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Paul Simon / Graceland: The Remixes

Groove Armada & friends move in and remove period features 

In news that should probably be filed alongside ‘Neil Finn joins Fleetwood Mac’, Sony are soon to release Graceland: The Remixes, a new edition of Paul Simon‘s classic 1986 album, with every track ‘reimagined’ by well known remixes. Oh yes…

This 2018 reworking was overseen by ‘project curator’ Michael Gaiman (aka ‘The Duke of New York’) and features different styles such as Deep House, Afro House, Drum n Bass, Tech House etc. and includes the talents likes of Paul Oakenfold, Groove Armada, MIK and Richy Ahmed.

Let’s be honest, on paper, it’s a terrible idea… but hey, it’s worth at least checking out some of the remixes – right?

Well, not really… The MK & KC Lights Remix of Graceland isn’t bad, but Groove Armada’s ‘Dub Redemption’ mix of You Can Call Me Al is absolutely horrendous. So devastating is the level of destruction in this particular ‘reimagining’, that the existence of the original song could only be confirmed by reference to its dental records.

Richey Ahmed’s take on The Boy In The Bubble at least maintains the vocal, but it should have been dubbed the ‘give me a headache, immediately’ mix.

I’m all for artists like Paul Simon being quirky, wacky and unpredictable, but instead of these remixes pulling the rug out from under your low expectations, they simply confirm them. This is woeful. I’m certainly not averse to modern remixes of old tracks per se (see McCartney’s creative Twin Freaks project) but the evidence so far (check out more previews here) suggests that everyone involved in Graceland: The Remixes seems to have simply phoned in some very dull, and rather annoying remixes. The music deserved better than that.

Graceland: The Remixes will be released on CD and 2LP vinyl on 1 June 2018. Extreme caution advised.

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Graceland: The Remixes CD edition

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1. “Homeless (Joris Voorn Final Remix)”
2. “Gumboots (Joyce Muniz Remix)”
3. “I Know What I Know (Sharam’s Motherland Mix)”
4. “Crazy Love, Vol. II (Paul Oakenfold Extended Remix)”
5. “The Boy in the Bubble (Richy Ahmed Remix)”
6. “You Can Call Me Al (Groove Armada Dub Redemption)”
7. “Under African Skies (Rich Pinder/Djoko Vocal Mix)”
8. “Graceland (MK’s KC Lights Remix)”
9. “That Was Your Mother (Gui Boratto Remix)”
10. “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes (Thievery Corporation Remix)”
11. “All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints (Photek Remix)”
12. “Homeless (Joris Voorn Kitchen Table Mix / The Duke of New York’s Edit)”

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Jeeze HK

Why is everyone missing the point with this record? It’s an absolutely brilliant, referential and respectful reference to the original album, interpreted by some of the most accomplished and current producers around today. The original album is not diminished by this artist-sanctioned set of new mixes. I can’t turn this off, it’s so compelling that it’s criminal no-one is giving it a chance. Crazy world. Gui Barotto’s joyful mix of That Was Your Mother is worth the price of the album on it’s own.

Andrew Scoular

I have just bought the album, and yes there are a few gringe worthy tracks on it, but there are also gems. Gui Boratto (to spell his name correctly) takes a track called “That was your mother” and gives it a bit of a swing that is joyful and fun.
Homeless opens the album, retouched by Joris Voorn this is a happy opener, Gumboots which follows bears little resemblance to the original. It is Hypnotic and repetitive in true dance style but boy this is good.

Troy

I think they really need to re-think this album before it comes out on the 1st of June, like instead of making them long remixes make them Edit Radio friendly Remixes and keep most if not all of the lyrics to the songs instead of a few words here and there.

There are some short Edit versions on the album like Graceland and between you and me they sounds the best on this album out of the rest, but You Can Call Me All what a mess of such a great 80’s song if it was up to me i would have asked JXL to remix it since the Elvis Presley song he remixed went number 1# all over the world. Why don’t these Record company’s ever use their heads. This could have been a top selling album if the right people where asked to do edited remix versions, it can still be.

fan

this is probably a genius move to keep Paul Simon out of his planned retirement once he’ll hear this massacre

if not : some people should never have access to an ipad containing e.d.m. apps

FB

Hope this is successful so they will release remix album by other artists… where it’s more expected at least.

william mckinley

Some albums and songs should never be remixed.

