.
Eric Kupper and Frankie Knuckles offer their talents on one of Donna Summer’s biggest rock hits, “Hot Stuff”. On this updated Summer classic, we find Donna singing to a pulsating synth beat, instead of a rock driven beat. The only thing rock oriented about this remix is Summer’s signature rock styled, Grammy Award winning vocal performance. The coupling of Donna Summer’s vocals and Eric and Frankie’s classic EDM eargasm is absolute fire. One of the real treats of this particular track is the creative use of the original song’s guitar riff. One would not know this was a remix of “Hot Stuff” if it weren’t for the riff and, of course, the vocals. Both remixers, seemingly, made it a point to make this song identifiable, musically, by that signature riff. This remix is, indeed, hot stuff!
One could argue that you can’t have a Donna Summer dance album without including “I Feel Love” on the track list. Executive Producer, Bruce Sudano (Donna Summer’s husband), likely would agree. I say this because there isn’t just one remix of “I Feel Love” on “Love To Love You, Donna”, but there are two “I Feel Love” remixes that made it onto this release. The first is by Dutch dj/music producer, Afrojack. His version stays true to the original “I Feel Love”, but he adds musical enhancements that result in an “I Feel Love” that pumps and pounds more so than the original. To some, Afrojack’s version might be a bit too loud and noisy, but to to others, it might come across as a much needed EDM face lift for today’s generation of EDM fans. Not that the 1977 version was in need of a face lift, but it is 2013, not 1977! To appeal to a new generation, sometimes, you’ve go to give them a sound that’s in their musical language. Something that they can further relate to, audibly. Afrojack does just that in spades.
The second “I Feel Love” contribution on this release is by dj/remixer, Benga. His musical vision for this classic dance track is quite dissimilar to Afrojack’s, but it does, indeed, get you moving on the dance floor. There are those, however, who might get bored with this particular “I Feel Love” version, due to its monotonous presentation. However, “Love To Love You, Donna” offers something for everyone. As Summer’s falsetto soars in and out of the mix, Benga’s take on this classic is sure to please many dance music lovers.
In 1982, Donna Summer teamed up with producer, Quincy Jones, for her self titled “Donna Summer” album. The first single off of that album was, “Love Is In Control (Finger On The Trigger)”. Coincidentally, “Love Is In Control (Finger On The Trigger)” was remixed for inclusion on “Love To Love You, Donna” and it, too, was the first single off of this 2013 release. Remixed by Canadian duo Chromeo and Los Angeles based duo, Oliver, “Love Is In Control” is given an 80’s remix treatment that sounds fresh, perky, and upbeat. Summer’s voice sits well in the mix and the song moves along nicely. Fans may find somewhat of a void in this mix, due to its lack of the song’s bridge, which is found in the original version, but Chromeo & Oliver more than make up for it with their consistent dance beat, which keeps you groovin’ to the very end of the track.
“Love To Love You, Donna” boasts five songs from what could possibly be Donna Summer’s most successful album, “Bad Girls”. “Dim All The Lights”, “Hot Stuff”, “Sunset People”, “Our Love”, and “Bad Girls” are all song from her 1979 “Bad Girls” album and they are all featured on “Love To Love You, Donna”. “Sunset People” is remixed by London’s own Hot Chip, who had the pleasure of having two of their “Sunset People” mixes make it onto this project. Both Hot Chip versions are not as upbeat and energetic as the original version, but neither Hot Chip version lacks energy. This updated remix has a new energy and it allows Summer’s lead vocals to shine and come across, like never before.On the original “Sunset People”, Summer comes across as one singing about how wonderful life on Sunset Strip can be. This is due, possibly, to the song’s original energetic, fast paced beat. Hot Chip’s version, however, seemingly, comes across as if to say, life on the Strip isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. This interpretation is due to the more gloomy ambiance that comes across on both Hot Chip’s versions. And, although this may seem critical, it’s not! It just goes to show you how a remix treatment can change the mood and feel of a song. Both Hot Chip remixes appear to be fan favorites. It should be mentioned, however, that the short Hot Chip version is available on the non-deluxe release of “Love To Love You, Donna”, while the longer version of Hot Chip’s “Sunset People” is available only on the iTunes deluxe version.
“Bad Girls” is also a Donna classic that is remixed twice on “Love To Love You, Donna”. Gigamesh takes his turn on this track with a well thought out musical makeover. The beat is enjoyable, fun, and enticing. Donna’s vocals sound fresh, clear, and strong. And, Gigamesh’s remixing and producing creativity shines through on every turn. Fans of this song will be pleased to hear the ‘Toot, toot, heys, and beep, beeps’ alongside a fresh new sound. The only thing missing are the whistles that are found in the original recording. Nonetheless, Gigamesh grabs your attention from the beginning, assured that your answer to Summer’s question, “Do you wanna’ get down?”, is a resounding, “Yes!”.
