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LABEL: Positiva RELEASE DATE: July 31, 2007 GENRE: Trance
// review by Jeff

One of the key kings of trance pops up again... with a Pussycat Doll!

Paul van Dyk is still considered as one of the biggest DJs in the world; his name is known worldwide, and his fans can be found worldwide as well. He has the wonderful opportunity to play in clubs and venues all over the world, an opportunity that most DJs can only dream about. Yet although his primary occupation remains being a disc jockey, every once in a while, Mr. van Dyk takes a little time off and heads to his production studio to crank out something new. His productions aren't exactly smash hits in the dance charts worldwide, but usually they aren't horrible duds either. And with every new album (and single) that he releases, there is high interest and even higher expectations for the quality. Such was the case with Paul van Dyk's 2007 album, "In Between", an album that supposedly took three years to produce. Reactions to the album were mixed; criticisms often revolved around the higher focus on the 'poppy' aspect that surrounds many songs. The first single from the album is a testament to the pop credo; "White Lies", featuring the vocals of Jessica Sutta from the Pussycat Dolls, is composed with a more mainstream feel to it. Heck, just hiring a Pussycat Doll for your vocals is enough to make it a pop single. So was this move towards pop a good one, or has van Dyk created a monstrosity within his natural trance universe?

The Radio Edit gives you all the basics that you need: a steady beat, some funky bass synth, and some twinkly stuff in the background. There's even elements of... is that a reverbed Spanish guitar wedged between verses? Gasp! Real instruments in a trance tune? Blasphemy! Of course, let's not forget the vocal stylings of Miss Jessica Sutta of the Pussycat Dolls. Unless there's been some serious editing going on during the production phase, I'd say that Jessica has a decent singing voice. It's not quite at the diva quality level, but it's fair. The song itself is catchy enough as well (enough to top the Billboard Hot Dance charts, at least), but I have to say that the overall effect of "White Lies" doesn't seem to last as long as other pop tunes of today. I wouldn't dare declare this a horrible song, but it will not be one that will ever be considered a pop or trance classic five or ten years down the road. The L.A. Mix, also produced by Paul van Dyk, is pretty much the extended version of the radio edit. Anything you found awesome in the short version, you'll enjoy for a longer period of time here. Meanwhile, the Berlin Vocal Mix and Berlin Mix editions are standard trance fare. Co-produced with popular German trance producer Alex M.O.R.P.H., this is pretty much what you'd expect of a trance remix of anything. Nothing particularly exciting stands out in these two tracks. The only difference in these two tracks, if you couldn't already tell, is that one has Jessica's vocals and, well, one doesn't.

Following this, popular remix candidate Dave Spoon takes his toll on "White Lies", and the result is palpable. Establishing a more electro feel to the track, this one is perhaps more suited for the clubs than the original if dancing to monotone bass jabs is your thrill. Eventually, more of a melody comes in, although it is far from creative. Faded vocals are interspersed throughout the track, but for well over three minutes, they take a distant backseat in favour of the generic-sounding electro sound. The refrain vocals are wedged in there for good measure, but ultimately this is a dry remix with very little to distinguish it as fantastic. Then the Aural Float Remix takes the song in a completely different direction. Establishing an Ibiza-influenced chill-out vibe, this mix could easily be the best of the bunch with a solid simple bass, mystic pads, a subtle slow beat and sensual plucked guitars to level out the tune. The only downside to this otherwise calming remix is that the vocals feel a bit 'pasted on'; that is, they don't quite fit in with the rest of the song. The Aural Float Remix would be better off as its own song in a completely different venue, and while it is appreciated here, should not be a remix of "White Lies".

To sum up the single, I can only say that the poppy vision of Paul van Dyk was initially a worthwhile effort, but it did not translate well into remix form. Any remixes available here do not complement or add significantly to the original version, and so it's best to just consider them more as bonus tracks than anything else. Your best bet is to say true to the original, although even the allure of that mix will wear off relatively quickly. Overall, not a bad track, but remixers should be better chosen for future endeavors.


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