This Is the Remix

by: Destiny's Child

Striking while the iron is hot, Destiny's Child presents its third full-length release in less than a year, following Survivor (May 2001) and 8 Days of Christmas (October 2001). An album of remixes is a profit-taking exercise by definition, but one needs only to gaze back a few weeks from this disc's release to Jennifer Lopez's J to the L-O! The Remixes, which went straight in at number one, to see that the profits can be considerable. And in this case, they deserve to be. Destiny's Child ascended to superstar status in 1999-2000 behind a series of well-produced number one hits that gave them the opportunity to trumpet female self-assertion in a material world. In contrast to TLC, the more street-savvy girl group whose niche they usurped, they were a triumph of packaging over musical substance, an appropriate focus at a time when teen pop was ascendant. At first glance, This Is the Remix does not retreat from that stance; the singers appear on the cover applying makeup. And certainly the album is all about packaging -- actually, repackaging. Typically, the word "remix" is far too modest to describe what such knob twiddlers as the Neptunes, Rockwilder, and Timbaland have undertaken. Retaining only the barest bones of the original recordings, if that, they have built wholly new musical tracks and brought in a bevy of guests, including Wyclef Jean, Da Brat, Jermaine Dupri, and Lil Bow Wow, and for the most part the results are all to the good. Fans may buy this album thinking of it as a de facto greatest-hits set, but if so they will be surprised to find that, for example, Rockwilder's take on "Bootylicious" sounds almost nothing like the version they heard on the radio. And these versions aren't only different; usually, they're better than the originals. ~ William Ruhlmann

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