German producer and dj, Boys Noize, also shares his vision of “Bad Girls”, which is more in line with Afrojack’s “I Feel Love” in regard to the noise factor. To be sure, noisy doesn’t necessarily mean bad or unlikable. It just means, there’s a lot going on in the mix and you’ve got to really be in sync with the remixer and his vision. This mix opens up with wonderful studio vocals by Donna and the background singers right before the boy gets in yo’ face with his noizy beats. To some, this remix will make no sense, musically, but to others, they will get it and love it. This version is only available on the deluxe version on iTunes and it will keep you on your feet.
For die-hard Donna Summer fans, the inclusion of track #7 (ie. “Working The Midnight Shift”) was a nice addition to this Verve release. The beat is dance pop-ish and sounds really nice. Surprisingly, the lead vocal credits are shared with Tiffany Roth, the lead singer of the group, Midnight Magic. Remixed by Holy Ghost, “Working The Midnight Shift” is predominantly sung by Tiffany. with Donna Summer getting about 15 seconds of vocal time on this track. Efforts were made to include Donna’s original vocals, but, in a recent interview, Bruce Sudano, Donna Summer’s husband, explained how they tried isolating and separating Donna’s vocals from the original mix, but the result wasn’t always a good one, as was the case with “Working The Midnight Shift”. Bruce wanted the song to be on the album, so, it would seem, they went another route and had someone else sing the majority of the song. “Working The Midnight Shift” fits in nicely with the overall eclectic theme of the album.
Next, we come to “MacArthur Park”, a song about a cake being left out in the rain. How does one remix a song like that?Laidback Luke, actually, does this one justice. He adds his well known Laidback Luke EDM icing and manages to pump out a very energetic, pounding dance floor masterpiece, full of the right ingredients. The instrumental is available on the non-deluxe edition, while the remix with vocals is available on the deluxe edition found on iTunes. In addition, you can find a Laidback Luke DJ Mix and Laidback Luke DJ Dub online at Beatport.com.
If you’re looking for a classic Donna Summer song to be remixed in a way that sounds like it’s all over the place, in a good way, look no further! Jacques Greene’s remix of the classic song, “On The Radio” is the remix for you. It is virtually unidentifiable to the original pop hit as it takes on a whole new life and sound of its own. It can almost be described as the music one would hear as one is walking down the stairs into a club located deep in the underground. You can’t figure out what song it is at first, but once you hear the infamous ‘waaoohs’ that Summer invokes in the chorus, you know it’s “On The Radio”. This revamping is a very creative construction of a well known and well put together pop song. It, like the other tracks on “Love To Love You, Donna”, meshes well with the feel of previous well known Verve Mixed and Verve Remixed packages.
Renowned production and remix team, Masters At Work, keep the dance beat going by remixing the hugely popular Donna Summer classic, “Last Dance”. Masters At Work stays true to the song’s form, but adds just a hint of change to the mix so that it veers from the original in a new and creative way, without losing the original’s classic feel. The focus on the lyric, ‘dance with me’, gets repeated several times within this remix and it adds a new flow to the Oscar winning song. Fans of “Last Dance” will appreciate the new feel and sound that Masters At Work have brought to the table on this disco classic.
The final track from the 1979 “Bad Girls” album to be featured on “Love To Love You, Donna” is “Our Love”. It is a bonus track on the non-deluxe issue. On its own, in its original form, “Our Love” can pack a dance floor. On “Love To Love You, Donna”, Krystal Klear attempts, with much success, to give “Our Love” a 2013 musical makeover, which is sure to pack the dance floor as well. As is the case with Duke Dumont’s version of “Dim All The Lights”, Krystal Klear’s remix has vocal repetitions also. However, these will seem less repetitive due to the inclusion of lyrics. The beat and bassline are very welcoming and add a nice touch and feel to this Summer dance standard.
Finally, we come to the previously unreleased track, “La Dolce Vita”, a song that Donna’s husband, Bruce Sudano, sought to have included on the album. This Giorgio Moroder collaboration is a lovely addition among the other dance oriented tracks found on this album. This much appreciated musical gem finds Summer singing with a rather relaxed voice as she’s living the sweet life and singing about it to those who will listen. And, who wouldn’t listen? Her voice echoes to an enchanting composition put to a well defined dance/pop beat. Giorgio also contributes, vocally, as he sings, robotically, ‘She was la dolce vita and I miss her so/She was la dolce vita and we miss her so’. It’s a nice track to place at the end of a track listing that includes old songs that have been given a new sound.
Electronic dance music owes a lot to Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder, for that matter. After all EDM is an evolution of disco and the contribution of Moroder and Summer has had a huge effect on the genre and its subgenres. “Love To Love You, Donna” offers a look inside of what the voice of Donna Summer has inspired and continues to inspire. Hers was the voice of an era and “Love To Love You, Donna” carries that voice into a new era and generation. As EDM continues to grow and progress, the voice of Donna Summer sings alongside it, telling its story to a beat that continues to endure until the very last dance.