Remixed for the better
October 8, 2012 7:18 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for examples of remixes that are better than the original songs from which they are remixed.

I'm thinking of examples like Brimful of Asha, or Missing where the remix was more commercially more successful or just subjective suggestions for interesting remixes. For example, the remix of Two Door Cinema Club's Something Good Can Work used in Nathan Barnatt's Obama video is better than the original, IMHO.

I'd also be interested in cover versions of songs that are better than the originals, but in both covers and remixes I'm really looking for examples where the treatment of the song is substantially different from the original.

Previously: Danceable remixes of songs your dad probably likes
posted by MuffinMan to Media & Arts (52 answers total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
I hated Lady Gaga's original Love Game, but LMFAO made that song amazing!

Waka Flocka Flame's Hard in the Paint was meh, but boy do I love the parody Baraka Flaka Flame's Head of the State.

Hope this was useful!
posted by xicana63 at 7:24 AM on October 8, 2012

The Mousse T Remix of Sing It Back was better than the Moloko original.
posted by empath at 7:31 AM on October 8, 2012

Best answer: These are all covers that were better and/or more commercially successful than the originals:

Frente — Bizarre Love Triangle (originally by New Order)

George Harrison — Got my Mind Set on You (originally by James Ray)

Nirvana — Love Buzz (originally by Shocking Blue)

Marvin Gaye — I Heard it Through the Grapevine (originally by Gladys Knight and the Pips) (bonus: Gaye's own live performance was significantly different)

The Rolling Stones — Time is on my Side (originally by Kai Winding)
posted by John Cohen at 7:33 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Fixed remix EP is considered by a lot of people to be substantially better than the source material on Nine Inch Nail's Broken.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:34 AM on October 8, 2012

Best answer: I find both Devo's and Otis Redding's version of Satisfaction far more compelling than the Rolling Stones version.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 7:34 AM on October 8, 2012

Best answer: I prefer The xx's remix-cover of Florence + the Machine's "You Got the Love".

I prefer the Alias remix of The Delta Mirror's "He Was Worse Than the Needle He Gave You".
posted by mean square error at 7:35 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Suzanne Vega thought that DNA's bootleg remix of Tom's Diner was so much better than her original that she bought the rights to it and used it as the official video version.
posted by Jairus at 7:40 AM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: The absolutely classic in this category is R. Kelly's Ignition (Remix), to the point that the Youtube video just calls it by the name Ignition.
posted by LSK at 7:40 AM on October 8, 2012 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Johnny Cash's cover of NiN's Hurt brought the song mainstream attention. Both songs rock in their own regard.
posted by jmd82 at 7:47 AM on October 8, 2012 [8 favorites]

Shook Ones part II is a hip hop classic. I know lots of hip hop fans who wouldn't be able to identify the original version (part I)
posted by cashman at 7:55 AM on October 8, 2012

Best answer: Here's France Gall's Cet Air-La.

April March, many years later, covered it and did a very different take on it.

I like the original just fine and all, but I've known people who've heard April's version and who don't speak a word of French but were brought to tears by it anyway.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:56 AM on October 8, 2012

Best answer: This Kidz in the Hall song was decent little song. And then El-P got a hold of it.

Mad World is probably a great example of a cover that took the original and jumped off a cliff.
posted by cashman at 8:03 AM on October 8, 2012

Response by poster: Mad World. I had forgotten that. And Ane Brun's low fi covers of True Colors and Big in Japan.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:13 AM on October 8, 2012

Boss had a song on the Mi Vida Loca soundtrack and the video got popular. So you wanted to own this bouncy, clear almost futuristic song with her ridiculous flow, but when you went to the store to buy the soundtrack you got stuck with the messy original version.
posted by cashman at 8:17 AM on October 8, 2012

The main hook from the quite heavily played pop song Like a G6 is sampled/remixed from the original Booty Bounce which was nowhere as popular.
posted by reptile at 8:25 AM on October 8, 2012

Plod along to Santigold's I'm a lady, then get it supercharged by Benny Blanco.
posted by cashman at 8:25 AM on October 8, 2012

Best answer: DJ Tiesto had a popular remix of Sarah McLachlan's Silence.
posted by cazoo at 8:31 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Strictly a cover, but Stevie Wonder's take on The Beatles We Can Work It Out is far better than the original.

