Roger Sanchez

Come with Me

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The downside of being an internationally acclaimed DJ is that critics and fans alike expect you to forever push the envelope, and take your sound ever further into the unknown. What if, gawd forbid, you just feel like laying back, taking stock, and making an entertaining but not groundbreaking record? Well, as Roger Sanchez is discovering, your fans will cry foul and the critics will line up to shoot you down. Come with Me, contrary to what you may have heard or read elsewhere, is not an awful album; it's just not the kind of adventurous record listeners have come to expect from the star. But Sanchez is venturing down new paths even while revisiting the past, and creating a slicker, poppier sound, perhaps an attempt to better integrate the pop world he's so busily remixed over the years more dramatically into his own house sound. "Not Enough" is crisp as a potato chip, but its strong melody and soul-laced vocals, so reminiscent of the '80s, is a nostalgic walk down memory lane. "Lost" loses itself down similar old roads, down to its four-on-the-floor rhythm, but with just a tincture of a new romantic shading to the synth. In contrast, "Hot 4 U" acknowledges the impact of both deep house and funk, while "Reason," featuring a strong performance from Omar, blends R&B vocals with some fabulously funked-out guitar and, in an unexpected twist, some old-school-styled rap to boot. "Again," in contrast, is a nod to the spoken word song, in this case a bad luck tale that makes you glad for your own ill fortune, set to insistent beats and boasting an infectious chorus. Alejandro Sanz provides sultry vocals over the warmth of the Spanish-flavored house of "I'm Yours." The Latin-fired, Mediterranean-styled remix of "Take a Chance" may be too slick and clean for some, but should go down a treat in the Med regardless. "Free (Headwinds)" shifts the sound gently toward world music, and boasts strong vocals, elegant synth passages, strong beats, and an exhilarating guitar. The ethereal atmospheres of "Don't Tell Me It's Over" and "Soledad" chill the set down and take it out in a wash of pastel musical shades. With all these numbers, Sanchez appears to be looking back, re-creating the many magical moments and sounds that have gripped the dancefloors over the years. "Turn on the Music," however, is the set standout, rolling together myriad styles into one, a dancehall anthem in the making that melds soul's fire, rock's roar, funk's hip-twitching groove, and house's exhilaration into one ferocious package. It shouts hit from its opening beats. Those searching for new sounds are encouraged to look elsewhere, but for clubbers with a taste for a nostalgic night out, Come with Me is a splendid excursion into house's splendid past.

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