By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
The Best Bootlegs in the World Ever
No Label import
2 MANY DJS
As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2
The Action-Packed Mentallist Brings You the Fucking Jams
Violent Turd import
Pop will eat itself, sure, but what to do with the leftovers? For fans of "bootleg" remixes, the answer is to put out a banquet. Adding vocals from song A to music from song B is hardly a new practice, as anyone who remembers the dreaded likes of Stars on 45 or Jive Bunny knows. But unlike those profiteers, current bastard-poppers like Soulwax and Freelance Hellraiser come across like fans of the music they plunder.
The Best Bootlegs in the World Ever extends the practice's joke, and not only by making it available to folks lacking a T1. Pressed on professional-grade discs rather than blue-backed CD-Rs, complete with catalog number and an unlisted bonus track, it's a Bizarro World version of Top 40 compilations like Now and Totally Hits--in content as well as form. Freelance Hellraiser's "A Stroke of Genius" (Christina Aguilera's voice fronts the Strokes' instruments) gets all the ink, but it's just as astounding to hear Destiny's Child's "Bootylicious" straddle Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and the Dead Kennedys. Or Missy Elliott turned into both punk thrasher and a Cured "Lovecat." Or Madison Avenue riding Blur's dumbest, greatest riff. And Kele le Rock's attitudinal vocal from Basement Jaxx's "Romeo" is matched strut-for-strut by the Clash's "Magnificent Seven," creating a hybrid that outflanks its sources.
Best Bootlegs compiles its tracks into a bootleg release--serves 'em right. But As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2, credited to Soulwax alias 2 Many DJs, actually legally cleared each of its 45 credited tracks...in Belgium, where the disc was released. A DJ mix, As Heard contains a few genuinely great moments, e.g., Skee-Lo's "I Wish" atop the Breeders' "Cannonball." But more often, the effect is more impressive than enjoyable. The dizzying juxtapositions--one sequence runs Nena-Destiny's Child-10cc-Dolly Parton-Röyksopp--tend to wear a lot faster than Best Bootlegs' discrete songs.
Kid606, on the other hand, expands his source material instead of trash-compacting it. Like nearly everything else with 606's name on it, The Action Packed Mentallist Brings You the Fucking Jams occasionally overdoes the annoying pseudo-cleverness. His Bikini Kill tribute has nothing on Le Tigre, and his Radiohead and En Vogue a cappellas are tedious. As I Love Music scribe Jess Harvell wrote of titles like "MP3 Killed the CD Star" and "Smack My Glitch Up," "Good lord, does he freelance for Spin?" But when 606 intersperses "Get Ur Freak On" and "Can't Get You Out of My Head" with laptop noise and constantly shifting beats, he makes, if not a full-on banquet, a pretty decent casserole.