Published on Beatsmedia 30/09/2013:
‘Dance the Pain Away’ gives off soothing warmth as John Legend’s smooth vocals flow through every note. Rather than having an explicitly piercing kick or a hard-hitting bass, the pulsing yet pleasant melody dominates. Unfortunately, the attempt to create the unexpected created a confusing result. Legend’s lyrics are sorrowful, yet the melody is not something that one would normally associate with sad songs, or something that people would dance to. Naming the track ‘Dance the Pain Away’, rather than ‘How Can You Dance the Pain Away’, might mislead people. Fortunately, a few remixes have corrected the mistakes.
Tom Swoon successfully manages to note the weaknesses of the original mix, turn it upside down, and make it do a handstand with a lower minor key. Right from the very beginning, the repeats the phrase ‘How Can You Dance the Pain Away’, leaving a firm imprint on the listener’s minds. The climax manages to reel the listeners into the mystery, as a fresh element is introduced after each build-up. Somehow, a reasonable amount of predictability manages to make the track all the more addictive, as powerful bursts of the main theme are embellished with different sounds every time.
Dyro also manages to create a sinister Dubstep-Electro-House remix for ‘Dance The Pain Away’. Thankfully, there aren’t any excruciatingly loud screeches, because the wobbles in this track are mostly subtle and in the background. However, there are peak shots where the wobbles irresistibly push their way out to the front of all layers, and that can get slightly annoying. What makes it different from the Tom Swoon track is how the melodic variations of the climax melody provoke different rollercoaster feelings. The descending notes are packed with attitude, and the ascending notes are absolutely empowering.
Jimmy Carris attempts to combine the best of both worlds by introducing a dark twist halfway through. The most interesting part of this piece is in the second half, where the unsettling melody in the background welcomes notes that sound similar to electronic guitar riffs. The part makes a great tune to strut to on a walkway. However, dull chords in the first half of the track fail to sustain interest, which is a shame.
Two remixes recreated the somewhat cheerful vibe in different ways: The Daddy Groove remix and the Alex Gaudino & Jason Roone remix. Daddy Groove’s remix introduction incorporates more bass line layering and has synthesised twangs, which creates a rather hypnotic effect. This is followed some improvised, choir-like, muffled background chords. After the breakdown, the drumming and melody resembles an instrumental 80s piece, before seamlessly fusing with the electronic kick drums. However, the aforementioned issue of incompatibility between the lyrics and atmosphere remains.
Alex Gaudino and Jason Roone’s remix start off with solid kicks. Like the original mix, the melody is in a loop most of the time, which makes it suitable for Legend to sing over throughout. It uses more instrumental elements, and they were spliced and arranged quite effectively. Yet, aside from instrumentals, slight improvisations and more emphasis on the kicks, Gaudino & Roone have not added anything really special to the mix.
Benny Benassi seems like he’s trying to push boundaries, or challenge the idea that electronic music has to be something people can dance to. Such experimentations should definitely be encouraged, because it encourages innovation. However, sad lyrics and laid-back beats just don’t fit well. Time to head back to the drawing board!
Overall rating 6/10