By including an edgier group of producers and remixers (Thievery Corporation, Sly & Robbie, Talvin Singh, Junior Boys) and one previously unreleased song (DMC’s “Just Like Me”), Sarah McLachlan’s new remix album, Bloom, does one better than its predecessor, 2001’s Remixed. Unfortunately, “Just Like Me” finds McLachlan reduced to a hook-singer—remixed by will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, the song is inconsequential at best and will only give Bloom added value for the hardest core of McLachlan’s minions. (For dance music fans, it will be an unnecessary nuisance easily remedied by their iPods.) The fact that Bloom otherwise focuses primarily on songs from McLachlan’s last studio album, Afterglow, is initially worrisome, but most of the artists here perform a kind of a rescue breathing on that record’s exhaustingly sluggish material. Junkie XL’s Club Mix (included here in edited form) took the socially conscious “World On Fire” to the top of the club charts earlier this year, a radio edit of which might have made the single’s Public Service Announcement-style video a bit less cloying, while opulent strings and alternately measured and driving beats are matched with McLachlan’s chilling vocal performance on Dusted’s remix of “Ice,” a track from 1993’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. The sole oldie here is the Kate Bush-influenced “Vox,” remixed by Tom Middleton of Global Communication fame. “Stupid,” on the other hand, is nearly fumbled by Hyper: After restructuring the b-section “Everything changes, everything falls apart” into what appears to be the remix’s primary, sobering lyrical theme, the track reveals itself to be a bit more conventional, looping the chorus without any of the original’s urgency. Likewise, the hit “Fallen” is given the conventional club treatment by Gabriel & Dresden, who also happen to have a Nettwerk album titled Bloom, which, coincidentally, includes the full-length version of McLachlan’s “World On Fire” remix. It’s a small world on fire after all.
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