There are a few music critic fallbacks when coming up with something to write about week after week. There's the "desert island" choices, The Year-end Best-of, The Mid-year Review, and the "I Just Got Back From This Cool Fest You Couldn't Go To Now Let Me Tell You About It." But add gay to the mix and "This Year's Hot Summer Anthems" becomes the king of clichés. Or queen. So, post-Pride, here's my Best of Pride, based on crowd reaction to 19 hours of DJ-ing Pride weekend:
5) "Timebomb," by Kylie Minogue. Can we go for one summer without some sort of fun new Kylie track? No, and she knows it. Thank Ms. Minogue for squeezing this one new track out for our big gay pleasure. While not groundbreaking, it's a fun track that got under my skin over time. I'd have only hoped with Madonna's calculating she'd have come up with one track this fun on MDNA for us to lose our minds to. No such luck.
4) "Spectrum (Calvin Harris Mix)," by Florence + The Machine is rumored to be the actual single coming next from her album Ceremonials, and not the original version. As a Florence die-hard you'd think I'd be offended but Calvin Harris works his magic to full effect elevating this slightly dull pop song into an electro/orchestral stratosphere, while amping up the vocals, turning it into this year's gay pride anthem in the same way Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" did 26 years ago.
3) "What Makes You Beautiful (Thin Red Remix)," by One Direction might not be my favorite track of the year by any stretch, but you can't argue with the twinks and their 'flies' who where jumping up and down every time I played this one. I personally can't tell this track from anything on Glee, but when remixed by Thin Red, Beautiful grows up a bit and becomes a shade more tolerable.
2) "Let's Have a Kiki (Voxbox Spockturnal Soiree Remash)" takes the surprise Scissor Sisters hit to a slick new level by pairing up Ana Matronic's "hunty" vocals with Vince Clark and Martin Gore's Spock, which really needed vocals. Voxbox's mix takes the Kiki to a slicker, more NYC level than the original.
1) "Maybe We Found Love (So Call Me)" — After months of sifting through horrible mixes of Carly Rae Jepsen's pop anthem, this mix of "Call Me Maybe" slides seamlessly over the Calvin Harris-produced backing track of Rihanna's "We Found Love." The joy of the original track is still intact, unlike the hundreds of lame remixes that wore this fun nugget to a dull thump.
Finally, an honorable mention to the one diva that trumped Whitney Houston's death this year to triumph as the must-hear on every pride float, Donna Summer. You put on some Donna at at Pride party, float or festival, and the love just pours out. She basically created the Big Gay Summer Jam, so let's tip our mimosas to Donna and have that "Last Dance."
You can find all these over on Soundcloud.com, including Voxbox's Kiki mashup exclusively.