Like the above, this opinion is likely to be controversial, but Schneider TM's cover of The Smiths "There is a Light that Never Goes Out" adds a certain cold clinical aspect that renders the song better. My opinion, of course.
posted by sektah at 8:31 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

LMFAO's Sexy and I Know it covered by some guy named Noah
posted by cali59 at 8:35 AM on October 8, 2012

Strictly a cover, but Stevie Wonder's take

That reminded me that I didn't know until about a month ago that Earth Wind and Fire's "Got to Get You Into My Life" is a cover of a Beatles song. I know a lot of people that probably still don't know.
posted by cashman at 8:43 AM on October 8, 2012

Best answer: Inserting three obligatory covers:

* Jimi Hendrix's cover of Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower." Dylan's response when he first heard it: "oh, so THAT'S what it's supposed to sound like."

* Aretha Franklin's cover of Otis Redding's "Respect". Redding's response: "That girl just stole my song."

* Johnny Cash's cover of NIN's "Hurt." Trent Reznor: "I felt like I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn't mine anymore."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:12 AM on October 8, 2012 [9 favorites]

Poe's Hey Pretty remix (with her brother reading over it) was much more successful than her original song - to the extent I didn't realize it was a remix for quite a while. I think it's called the Drive By remix.
posted by insectosaurus at 9:20 AM on October 8, 2012

Junkie XL's remix of Elvis Presley's "A Little Less Conversation."
posted by kirkaracha at 10:18 AM on October 8, 2012

I find the "Lucy Mix" version of Björk's Possibly Maybe from the album Telegram better than the original.
posted by chillmost at 10:42 AM on October 8, 2012

I love both, but I'd have to take Emmylou Harris' cover of The Boxer over Simon & Garfunkel. (I believe her version also features Linda Ronstadt and Alison Krauss..?)

I like the groove added to the remake of 32 Flavors by Alana Davis (originally by Ani DiFranco).

Eva Cassidy's Fields of Gold (originally by Sting).
posted by foxhat10 at 10:56 AM on October 8, 2012

The Mark Ronson/ Amy Winehouse cover of Valerie by The Zutons is better known in the US, and just generally better imho.

Also the remix of South Side with Gwen Stefani is better known than Mobys original version.
posted by fshgrl at 11:50 AM on October 8, 2012

Best answer: Armand van Helden's remix of Professional Widow by Tori Amos was a much bigger hit than the original version of that song from her album Boys for Pele.
posted by meronym at 12:12 PM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Ooh, thank you for reminding me to seek out Soundhog's wonderful mashup of Goldfrapp and Edwyn Collins (with authentic framing material).
posted by Grangousier at 1:01 PM on October 8, 2012

Heartbeats - The Knife, and then Heartbeats - Jose Gonzalez.
posted by cashman at 1:09 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

It doesn't count as better, because I love both versions equally, but Social Distortion's version of Ring of Fire is definitely different than Johnny Cash's.

Further on a Johnny Cash theme, his cover of the U2 song,"One," is beautiful, but somewhat hard to find.

Jose Gonzalez's acoustic cover of Heartbeats is really beautiful. It used to be an electronica dance tune by The Knife.
posted by colfax at 1:23 PM on October 8, 2012

Notorious B.I.G. PLUS Miley Cyrus
posted by oryelle at 2:13 PM on October 8, 2012

The Pet Shop Boys remix of David Bowie's Hallo Spaceboy was released as a single and did respectably. Better than his equally great industrial metal original would have done, I'm guessing.
posted by comealongpole at 2:46 PM on October 8, 2012

Best answer: Blue Monday by New Order. An example of a band re-mixing their own song. The 1988 remix and re-release was more successful in most markets than the 1983 original (which was still very successful). Remixed in 1995 again, but I think the 1988 version is still the one most likely to be played.

And seriously, the Frente version of Bizarre Love Triangle was horrible, and hardly heard outside Australia (I would hope).
posted by arha at 3:42 PM on October 8, 2012

Thomas Bangalter is really good at this, two examples.

Alan Braxe's Vertigo vs Thomas Bangalter's Remix

DJ Mehdi's Signatune vs Thomas Bangalter's Remix
posted by hellojed at 4:15 PM on October 8, 2012

the Frente version of Bizarre Love Triangle was . . . hardly heard outside Australia

Wrong, it was a "buzz clip" on MTV in the United States, meaning it was on heavy rotation.
posted by John Cohen at 4:32 PM on October 8, 2012

"Such Great Heights" by The Postal Service was taken to greater heights (see what I did there?) by Iron and Wine. That's an AMAZING live version of it. The studio version is just as amazing and almost totally different from the other two.
posted by Capt.DooDooFace at 6:27 PM on October 8, 2012

Best answer: Let My Love Open the Door (E. Cola mix) from the Grosse Point Blank soundtrack is more effective than Pete Townsend's original album version, IMO.

