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LABEL: Zoo Digital, Kontor Records RELEASE DATE: September 26, 2014 GENRE: Eurodance, Dance-Pop
// review by Jeff

Parts of this song truly are maddening.

Cascada's been around for about a decade now, and for the most part, they've been generally prolific, putting out some of the cheesiest dance music humanly possible. I remember hearing one of their earlier hits, "Everytime We Touch", liking it for all of five minutes, and then quickly coming to the realization the song was pretty barren of any real heart, in favour of simply being commercial schlock. (I believe this was also around the time when I discovered my love of commas, as I've just realized now.) Cascada pops up now and again with different hits; "Evacuate The Dancefloor" wasn't quite as bad, and the following single, "Fever", was even better. But I hadn't heard much from them since, perhaps by mentally pushing them to the wayside in search of deeper tunes. The other day, while YouTubing my little heart out, I stumbled across the video for Cascada's latest single, "Madness", and I thought, "Yeah. I'm not doing anything other than having a sore throat. I might as well check it out. Y'know, see if they got any better, 'cause I'm cool." And I discovered that I like it... and I don't like... all at the same time.

The Video Edit is what I saw, and it's a mix of good and bad. The good: lead singer Natalie Horler's chorus about wanting to be the method to my madness. Her part is actually good, it's a real earworm, and I could listen to that all day, surrounded by swift trance pads. Even the sudden onslaught of a standard dance melody is decent! Then the bad hits: Chicago-based rapper "Tris" (reminds me both of Tetris and delicious Triscuits, neither of which are prominently featured) starts spouting off lyrics about going wild, going hard, and (I quote this directly) taking your "bitch ass home". I didn't really want a dance moment interrupted by this guy's arbitrary anger issues. As well, they throw even more of his generic lyrics overtop of an uninteresting drop, some really bitter, mindless chords, and some trap music. It doesn't fit Natalie's vibe at all and sounds ridiculous. In all, 50% of this song is lovely, and 50% should be somewhere else in the musicverse. It also ends on a sudden note, which shouldn't be.

The single comes with a variety of different remixes, both in radio length and full mixes. The Melbourne Radio Edit is very similar, but replaces the instrumental part behind the rapping for another EDM mess with very little melody to carry it along. Two for two, Natalie's vocal parts are the clear winner. The CJ Stone Edit throws some acoustic guitar sounds in, providing a slightly more Ibiza vibe into the mix. It's a different direction, and it's welcome. He later maintains the dance melody from the original and runs with it until it's a full-fledged floorfiller. He also uses as little of Tris' rapping as he can get away with, so I tip my hat to him again.

Next is the DJ Gollum feat. DJ Cap Radio Edit, which speeds up the tempo a bit and throws us into a hands-up style production. I saw the name "DJ Gollum" and immediately knew that we were going to get hands-up. There's a completely new and uplifting melody here. Tris' rap chunks are also here, but because everything's sped up, it goes by quickly. I also like the vocoding they added to Natalie's voice midway through; it adds a touch of cheekiness.

The Cody Island Radio Edit didn't leave the biggest impression on me, but it's not entirely without merit. A trip through electro-house territory, it also could make your hands fly magically into the air. The instrumentals behind the rap section are neat, filled with squeaky scratches. Cody Island also plays a little with vocal effects as well. Overall, not a bad remix, one that tries its best to pull the focus away from those rap lyrics when they're playing. The SVL Radio Edit brings the package together with a house remix, also using reverbed acoustic guitar samples and sunny plucks to create a solid beach vibe. Heck, he doesn't even TOUCH Tris at all. This one would be great for relaxing by a sunset. It's a good addition to the package. You also get extended versions of all of the above songs if any of them catch your ear.

Ultimately, this song is about the source material, and it sounded like Cascada really was torn between what direction to take. Do they stick with their classic sound, or do they try and roll with the new trends in music? They tried to have it both ways, and it flopped a bit. The old sound actually lured me in, and the new sound pushed me away. Luckily, with the help of some good remixes here, the work is salvaged. Here's hoping the producers of Cascada learn a valuable lesson: stick with what you know, and don't go chasing after everything that's deemed "cool" for a day.


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