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* * * * Great Balls of Fire * * * Good Vibrations * * Maybe Baby * Running on Empty : : Madonna's Mixology

November 29, 1987|DENNIS HUNT

* * * MADONNA. "You Can Dance." Sire. Say what you want about Madonna--and she's open to criticism in lots of areas--you can't knock her as a dance-music artist. She's one of the few performers who consistently make scintillating dance music. This dazzling collection of the extended remixes of her best dance tunes is an attractive package for dance fans--particularly with the inclusion of a new cut, "Spotlight."

Remixers like Jellybean Benitez and Shep Pettibone reconstruct these songs, using the original as a skeleton and dressing it up with a beefed-up beat, assorted high-tech, rhythmic effects and long instrumental passages that are often improvisations on the main melodic line. When done right, the originals pale next to these elaborate disco orchestrations.

Just about every remix in this seven-song collection is first-rate. The best are "Spotlight," "Over and Over," "Into the Groove," "Holiday" and "Where's the Party." The efforts to revamp "Everybody," her first single, are in vain. It's the only cut that sounds routine.

The lyrics of the new "Spotlight" aren't great, but they're still more interesting than the others. Still, the words, like those of most dance songs, are just window dressing that's secondary to the beat. The big attraction of "Spotlight" is a long, hard-driving, closing passage that's guaranteed to turn dancers on.

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