Likely heresy: I think the Shatner/Folds/Jackson version of Common People is better than Pulp's original.

Joe Jackson's version of Oh Well is much snarlier than the original (just the way I like it).
posted by Lexica at 6:54 PM on October 8, 2012

I think the Switch & Sinden remix of Santigold's "You'll Find a Way" is way better than the original, although they did appear on the same album together.
posted by sigmagalator at 7:39 PM on October 8, 2012

Beck's Broken Drum remixed by Boards of Canada seems to capture the mood of the lyrics more effectively than Beck's original version, which is a memorial to Elliott Smith.
posted by hgws at 7:54 PM on October 8, 2012

LOTS of songs have "single mixes" and the line between a single mix and a remix is pretty blurry. If you’ve ever listened to an album and thought the song didn’t sound like you remembered, that’s one reason. Many single versions are much more well known than the album versions. Like The Reflex
posted by bongo_x at 8:31 PM on October 8, 2012

Metronomy's Thing For Me is pretty bland, but the Breakbot remix is fantastic.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:32 PM on October 8, 2012

Best answer: This far down and I'm a little surprised nobody's mentioned TVTropes' Covered Up page.
posted by C^3 at 10:23 PM on October 8, 2012

Erg, I think there's a difference between whether a remix was more comercially succesful vs. 'better'. Nobody is going to convince me that that precious Frente cover of Bizarre Love Triangle is better than the New Order version. Strangely I think the one I hear most often is a remix of their own, with a mildly longer extended cut. Same thing with Iron and Wine. Yeeg.

Also: really? the Fixed NIN ep is better than Broken? Can't agree there. ALLso - until Year Zero (where Remixed was way way way better than Year Zero itself) I would argue that there were almost no NIN remixes that were better than the originals in his catalogue.

Speaking of versions that are better than the originals... Trent's cover of Queen's Get Down Make Love blows the holy hell out of the original. I've always wondered if he specifically picked that song because he knew it was a pretty boring Queen song (as performed by Queen), compared to the bulk of their stuff. I'd even go so far as to say Queen's version sounds like a demo.

What is curious to me, and which I think hardly ever happens, is where a remix AND the original are both really interesting. My fave example of that is A Perfect Circle's "Judith" - which is probably the best written of the APC songs - and I think it's the Danny Lohner remix.
posted by bitterkitten at 7:58 AM on October 9, 2012

There is a remix of Pink's "Get the party started" that is mixed with Sweet Dreams. Infinitely better than the original Get the party started.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 8:21 AM on October 9, 2012

I like the Avalanches remix of So Why So Sad by Manic Street Preachers much more than the original.
posted by Dismantled King at 12:18 PM on October 9, 2012

I allow for the possibility that mine is a controversial opinion. But The Gourds' cover of Snoop Dogg's Gin and Juice kicks righteous ass.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:56 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

2nd the Jamie xx remix of "You Got the Love." It is astonishing.
posted by sidi hamet at 5:30 PM on October 9, 2012

Late to the thread, but Skream's remix of La Roux's "In for the Kill" is a pretty great.
posted by angels in the architecture at 8:39 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I probably won't be winning any converts here, but I personally love Face to Face covering INXS's "Don't Change" and prefer it to the original.

Ted Leo does a great mashup cover of Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Maps" which is very different from the source material though not better.

My girlfriend just chimed in to suggest the Weird Tapes remix of Peter Bjorn & John's "It Don't Move Me" (here's the original). Definitely more on-topic than my suggestions.
posted by The Minotaur at 10:04 PM on October 15, 2012

Response by poster: Apologies in advance, folks. It turned out to be an impossibly subjective exercise in marking up best answers. Thank you to everyone though. Some great listening material right the way through.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:12 AM on October 19, 2012

By the way - Clive Langer and Elvis Costello wrote the song Shipbuilding specifically for Robert Wyatt, though later Costello recorded his version, which some people considers the "original" (because he wrote it). I'm not any of those people - I think Wyatt's version is a perfect record, not a note out of place - but still: version fight!
posted by Grangousier at 3:11 PM on October 19, 2012

« Older When is a marriage worth fighting for, and when to...   |   Edible steampunk cupcakes Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.