DJ Sammy

The Annual 2003 America

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Back in the late '70s, disco was the whipping boy of the rock world; everyone from the Ramones to Ted Nugent prayed that it would disappear. But disco proved to be surprisingly durable. Instead of dying, disco changed its name to dance-pop in the '80s, coexisted with rock (or even interacted with it in some cases), and continued to thrive in the '90s and '00s. If you embrace the theory that the basic disco/club mentality became popular when Jerry Butler recorded his hit version of Gamble & Huff's "One Night Affair" in 1972, you can think of this 2002 compilation as a way for disco to celebrate its 30th birthday. Not that DJ Sammy was thinking in such historical and analytical terms when he assembled this two-CD compilation -- his job was simply to pick 26 dance-pop and Euro-dance recordings of the early '00s and present them in an accessible, club-friendly fashion. The Annual 2003 America doesn't stress amelodic rave music; from DJ Encore and Engelina's "Walking in the Sky" and Sophie Ellis-Bextor's "Murder of the Dance Floor" (which is unapologetically reminiscent of '70s disco) to Mad'House's remake of Madonna's "Like a Prayer," pop considerations (as opposed to rave considerations) usually prevail. This compilation is about the beat, but it's also about melody, vocal personality, and real song structures (90 percent of the time, anyway). Of course, it stands to reason that DJ Sammy would be melody-minded and pop-friendly; Sammy and Yanou, after all, are the ones who, in 2002, put out an excellent dance-pop remake of Bryan Adams' "Heaven" (which isn't on this album). Those who like their dance music with a lot of melody and pop appeal should have no problem getting into The Annual 2003 America.

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