Marcelo

Yes it is. These remix are trash and trash.

Neil Kelly

Can’t wait!

MISTAKE ALERT. You said Groove Armada mix of ‘The Boy in the bubble’. Tracklisting states it’s ‘You can call me Al’.

Love the ‘dental records’ bit!

Michel Banen

And I thought the remixes of Bob Marley’s LEGEND were bad…. this is WAY beyond that….. This will hit the sales bins FAST I’m afraid…..

Benjamin Adams

This really is one of the stupidest things I’ve seen come down the pike. Ever.

This oughtta be a career-ender for whoever greenlit it.

DF1CHICAGO

wow…just… holy crap, WHY????????

James Barker

On paper for me this looked interesting. Listening to the Graceland remix I was still quite keen. A little boring remix (certainly heard worse) but the You Can Call Me Al has been butchered! Groove Armada are class and should have treated this all time classic with a little more respect. I have the previous reissues of the album which are great. Still holding out hope some of the other tracks could be good. I loved Re-Mix-inacarnation by Wendy And Lisa when that came out back in the day. Will have to listen fully before I buy it. Having a disc of original mixes (if any existed) as a bonus disc would have sold the package to everyone I’m sure. Maybe a SDE could follow when they have warehouse full of discs (maybe a pallet?) at Sony

Graham Turner

Just wanted to add some love for the Wendy & Lisa Remix album (and also for seeing W&L getting a mention here – surely a rare occurrence?!). There were some great remixes, and remixers, on that album.

I also agree with you in that classic remixes are generally of interest to me much moreso than contemporary re-imaginings. That said, I also really liked The Cure’s ‘Mixed Up’ collection from a similar time as W&L’s, which added a modern ’90s spin on some of their earlier tracks. I see that album is getting a 3CD Deluxe treatment in June – presumably (and hopefully) along with the ‘Torn Down’ mixes that have already been announced for Record Store Day.

Griffin

I’ll pass on this. If they were the original “period” mixes I would buy them. Even when there are only a few. So perhaps a “singles” collection of this album: 7” edit, album version, 7” remix, 12” extended, remix/edit etc.

Hahaha, it’s Sony release, no wonder (it’s the Cyndi Lauper reissue all over again)! Stop wasting time & money on projects like these. Just give us what we want (the original period mixes)! Yes, they can do the new mixes. But I think most of us would only curious to give them a listen. But we won’t be buying. A few days back I bumped into this on soundcloud Pet Shop Boys ” What have I done to deserve this ” (Las Bibas 2016 Club Mix) https://soundcloud.com/lasbibas/psbwhathavelasbibas2016clubmix it’s quite nice. But I won’t cherish it as much as the original period mixes.

John

Belated April fools joke?

Scott G

Utterly appalling.
I will never understand how Paul Simon could let his music be treated in this way…
Does he not own the rights?

Paul Mortimer

I agree with Gareth Taylor, see above….

Grotesque, awful, irrelevant, unlistenable.

The beautiful, innovative, fascinating original songs did NOT need tampering with.

I wonder if Paul S is shuddering at the results of this abomination, or shrugging his shoulders in bemusement at the apparent appeal of such dross, to be shaking his head when & if any royalties arrive :-o

Going to see Paul Simon’s Hyde Park ‘farewell’ concert in July, and am confident in the expectation that these tracks will not sound like these joke remixes!

Rhinojack

I am in the minority here but I grew tired rather quickly of Paul Simon’s original “Graceland” album way back when, simply from over play on the radio and MTV even though I owned the CD. Listening to these remixes would be cruel and unusual punishment for me.

Kauwgompie

Is this for real or are you celebrating April Fools the entire week?
This is much more far fetched than Dub Sandwich. I’m usually a fan of remixes and remix albums but I have to agree this is atrocious. You have to give remixes of this kind time to soak in but even after repeated plays, this is unlistenable.

