GIRLS ON TOP – “I WANNA DANCE WITH NUMBERS”
The trick is simple: colder track (by Kraftwerk) and warmer vocal (you know by whom.) The contrast is spectacular; this was one of the first Houston mashups, long before the Internet was paved too thick with them, and it works because there’s a point, one we’ll see happen again.
LMC FT. U2 – “TAKE ME TO THE CLOUDS ABOVE
We played this for our staff on Monday, right when the news had almost sunk in but possibly not completely. This is another mashup — U2′s “With or Without You” and “How Will I Know,” which you’ll see will be sampled a lot, that’s older; between subject matter and scope, it’s no less than celestial. It would’ve been a fitting tribute even if none was needed.
JANE DOZE – “YOUNG HEARTS WANNA BEAT ON THEIR OWN”
This mashup also serves as a fantastic tribute even when one wasn’t needed–it made our top 100 list last year, purely on sound. Have you ever thought Houston’s music just wasn’t relevant, was somehow too old-fashioned? Then how does “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” slot so perfectly with songs that are so perfectly 2011?
ZOOASH – “DANCING IN HOUSTON”
Now let’s narrow it down to one artist. Or, more specifically, two. Sure, this is a Robyn mashup, which seems too trendy, too on-point to be meaningful, but there’s more here. The Robyn/Whitney Houston comparison’s been written about a bit lately; both turn nerves or other feelings like that into joy by virtue of their backing tracks. Specifically, “Dancing On My Own” is sort of like the flip side of “How Will I Know,” what happens when you find out the answer is “how will I know if he really loves me? Oh wait.” It’s also one of the most gorgeously produced dance-pop tracks of the past few years, shot through with twinkles and shimmer much like Houston’s ’80s equivalents.
WHITNEY HOUSTON – “HOW WILL I KNOW” (VOCALS ONLY)
But speaking of. There are three reasons the vocal-only track of “How Will I Know” became such a widespread meme so soon after Houston’s passing. The first is the same reason anything becomes a meme (look at this cool ____!) and isn’t relevant here. The second, though, is how starkly it renders the emotions behind the dance-pop, which sounds immaculate but sometimes gets in the way. the third, of course, is Whitney’s voice. Some things are forever.