Various Artists

The Annual 1999-2000

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Any seasoned electronic music listener should have a difficult time stomaching the majority of Ministry of Sound's DJ-mix compilations. Besides being little more than marketing vehicles for the U.K. club, these records bastardize the art of DJing in their attempt to appeal to naive, mainstream audiences with their feeble attempts to mix records and construct a journey-like motif. Rather than let DJs Tom Novy and Boy George spin their own records and lay down their own style, Ministry of Sound has them play only the biggest club hits of the year -- primarily house, garage, and trance tunes -- meaning, of course, that there is little continuity between tracks and no underlying style or established motif. When Boy George moves through Paul Johnson's "Get Get Down," Mr. Oizo's "Flat Beat," ATB's "9PM (Till I Come)," Alice Deejay's "Better Off Alone," and Fatboy Slim's "Praise You" over the course of just 70 minutes, there is little chance for the infamous pop singer-turned-DJ to establish any sense of mood or journey. Instead, this album sounds little more than a jaggedly mixed compilation of hits catered towards mainstream audiences who just can't get enough of the infectious gluttony of ATB and Alice Deejay. And if the lack of mixing and continuity isn't enough, this album absolutely reeks of commercial exploitation with its "TV Advertised" sticker and its fat booklet that further markets Ministry of Sound's club and their resident DJs. In sum, this blasphemous attempt to commercialize the club-going experience represents everything wrong with the lowest common denominator-approach of commercial electronic music and why so many seasoned listeners loathe the U.K.'s vain club scene and their pimped DJs.

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