Beyonce, who is the current reigning queen of remixes since Rihanna's between albums, has just released a 7-track 50-minute opus dedicated to the Beat. Remix fans will be glad that the mixes appear in their extended club form, nearly all of the towering at six minutes and above.
Some of mixes have already made their rounds; the DJ Escape & Tony Coluccio club remix of "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" has been played just under the number of times the original has. It keeps the original sound of the track, already infectious, and simply adds on a new rollercoaster beat.
"Diva," which was released for the urban market, appears in the closest thing to house (mixed by Beyonce-devoted Karmatronic who handled "Ring the Alarm" nicely) and finally makes those squeaky back-up vocals (I'm-a-diva) finally audible. The original is love-it-or-hate it, and while I hate the original, I dig the mix.
The Dave Aude mix of "Halo" is sweeping and elegant as club tracks go, and he continues to prove to be one of the finest mixers in the game, having made stellar recuts for Lady GaGa, Nelly Furtado, the Pussycat Dolls, and Madonna.
"If I Were a Boy" and "Broken-Hearted Girl," the two straight-up best ballads on I Am... Sasha Fierce appear once each in what should be incongruous dance format. They are sensitive, strongly-worded masterworks for Beyonce and comprise some of her best reading of a song. A dance mix should cheapen that sensitivity, but it manages to make "Boy" fun (and it's well-worth the guilt) and "Broken-Hearted" keeps a midtempo groove that looks beyond the drum machine of the original but still being head-bop friendly.
"Ego," which somewhat impractically has just been released as a single despite it only appearing on the deluxe version of the album, is represented twice. First is the standard club-friendly OK DAC mix and then comes the Kanye West remix that features the original's instrumentation and about 2 minutes of West making single entendres. Hey, he says the word "ego" like he means "dick." Check. Beyonce comes in late and not enough, making the whole affair somewhat half-hearted. But at least it wasn't Jay-Z all over again.
This type of release was missed in the B'Day era (although it was somewhat released on iTunes when "Beautiful Liar" came out) and the collection is backed with a DVD (see separate review) that seems a bit premature since we're led to believe she'll make an entire video collection for every track on the album and if so about half of those are missing here. Truth, "Sweet Dreams" is coming out shortly, but missed the release of this collection (somehow) making this already outdated.
"Sweet Dreams" comes in on the remix CD (evidently just under the wire) but it's one of those nearly seven minute club mixes that really could have been four. Beyonce sings her heart out as always, but the beats don't go anywhere that the original wasn't already an improvement over.
Don't forget that nearly all of these songs have gotten or will get full single release, so the tracks found here are merely one each of at least a dozen club, radio, or dub variations, so if something here turns out to not be your bag--don't fret.