The Remix Hit Collection

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No one could ever accuse Austrian hitmaker Falco of being unenthusiastic, as the heady handful of club cuts on The Remix Hit Collection admirably demonstrates. And while, yes, these mixes fall into the category of overtly gratuitous '80s extended play, and don't actually break any great ground in doing so, it's still the closest slab of this popster's finest moments that the American market is ever likely to find in the CD bin. Kicking off with the two love 'em or hate 'em tracks he's best known for, The Remix Hit Collection opens with a 1991-era "Der Kommissar, Pt. 2." It's different from the mid-'80s original, but is still catchy and punchy, with enough edge to please the last of the post-punkers. And that, of course, lines everyone up for a club remix of "Rock Me Amadeus." Far better than the familiar version, and certainly better than Falco's own English-language take, the nearly seven-minute-long opus brings up the big bass beat and drums in loops, leaving out much of the novelty synth that drove the hit into quirk territory and groovers to cringing distraction. Falco's runaway political PSA "Jeanny, Pt. 1," and its upbeat, Valkyrie and string-laden counterpart, "Coming Home (Jeanny, Pt. 2)," will be familiar to '80s-era clubgoers who will remember both the crunchy guitar and over the top production. Elsewhere, the marvelous "Vienna Calling" remains a magnificent classic, packed with smooth patter, "Don Quichotte"-style phone etiquette, and a not-at-all-concealed "Der Kommissar" sample, much like the overtly New Order moments of "Weiner Blut" a little later on. The latter-era "Junge Römer updates America's limited perception of Falco's canon, and that just leaves the ten-minute "The Sound of Musik" to close out the experience. It's true that many of these songs are better sampled in their original form and not as remixes, but no matter how patchy the groove, Falco in his own language is far better than the stunted stateside versions listeners were treated to at the time.

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