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Why Can't Someone Make a Good Remix of the Weeknd's "Tell Your Friends?"

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The Weeknd's year couldn't be better. Multiple number one songs, a number one album and he even got an amazing album deep cut, "Tell Your Friends," produced by Kanye West and Mike Dean. The song toasts to the new Weeknd's new direction of throwing away the mystery and façade that was this early-career appeal. "My cousin said I made it big and that's unusual" he sings on the final verse of the song. That kind of pompous egotism should be a great jumping off point especially for Drake, Kanye West and even Mike Dean, who have all offered their own interpretations and remixes of track. But nine of them could harness a solid remix of a song that felt perfectly made for them.



The Weeknd was the original artist that received the Drake co-sign, but the two artists haven't worked together that closely and the prospect of this remix should've been exciting. Except that instead of Drake taking this remix and making it into something that feels uniquely his -- see: "My Way", "Tuesday", "Versace" -- he instead mumbles to a past lover about how she's finally become a good women because she's no longer a good girl. Typical Drake nonsense. He sounds great over the electric instrumental, but his version does little to spark real fan curiosity.



Mike Dean, a southern rap producer with decades in the game who is also Kanye's right-hand man, does not step to the microphone with his reinterpretation. He stays behind the boards and extends the surging guitar instrumental on the track. It's not bad, per se, but the dynamism ruins the original song's tight structure. This version just feels like studio noodling -- albeit very crunchy and crisp noodling.

A couple weeks ago Kanye West uploaded a couple of tracks out of the blue to Soundcloud. One was a re-doing of his 808s and Heartbreaks opener, "Say You Will", and the other was a quasi-remix of "Tell Your Friends". West's heavily auto-tuned wailings makes it sound closer to that 808s era than anything he's done this decade. But at barely two minutes long it appears closer to a reference track than a remix that could stand up to the original.

That each took a shot should that "Tell Your Friends" isn't too hard to be remixed on a technical level. Each successive miss does show the amount of effort needed for a good remix -- it's not as easy as Drake can make it look most days. Then again this might be why artists' remixes are starting to feel out of vogue. If you can't make a song your own, best to pass than leave a half-baked attempt to collect internet dust.

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