As with many other popular dance artists who used to be great at instrumental majesty, Ferry Corsten is not immune from inviting guest vocalists. Armin's been doing it, Tiësto's been doing it, and even Ferry Corsten, historically someone who has shied away from it more than the others, is doing it. But instead of pulling in a bigger name, he went in the opposite direction with a relatively unknown one in Jenny Wahlström. Found only in the deepest depths (and that's pretty deep for a depth) of the Swedish electronic music scene, she somehow teamed up with Ferry Corsten for "Many Ways", a song that may have actually pulled Ferry out of his comfort zone more than Jenny...
Having combined trance with electro for quite some time, doing so rather comfortably, Many Ways appeared at a time when Ferry was reclaiming his trance roots, particularly with the album "WKND" the year before. But never has his music been so... mainstream sounding. This doesn't sound like a song by Ferry Corsten. It sounds like a song by some other random artist on a dance compilation. The Radio Edit gives us everything we need to know: a cheerful piano introduction (which barely happens), blended with Jenny's syrupy vocals. Brings a tear to my eye. Not the wet kind, but an actual skin rupture. Even the instrumental chorus which turns to a brazen pad above the piano theme sounds generic. I'm also under the impression that Jenny only recorded a few lines for this song which just get repeated again for the second and third verses. Why even HAVE a second verse if you can't concoct more lyrics? While the track itself isn't horrible by any stretch, it's not extraordinary and it's not Ferry. I think this was an experiment with a commercial sound; subsequent releases on his Flashover label strayed far from this. The Original Mix adds an extra couple of minutes and brings some super trancy pads more to the forefront at times. If those had been more prominent in the Radio Edit, he'd have had something.
Though the original release only contained the Original Mix, a subsequent release only two weeks later added two remixes into the fray. The Will Atkinson Midnight Remix immediately throws you into the arms of electro blips and the introduction to what might be a trance event that will cause your speakers to poof and your body to fly out the window. Okay, I exaggerate slightly. With a different, slightly less chipper but all the more powerful melody in the background, aided by some powerhouse trance synths, British producer Will Atkinson aims to beat the Corst-man at his own game. It is effective! This track's clearly the winner so far.
Also on the ticket is the Row Rocka Remix, which, aside from its obsession with alliteration, also tries to rock the house. But does it usurp Will Atkinson from the throne? Not quite, but he still does his best to try and shake the dancefloor. With a rather subdued buildup, Row Rocka first brings to the table Ferry's piano melody and Jenny's vocals, all overtop a much louder and deeper bassline before leading us into a sound completely opposite the source material: it's a trap! Actually, it's trap music, devoid of melody but making up for it with serious gritty sounds that will spook the squirrels in the neighbourhood. It's quite a dark take on Jenny's upbeat lyrics, but it definitely adds some variety to this remix pack.
The remixes assuredly make this release a bit more palpable, as Ferry's efforts, while commendable enough, aren't exactly the thrill ride we expect from a man of this much experience. Hopefully Ferry steers clear of glaringly saccharine tracks like this and sticks to the path he's known for carving: his own, not the sounds of the day. (Hint: he does. Don't worry.)