In late 2001/early 2002, Jennifer Lopez’s music career hit its peak thanks to the release of a series of remixes. These hits spawned the release of a remix album in February 2002, briefly reviving the notion of the “remix album.” While not a new concept (Janet Jackson, for example, had remix albums for Control and janet.) it certainly showed signs of profitability in a time when CDs were selling like hotcakes. Quick to capitalize on one of their biggest names, Columbia Records decided to throw together Destiny’s Child’s first compilation album: This is the Remix, and announced it on the same day J.Lo’s was released.
The title was taken from the group’s very first hit single, “No, No, No (Part II),” on which remixer and featured artist Wyclef Jean announces, “this is the remix! the jeeps pump this new remix!” (oddly, Columbia lazily released a Jessica Simpson remix album of the same title in July that same year). The set was not officially promoted by any single, though it did feature remixes of their biggest recent hits, as well as a bonus track: Michelle Williams’ first solo single, “Heard a Word.”
If you were a big fan of the group, as I was and still am, the collection was a bit of a non-event, save for the bonus track. It was especially exciting to hear Michelle’s first solo single, “Heard a Word,” because it marked the first time we got to hear her sing all by herself, aside from her solo on the Christmas album. Not only that, but it was also the first solo single to be released after they announced their hiatus. Michelle delivered on the warm, inspirational ballad. The song has a soulful and jazzy vibe and while it is indeed inspirational, it is not the sort of gospel track that sounds like it came straight out of the church. Still, Michelle takes it to church vocally on the song’s climax. To this day, it is a treat to her perform the song live. When she does it live, she REALLY goes off – but click here for more on that slay.
Bonus track aside, the collection does do a good job of compiling some of Destiny’s Child’s best remixes. “No, No, No (Part II),” the song that started it all for the group, fittingly kicks off the compilation, providing the collection’s namesake. The remix, originally released in 1997, pioneered Beyoncé’s signature rapid fire, rhythmic singing style that became a trend that continued on most of their biggest hits.
Next comes one of the set’s best moments is the fresh update the ladies gave to “Emotion” on its The Neptunes produced remix. The harmonies on the remix are fiery where the album version’s were smooth. Kelly’s crisp tone in particular shines in the arrangements. The trio laced the track with harmonies that were, fittingly, just as LIT as the Jeep-knocking beat The Neptunes laced it with. “Bootylicious” was also given a harder edge for it’s Rockwilder Remix, which features Missy Elliott and would have been right at home on Janet Jackson’s All For You album, which featured production from Rockwilder, and a verse from Missy on “Son of a Gun”).
Another stellar remix is the Timbaland remix of “Say My Name.” Likely inspired by Mariah Carey’s style of remix (where she keeps the title and theme of the original but more or less nothing else), they turned “Say My Name” into a hip-hop inspired R&B slow jam with a back and forth dialogue with the man in question.
Picking up the pace once more, they dusted off an old remix of “Bug a Boo,” which had a new life breathed into it on its Refugee Camp Remix. The track starts with Beyoncé exclaiming “WE AIN’T DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME?! WE GON DO IT RIGHT THE SECOND TIME!” Perhaps alluding to the single’s disappointing commercial success in comparison to “Bills, Bills, Bills,” which proceeded it, the remix gives the song a harder beat with a Latin-inspired breakdown and verse from Wyclef Jean. Indeed, it is much better the second time. In fact, the remix sounds a bit like it was an inspiration to Shakira’s 2006 Wyclef-assisted hit, “Hips Don’t Lie.” There’s even a video for the remix, but it seems to have disappeared into oblivion aside from this one low quality clip…
More lazy inclusions on the track-listing are the “Survivor” remix (its only change is a verse from Da Brat), the lackluster non-remix “Independent Women Part II” (“Part II” is actually the original version “Independent Women” – Part I is the real remix), a remix of their other Charlie’s Angels soundtrack contribution, “Dot” (which just has a barely updated new instrumental), a more hip-hop sounding version of “Nasty Girl,” and a generic club mix of “Bills, Bills, Bills.”
The inclusion of the “Jumpin’, Jumpin'” So So Def Remix almost feels equally lazy, until the track takes a 180 and flips into its re-sung Maurice club mix, which is actually a bit of a slay. I wish they had axed the So So Def Remix in favor of the full-length club mix. Beyoncé’s ad-libs at the end show she did her club remix homework, likely studying from the textbooks of Ms. Carey. Similarly refreshing is “Maurice’s Soul Mix” of an underrated The Writing’s on the Wall gem, “So Good.”
Some remixes that are sorely missing on the set, though. For example, the “DubiLLusions” remix of “Illusions” and “With Me (Part III),” both from their debut album, are both excellent choices. As well, “Bills, Bills, Bills” had a Trackmasters remix featuring the Sporty Theivez of “No Pidgeons” fame that could have been used. While the remix screams “1999,” it would have been much better in lieu of the boring club mix they chose.
So, while This is the Remix was essentially nothing more than a way for the label to make money off of Destiny’s Child one last time before they went on tour and a subsequent hiatus as a group, it still houses some definite must-listens for any Destiny’s Child fan. It’s certainly became a lot easier to find some of these remixes since they were included here. And, its probably a good thing that Destiny Fulfilled didn’t yield any noteworthy remixes, or we might have to worry about Columbia trying to reissue it to tack on a few post-2002 remixes…