A Very Enjoyable Effort
Posted March 29, 2012
(You can also read this review on my dc Talk fansite, dctalkunrestricted.com)
His first remix album in seven years, “Dubbed & Freq’d” is tobyMac’s return to the change-ups that he loves to make and his fans love to hear. It contains a selection of songs from His two most recent studio album - the alt-rock & pop-laced “Portable Sounds” and the uber-poppy “Tonight”. As could be expected from the always-up-with-the-current-trends Toby, many of the remixes contain hints of dubstep, while several others have a very mainstream pop sound. Here is the track-by-track breakdown:
1. Made to Love (Telemitry Remix)
This “popstep” track is a fantastic interpretation of the original song. It stays true to the original song's intent, but gives it a hard-hitting backbeat with killer distorted synths.
2. No Ordinary Love (G-Man Remix)
This is probably my least favorite remix on the album. Although I love the beat & instrumentation, I hate how much the original vocals are sped up - it feels fake, and just ruins it for me. Also, the bridge feels too abrupt - first with that “It’s the re-re-re-re-remix” snippet, and second with that different beat that’s just different enough to make me uncomfortable. But, it is good as a pop-club-dance track.
3. Showstopper (Capital Kings Remix)
This one is sped up too, but unlike the last remix, I REALLY like this one. It’s sped up just the right amount to make the hard-hitting 4-on-the-floor beat work well. It’s a great club remix with more of those buzzy bass synths. It may seem short, but for some reason that doesn’t bother me.
4. City on Our Knees (Golden Snax Remix)
Here is a great, full-fledged dubstep track! Not only is it a great remix, it’s great dubstep - with its sudden drops into silence when the chorus hits, its chopped & pitched vocal snippets, and its fleeting arpeggios, I would love this remix even if I never heard the original.
5. Tonight (Capital Kings Remix)
Here is another club-type remix, and this one is decent by my standards. Could be a bit better, perhaps if the vocals weren’t all but missing from the chorus, and the bass parts didn’t sound like several of the other buzzy, distorted synths on the other dance remixes on this album. But, like “No Ordinary Love”, it’s a good club song, if nothing else.
6. Hold On (Telemitry Remix)
This is the first of the “pop” type remixes, definitely a welcome break from the more club-ish tracks that came before. I almost like this one more than the original song, if only for its more straightforward beats and synth parts that hit just a little bit harder. (Important note on this one: it was originally found on the “deluxe” version of “Tonight”.)
7. Get Back Up (Broke Remix)
If I liked that last remix almost more than the original, then I DEFINITELY “almost-like-this-remix-more-than-the-original” even MORE with this one. It keeps original musical focus just enough and adds just enough new material to make it one of my favorite tracks on the album. It makes it a bit more diverse in its sound, and even a little bit more impactful in the way it feels. For example, I absolutely love the chord changes in the bridge.
8. Boomin’ (UTB Remix) (Featuring Shonlock)
I LOVE this interpretation of this song. It’s got a more hip-hop feel to it, while staying quite pop-ish. I love the way the Toby’s rhythms are changed in a couple places, and I love Shonlock’s intense rap verse. Just an awesome track. (This remix was one of the “bonus remixes” that was released sometime after the original “Portable Sounds”… you can find both of them on digital music stores.)
9. Lose My Soul (Shoc Remix)
This remix was originally given out to Toby’s Twitter followers, and then it appeared on the “City on Our Knees” CD single that came out before “Tonight” was released. At first, I didn’t care for this it too much… although I wanted to, and now I actually like it. It has a heavier beat, and some deceptively simple instrumentation that makes it quite nice to listen to. My only complaint is that it may be too simple in a couple places.
10. Captured (KP Remix)
(This remix also appeared on the deluxe edition of “Tonight”.) I think I DO like this one more than the original. I just like its busier beat more - it seems more creative, and harder-hitting.
11. Ignition (Hot Wired Remix)
This is the other “Portable Sounds” “bonus remix”. It has a very similar sound to the “Boomin’” remix, I think it was made by the same producer? I like this one a lot, but not as much as the “Boomin’” remix.
12. Start Somewhere (X-Zached Remix)
Whoa. This one’s a bit crazy. I’m pretty sure it qualifies as straight-up dubstep, but it’s pretty close either way. It has some insane tempo twisting on it - the remix itself maintains a constant tempo, but the vocals are slowed down in the verses, and twice as fast in the choruses. It actually makes a pretty awesome effect.
All in all, a great release, definitely worth the $10 price tag, even if you’re hardcore enough to already own the five previously-released remixes (like me). If you’ve never really owned a tobyMac album before, this actually may not be a bad place to start, even though it is a remix album.
Made to Love
City on Our Knees
Get Back Up
Least favorite track:
No Ordinary Love
Track that should be put on the radio:
Get Back Up
(because the original was never on the radio, and the remix stands by itself extremely well)
Overall album rating:
4 out of 5 stars
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