Otaku USA Magazine
Still Alive – The Remixes

I was already really addicted to the theme song from Mirror’s Edge, even before they announced last year that a remix album was coming out to coincide with the game’s release. I would just keep replaying a trailer on YouTube over and over, listening to Swedish pop-star Lisa Miskovsky’s voice soar, “Ooh, I’m still alive, I’m still alive, and I can’t apologize-no way” The original track will always stand out in my mind (especially from Miskovsky’s other work, which didn’t hit nearly as many of my metaphorical chords), but this album has even more to offer in the form of some truly terrific remixes.

I can’t decide if I love that after that it launches straight into the Benny Benassi version or not. On one hand, it’s easily my favorite track on the CD-you literally want to get up and jump around, MAKE SWEET LOVE, or something; on the other hand, though, shouldn’t the best be saved for last? The Italian DJ layers and twists the beat so perfectly, takes it away, crashes it back down right when you need it–it’s a frenzy. How can anyone follow that?

Junkie XL slows things down a bit, but not in a bad way. His remix opens in a cave of reflecting ice crystals, with chimes marking time as sharded lyrics come to us in a language that isn’t really English anymore. Once we arrive at the instrumental chorus motif, a guitar ushers us out into the snow fields, and I swear, it’s really like Hoth in a Snowspeeder minus all the AT-ATs, not to mention the Rebels. Nothing but the bleak winterscape against this cruising, synthesized beat.

The next track strikes me as the weakest. It’s also the longest, which makes the slight disappointment last. Don’t get me wrong, there aren’t any bad songs on this album, but in a package with no misses Paul van Dyk’s version just didn’t excite me enough. Maybe if there weren’t so much of that one relatively mundane synthesizer riff? Maybe if those sproinging drums during the last minute or so had played a bigger part? Somehow, this one interests me more on the basis of it still essentially being “Still Alive” than on its own merit.

If Junkie XL is a wintry, low-flying odyssey, then the Teddybears are a coastal drive in summer with some rowdy friends from times gone by. Remember how you used to roll down the window, or better yet-make it a convertible, and bang out a complimentary beat on the side of the car? I can’t keep myself from tapping along to this one, even during its lapses of quieter nostalgia. Definitely the other track on here that makes this album worth a buy.

The “promotional” download version (which cuts out all the radio edits and the short mix of the van Dyk track) finishes on a good note with Armand van Helden’s mix. He starts off with some vocal hacks before presenting the first verse complete, but from there he adds some heavy grinding synth that takes the song in a much more intense direction, although he does let the instrumental motif poke out now and then-it’s like coming up for air.

I’d recommend going with the promotional (and unfortunately download-only) version, just because I’m not a fan of abridgement-I want the whole track as originally intended. If you really want to hear each song multiple times there is nothing to stop you from putting this on repeat, which is about what I’ve been doing for the past four months since it came out.

Various, Still Alive – the Remixes, Nettwerk, https://www.nettwerk.com/