In history the fusing of two genres sometimes yields great results, i.e. Run DMC and Aerosmith and Jay-Z with Linkin Park. But to have something monumental come from this type of collaboration, all parties involved have to be fully committed. There has been many times this just didn’t work (anyone remember the Loud Rocks compilation?). So once again it’s on, pop rock superstars Maroon 5 have teamed up with some of hip-hop elites. Call and Response has a new twist, as they also allow the house music producers to get in on the action. The results are some classic reworks but also some fall-on-your-face flops.
The album starts out with Swizz Beatz remixing “If I Never See Your Face Again”. Instead of coming up with something original, Swizz tweaks the “Peter Piper” break to make the song slightly clubbier. This doesn’t do a lot for this writer. From here though, the album gets very interesting. Mark Ronson’s rendition of “Wake Up Call” features the Queen of R&B Soul, Mary J Blige. With Ronson’s chops and Mary’s vocals this song goes from a 3 to 5. Questlove of the Roots steps in to remix “Sunday Morning” which turns out to be the perfect marriage. One of this writer’s favorite original Maroon 5 tracks is “Make Me Wonder”. They enlist Just Blaze for the remix, but unfortunately he doesn’t deliver. Taking a track that was 115 bpm down to 86 bpm, drags down the energy, forcing you to hit the skip button. Tricky Stewart is next up to the plate with his synthed out version of Maroon’s biggest hit “This Love”. This time a bpm change is a welcome change making this a perfect warm-up for any club DJ.
A slew of uninspired remixes ensue over the next 25 minutes which makes you almost switch CDs. Pharrell, DJ Quik, David Banner and the Cool Kids all fail to top the originals. Unknowns Bloodshy and Avant along with Of Montreal butcher “Little of Your Time”, while indie rockers Deerhoof pull off a decent rendition of “Goodnight Goodnight” and while Tiesto makes “Not Falling Part” a great addition to a DJ’s House set. Ali Shaheed and Doc do a nice number on “Better that We Break”, but the listener is left waiting and hoping that something classic comes from this album.
The wait ends with the DJ Premier Remix of “Secret”, taking a mellow ballad to a certified boom bap classic. This is exactly what any hip-hop fan was hoping for. Premier’s signature chops along with his scratches will have you anticipating the new album from Blaq Poet. The Sam Ferrar Remix of “Woman” gives you that “Brown Sugar” feel while another “This Love” Remix by Cut Copy is more of just an instrumental house track than a remix. To finish off the album Paul Oakenfold electrifies “If I Never See Your Face Again”, but doesn’t really stand out among anything else in that genre.
All in all would you say Call and Response a success? This writer says yes, we saw producers step out of the comfort zone and deliver some really nice reworks. While others we expected greatness from fell flat. If you aren’t a Maroon 5 fan in the first place this album probably has no place in your library, but deejays and all around music fans will eat this up. - DG
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