Nat King Cole

Capitol, 2009

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


So, today on the DV we’re going to deal with a Big Question: what, exactly, is the purpose of a remix or mash-up CD? Is it to remain true to the work of the original artist, or is it to radically reinterpret that artist’s work through the lens of another artist? Or to put it another way, what’s more important; faithfulness to the original work or novelty?

I don’t have an answer for this, but I have figured out one thing. A good remix or tribute CD manages, on some level, to do both -- to pay tribute to the original work but still let the remixer have something to say. By this standard, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Re: Generations succeeds admirably. Like a wedding, there’s something old, something new, something borrowed, and just a touch of blues to make it all worthwhile.

As you might expect from a CD with a small army of producers and remixers, the production and engineering on Re: Generations is impeccable. I assume that these tracks use the recent remasters of Cole’s work, some of which has been reviewed here. Nothing on here sounds muddy or fuzzy; this is all as crisp as if Cole and his co-conspirators had recorded it yesterday.

Tracks worth especial notice include Will.I.Am’s fresh take on “Straighten Up And Fly Right” (with a guest appearance by Natalie Cole), Cut Chemist’s head-turning remix of “Day In, Day Out,” The Roots’ swinging remix of “Walking My Baby Back Home” (though it’s spoiled a bit by the rap break at the end, which seemed unnecessary), Damian and Stephen Marley’s reggae-tinged rave-up of “Calypso Blues,” and the 21st Century Cab Calloway overtones of Souldiggaz and Weirdos’ “Hit That Jive, Jack!” My favorites, however, have to be the funny, funny Just Blaze reworking of “Pick Up, “which turns a somewhat dated cruising song into a hilarious dialogue, and Bitter:Sweet’s absolute nailing of “More And More Of Your Amor.” There are a couple of miscues -- I’m not sure where Salaam Remi and Nas were going with “The Game Of Love,” but it didn’t work for me -- but on the whole, Re: Generations is a brilliant tribute to a brilliant performer.

Music can be described as the process of always having something new to say about something old. Re: Generations demonstrates that admirably.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


I can't imagine a remix of Nat King Cole's songs. He's my mother's favorite artist and I still play his music for her on a regular basis. I hope they didn't ef this great man's music up. I'm going to get this on your reccomendation. You gave it a B+ but a reader gave it a C. I'll have to see about this one.

© 2009 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol, and is used for informational purposes only.