Chris

What would be interesting to know, is who was approached and then turned down this awful idea.

unique

of all the albums to remix, this must have been near the back of the queue. what paul simon fan wants EDM remixes? and who wants an album with sting and shaggy? Helen keller?

this makes the Fleetwood mac news seem good by comparison

what next? brothers in arms – a hip hop tribute?

Chris Squires

You’ve made me laugh out loud twice in the last 15 minutes. Kudos Unique, kudos.

Ern

One for the landfill then.

Anyone who has listened to these mixes should be paid for enduring this music-less, time-wasting nonsense that was never required or needed in the first place.

Julian H

“Well, not really… The MK & KC Lights Remix of Graceland isn’t bad, but Groove Armada’s ‘Dub Redemption’ mix of The Boy in the Bubble is absolutely horrendous.”

Paul, I’m not seeing that track in the listing… should probably be You Can Call Me Al, right?

CJ Feeney

This should appeal to the Nouveau Vinyl Fans, i.e. those that don’t own a turntable.

After all it’s a nice cover.

Hopefully the 6×12″ 180g box set will be out for Christmas.

Spen Dubz

Best review for a long time, sounds like I wrote it!. Why do they bother?, things like this always sound pants and are just a general embarrassment all round. Remember the Fat Boy Slim mixes of Sympathy For The Devil?, shite, shite shite, and totally unnecessary. Can we have a Front 242 remix of Money. Money, Money by Abba….?

ed

I actually thought this was another april fools joke!

Branny

This would have been a better April fool than the McCartney one.

Daryl

I’m not against remixes of classic songs at all, in fact as a Stones obsessive, I have long-craved a decent remix album like this from them. Three of my favourites are;
Zed’s Dead dubstep remix of Gimme Shelter,
The Soulwax remix of You Can’t Always Get What You Want, and
Dr. Dre’s Miss You remix (which I genuinely think is better than the original.
Even the Beatles’ Love album worked well as a remixed masterpiece.
My point is that done well, remix albums can be a thing of beauty and I really hope that they will continue to happen in future.

This, however is just a casserole of nonsense.
Both You Can Call Me All and The Boy In The Bubble COULD have been amazing, but instead end up coming of like one of those throwaway late-nineties filler b-side remixes.
Shame really, because when I first saw the post I was quite hopeful! After hearing the previews though, I’ma pass.

Daryl

Gosh, the amount of spelling mistakes in that last post was atrocious. Apologies.
I was clearly excited.

CAB

Nah. I think I’ll stick to the Paul McCartney Dub stuff you were promoting last week. Looking forward to hearing Coming Up stripped bare with a fat kick on half meter. Sweet.

Chris Squires

Curious. many people have said it better than I ever could.
One thing does strike me though….. If this is aimed squarely at the youth / clubber market then it is a financial mistake.
a) No-one (or barely anyone) under 30 pays for music so the best anyone involved can hope for is a few thousand streams.
b) No-one (or barely anyone) over 30 or who knew this album first time around or has become an S&G or Paul Simon Fan would give it house room.

I hated this kind of tosh from when I first heard the Orb (no offence to Orb fans) and others mixes of Tubular Bells II and beyond up to Voyager (brilliant album) but then Mike was off his tits for big chunks of time in the 90s, maybe that’s how you have to be to get it……

RJS

Nowadays most under thirties listen to the likes of Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith, so I don’t think that’s the market they’re aiming for. Having listened to the remixes, it’s the sort of music you hear at small clubs found in most capital cities. Small cocktail bar affairs, normally without a dancefloor and where most of the clientele are well-heeled and upwards of 30 and they charge 12 euros for a 330ml bottle of beer. The only surprising thing is that it’s being given a mainstream release. I doubt very much that either Paul Simon or the label are expecting massive sales.

MARK LEVY

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Moneymaking product!

Neil Parnell

The problem with this is mainly down to the choice of remixers…..one of my jobs is a+r’ing remix people for projects…mainly the people chosen are not gonna do sympathetic remixes to the project…much better, more downtempo people could have been chosen, check out Todd Terje’s unofficial rework of diamonds on the souls of her shoes for an example of what im talking about
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dum13nkaN6E

Bob

Argghhhhh…cats sleeping with dogs, the seas turned yellow…surely nature cannot allow such an abomination and fire will surely consume said travesty and wipe from the fabric of existence?!?!

