Various Artists

Suite Life, Vol. 1

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

A mix of classic driving anthems and ultra-slick urban versions of other classics. The album is a tribute to hotels with sponsorship by way of the Kimpton group. As such, the idea is to cover the breadth of contemporary and classic American traveling. This is done pretty well, jumping from Nat King Cole's rendition of "Route 66" to Herbie Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island," throwing in some swing, and a bit of remixed reggae. The vocal version of "My Funny Valentine" classicized by Chet Baker is remixed from the lounge song to the ultra-lounge song with Big Muff and some electronics. Similarly, Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island" is given its update by way of the mid-'90s hit cover from US3, and the Rolling Stones' "Miss You" is given the full production into a chillout version with Jacqui Naylor. Various electronica from names big (Thievery Corporation) and small (Supreme Beings of Leisure) fills the rest of the album. The mix threatens to be somewhat schizophrenic, especially given the lack of a noticeable direction for the album. At the same time, a nice collage forms as an emergent property of the whole. The album escapes full commercialism, escapes being stuck in nostalgia, and escapes being a basic one-shot of urban sounds waiting to be phased out next week -- all at once. Worth a listen for adventurous souls.

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