Various Artists

Dance Blitz '97

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In the 1990s, there were so many different styles of dance music that anyone who wasn't a real club hound could easily feel confused and intimidated. The dance music of the 1990s ran the gamut, ranging from melodic to not so melodic. From a pop standpoint, a lot of the deep house, Latin freestyle, and hi-NRG that came out in the 1990s was quite accessible -- anyone who appreciates late-1970s disco can get into those styles. But underground rave music is another matter; the techno, acid house, trance, ambient, jungle, drum 'n' bass, tribal, or electronica you might have heard at a 1990s rave didn't necessarily have an actual song structure. A lot of times, you were simply dealing with a track and some scattered samples. So, in a nutshell, a label that assembled a dance compilation could either go the underground route or the pop-disco route. Released in 1997, this two-CD compilation usually favors the latter. Most of the material won't intimate pop audiences; if you like your dance-pop melodic and accessible, you shouldn't have a problem getting into Gale Robinson's "I Feel Love," Ixiomara's "ABC of Love," Feel Good's "I Really Love You," or Iesha's "Easy Love." And Cold Front/K-Tel certainly has its pop bases covered by including Los Chicos' version of "Macarena" and Too Loud's remake of the Rolling Stones' "Miss You." But while underground rave music isn't dominant, it isn't excluded either. Frogman's goofy "Big Frogs" and Dance Floor's "Ya You Know House" (an example of acid house) are two of the sets more radical offerings -- neither have a real song structure and both are rave-friendly. So Dance Blitz '97 gets high marks its diversity and its lack of predictability; if this were a jazz release, you would be getting hard bop and cool jazz as the main course but avant-garde jazz as a side dish. Those who are looking for a 1990s dance compilation that is generally melodic but occasionally radical and left of center would do well to investigate Dance Blitz '97.

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