In a rare (perhaps unprecedented) move in the game music industry, Electronic Arts enlisted the talents of several high-profile dance music DJs for pre-release remixes of a single video game theme, the song "Still Alive" from Mirror's Edge. Though the resulting album as a whole will be best appreciated by electronica aficionados, a couple of the individual remixes are definitely worth the attention of a larger audience.
The original version of the song itself is frankly not deserving of such hoopla. The instrumentals are along the lines of standard MTV alternative pop, the lyrics are passable but not inspired, and though the vocals are fine, for a song about being alive they're a bit lacking in vitality. To be fair, assuming the song is used in the ending credits, its somber tone would work quite well in that context. At the very least the track provides a nice piano melody, which is enough for some of the DJs to work their magic with.
The Teddybears may not be the biggest name on the album but they turn in the most interesting mix by far, and they prove it in the first twenty seconds with a rolling beat and a funky bassline that will have you wanting to dance immediately. They also provide the most effecting reworking of the song's vocals, applying layers and echoes and infusing some much needed energy in the process. It's a fun, accessible dance track that would be completely capable of keeping a club crowd moving at peak hour.
Paul Van Dyk also proves his mettle with a driving trance mix that though lacking the wide appeal of the Teddybears mix is still club-worthy. The integration of the song's vocals comes across as a bit of a cut and paste job at first, but when the chorus sets in it all comes together. At eight minutes it's quite long, but it manages to stay fresh for the majority.
The other remixes are less interesting. The basic house beat and grinding, repetitive synth in Tiesto's mix might work in a dark club with a capable DJ on the decks, but on its own it's fairly dull. The electro synth in Benny Benassi's mix is more lively but still repetitive. Those who care about the integration of the original song will find it to be pretty minimal in both tracks - Benassi's mix essentially fades to an a cappella when it's time to give prerequisite attention to the vocals. Junkie XL's chilled-out mix offers a nice change of pace in the context of the album, but it loses much of its appeal as a standalone track once some generic acoustic guitar chords set in.
Were "Still Alive - The Remixes" a traditional album release, it would be a decent but only occasionally exceptional remix compilation, limited in appeal to serious dance music fans. Fortunately with each track available for individual purchase, buyers can pick and choose as they like, and anyone with a fondness for fun dance music should get to choosing the excellent Teddybears remix immediately.