Anthony Hesseltine

I can’t remember the last time I was this perplexed about a release. It makes no sense in concept or timing. I think someone kidnapped him.

Jim Lindsay

One of my all time favourite albums ever, I can’t even listen to one full remix of this awful, I did consider is it an age thing with me that the remixes just aren’t my type of music, nah its just awful, the band Bwani Junction pay proper respect to this album

Jurgen

I bought the 12” vinyl of “Diamonds on the soles of her shoes” and “The boy in the bubble” last year. Second hand, it took me a while to find a copy in excellent condition. They were remixed at that time by Roy Halee, the albums engineer. He did a great job! Sony released in 2012 the Graceland box set without the original 12” versions. So they are still unavailable on CD. The only thing you got more was a demo of “You can call me All” and “Crazy Love”. I don’t understand record companies and I’m glad SDE exists. I won’t buy this new album of awful remixes.
I have my ticket for his “Homeward Bound, The Farewell Tour” because (in my opinion) he is one of the greatest songwriters. But this new release … afwul!

Fitzysbuna

when is the sampled rap version coming out ?

Peter Muscutt

Next week, The Vengaboys unveil their Europop reimagining of Sgt. Pepper’s in its entirety, and Axl Rose gloats over how great Guns ‘n’ Roses’ November Rain sounds after its been subjected to a thorough twelve minute remixing by Clean Bandit.

John Manning

Need to find another term for this kind of sacrilege – when I read “remix” I immediately thought “Steve Wilson” and never imagined something as bad as what the two examples here reveal to be the unrecognisable, drivelling truth.

Phil

I’ve a horrible feeling this will be played pre concert at Paul Simon’s shows this summer – a cunning ploy to keep people at the merchandise booths!!

Peter Muscutt

It might drive them away in droves, Phil!!! A patented ‘Paul Simon Repellent’!

Guy

Would have like to have heard a Deep Forest or Enigma/MC Cretu remix…

Richard

Paul, you’ve should had done this review on april 1st ….

PLS no more jokes keep it with serious music releases

Ken.e

It’s been a strange music day Neil Finn joins Fleetwood Mac and this. Wow!

I put both videos on at the same time far better that way.

Stan C

Dental records… Paul, you took me OUT with that one/lol.

Randy Metro

Deja vu: 40th Anniversary T.Rex Remixes (2017) are mostly unlistenable.

These remix overhaul/projects rarely work. The only exception I can think of, is the Zance ZTT remixes of Grace Jones’ Slave to the Rhythm in 1994.

Danny

The PNAU vs Elton John thing from a few years ago was pretty good…

Neil

I just listened that You Can Call Me Al mix and i have to say what a pile of horse manure.

Carl

What an abomination – no thanks!!

Gisabun

Gross.

Ken A.

This is the laziest form of ‘remixing’, making a dance track, and laying the original vocals or instrumental snippets on top of it. There have been a number of remixes that successfully reconfigure a song in a totally new light, but they do them within the context of the original song. This is just clubbing at 2am with DJ Generik dropping samples on top of some new beats.

Pritam

I so wish today was 1st April and this too would be a joke; we would laugh & forget!

Jeff

One more thing… Paul you were on fire with your write up on this today! Kudos to you for not taking the PC route and major props for giving one of the best laughs I have had in a while.

Great comedy… greatly appreciated. Love the site!

Thanks and All The Best – Jeff

Steve W

So…. be honest – should I buy it then? :p

Klaus

If your record collection includes all volumes of “Now! That’s What I Call Pointless!” you should give it a go.

Jeff

Wow! New all time low for any artist… think of the most preposterous reissue and I guarantee this will surpass it and beat it into submission… as well as its listeners.

My goodness, there have been visits for men to the proctor and women to their OBGYN that have left them feeling more comfortable than to endure more than four minutes of this steamin pile ‘o shizit! You can all me, Ashamed… yo!

David Lock

See what you started with “Dub Sandwich”. I blame SDE for this. (LOL)

Michael Chapman

Absolutely.