Review Summary: A fun little ditty, even if it isn't innovative or breathtaking.Chapter VI – Subsection 1: Stranger Things Have Happened
There are essentially two types of remix albums when it comes down to its general composition. There are some that are so haphazardly constructed, piling on the unnecessary use of dubstep and bass drops while utilizing very generic electronic song structures, often coming off as an attempt to milk the cash cow. On the other hand, there are remix albums that so flawlessly fuse together the original product with various electronic elements to produce an extrapolation of an already excellent album. Of course, for every TKOL RMX 1234567
, there’s a Recharged
. Vital. The Remixes
falls into the latter category – although there’s nothing groundbreaking or innovative about it, it manages to get the job done by supplying us with thirteen reinventions of tracks from the Vital
Anberlin’s sixth studio release was perhaps the band’s most electronically-driven album to date, with multitudes of synths that resonated through a majority of the record’s tracks. If anything, that fact makes these remixes feel less different from the originals, staying closer to the roots of its source. Guitarist Joseph Milligan’s remixes of “Innocent” and “Intentions” suffer from this, as both sound nearly identical to the version on Vital
– sure, there might be less synths and a heavier beat in the chorus of the former, but aside from a few minute differences, it may as well not even be a remix. For the most part, Milligan’s work on the record is nothing to write home about, but it isn’t anything to overtly criticize other than the lack of variation. With that said, he does add a pretty nice beat to “Little Tyrants” coupled with some warbling synths. “Orpheum” suffers from barebones production that never really picks up, remaining boring for its whole runtime. Also, the sudden dubstep breakdowns in Nick Rad’s “Unstable” are rather repetitive, and come in contrast to the soft electronica that is prevalent in the majority of the track.
Some of the album’s best remixes come from Queens producer Spacebrother, who adds layers of synths in all the right places while distorting Stephen Christian’s vocals to make them sound more ethereal. Similarly, the piano section following the heavy bass on “Desires” truly proves that Spacebrother can take a great original song and make it his own. The atmosphere contrived in Resist Temptation’s reworking of “God, Drugs & Sex” turns the somber ballad into an upbeat jam that further highlights the duet between Christian and Dupree, yet the song climaxes into a dancefloor anthem as he repeats “let go of me now” over the repeating synths. Although it runs for seven minutes, it never overstays its welcome. “Modern Age” is reinvented by Nick Rad, and the slow crooner becomes a dubstep-laden affair that shines with its excellent use of vocal effects.
There’s nothing special about Vital. The Remixes
. Aside from a spectacular reworking here and there, most of the tracks just pile on the synths and occasionally dubstep. It makes for a repetitive listen at times, and many of guitarist Joseph Milligan’s remixes sound just like the original product. But for all it’s worth, there’s nothing glaringly wrong with it either. It’s just a fun remix album that takes songs from the Vital
sessions and puts them through the electronic treatment. And for that, it does its job pretty damn well, and that’s all I can ask from it. Even though the rest of Anberlin most likely had little to do with the project, leaving it in the hands of mostly unknown local producers managed to do them well.