CD Review of Distortion on the Dance Floor by Josh Harris

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Distortion on the Dance Floor
starstarno starno starno star Label: Toucan Cove/Universal
Released: 2007
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In the linear notes for Distortion on the Dance Floor Josh Harris says that the concept behind the album was to bring the sounds of rock and dance together. He says “It’s a sound that I feel is still a bit ‘untapped’ and I wanted to put an album together that really captured the marriage of both styles.’ Well, that sure is nice, but time for a reality check. Distortion on the Dance Floor is just another sub-par mix CD by a mediocre DJ featuring second and third-rate dance artists with a couple of big-name stringers thrown in to attract suckers into buying it. Harris’ proposed mission of mixing rock and dance is barely noticeable throughout the entire album, and he comes remotely close to his goal of a couple of times on Distortion on the Dance Floor. Sadly for him both of these times are complete and total failures that serve as some of the worst moments on the album.

The first is his already played-to-death remix of the played-to-death song “Somebody Told Me” by the Killers. Harris’ remix of the Killers’ tune is pretty standard stuff, just adding some vocal effects and uptempo dance-friendly beats to the already easily danceable song. If you’re a fan of the Killers and dance music, then pick up some of their import singles that have remixes on them; you could do what Harris does to their track at home with some freeware audio editing software. Harris’ second notable attempt to mix dance and rock together comes at the end of the CD, when he finishes with a dance remake of Bad Religion’s classic ‘21st Century Digital Boy’ by euro-dance group Groove Coverage. The re-titled version of that seminal '90s punk tune (it’s been gender-modified to ‘21st Century Digital Girl’) is the kind of thing that makes punks cry in agony, like Alvin And The Chipmunks’ punk rock record or Mandy Moore’s take on “One Way or Another.” Groove Coverage is a Euro-dance band from Germany, so they don’t know any better, but if Harris’ goal with this mix was to attract rock fans then he definitely should have avoided stuff like this.

The rest of Distortion is just generic dance music featuring no-name artists like Colleen Kelly and Taxi Doll. Artists you might actually have heard of, such as Hybrid or John Digweed, somehow managed to get stuck on this CD, but any hopes of them livening things up are quickly dashed thanks to the lousy remixed forms they come in. Shockingly enough, the best song of the mix is “Stoned in Love,” which features vocals by the one and only Tom Jones. Say what you will about that cheesy bastard, but he knows when to add his voice to a good dance track (just look at his '80s stuff with Art of Noise).

This mix won’t appeal to rock fans because there’s no rock on it and dance fans have already had their fill of half-assed mix CDs, so they probably won’t bother with this. This ‘marriage’ of rock and dance should end in an annulment.

~James B. Eldred