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LABEL: Sheffield Tunes RELEASE DATE: March 5, 2005 GENRE: Latin House
// review by Jeff

Scooter goes suave.

Scooter's known for experimenting with all different styles of music -- happy hardcore, trance, house, electro, synthpop, dubstep, pop, and that one terrible attempt at folk. But in 2004, they took a strange turn by opting to suckle from merengue, the popular dance music of Latin America for their album "Mind The Gap" with the track "Suavemente", based on the song of the same name by Latin musician Elvis Crespo. In the end, the album version was a strange blend of trance beats and Latin flair, serving as a sort of entryway into the world of house music. I had never paid much attention to that track as it never quite stood out for me amongst all the others. Stranger yet: it was later reworked as a single.

The Radio Edit starts us out literally: with the sounds of tuning into a radio! Then the standard house beats fly in and blonde MC frontman H.P. Baxxter dives right in with his wacky lyrics, solidifying his position that he should never be taken seriously. And then the chorus hits: almost a direct pull of Crespo's "Suavemente" refrain, but with more dancefloor-friendly beats. With all of these elements in place, you'd think it would be a catastrophic mess, but to be honest, it's not all that bad if you are in the right frame of mind. Might be even better if you're a bit inebriated, of course. The Extended version is the full, uncut edition, though it's more or less a stretched version of what you already found in the Radio Edit.

But we're not through yet! There's a Club Mix, which is similar, though without any vocals by H.P. and also a bit more trance-based, as opposed to the general house feel of the previous two tracks. As well, we also get the Original Club mix, which is shorter and is basically akin to the album version, though why they put so many similar mixes on this single is beyond me. Last but not least, I had hoped for a delightful B-Side, but my prayers were only partially answered with the inclusion of a shorter version of Trance-Atlantic, a massive trancer also from "Mind The Gap". It's been clipped by a couple of minutes, but that just eliminates some of the fat of what I consider to be perhaps the best track from that album. Definitely a great way to close out the single.

Suavemente was quite the risk for Scooter, causing them to venture out into strange new audio territory. The result is a mixed blessing: it's great to explore different musical styles, but I think they should stick with what they know best and work with that more frequently. As more recent times have indicated, their journeys with unique sounds have not resulted in the same levels of success as yesteryear. All in all, however, Suavemente is quite an oddity in the band's history, but I'll still recommend a listen.


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