Diana Extended: The Remixes

Diana Ross

Motown Records, 1994

http://www.dianaross.de

REVIEW BY: Mark Millan

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/23/2013

The year 1993 saw Diana Ross celebrate her 30th year in the entertainment industry. Her label Motown chose to mark the occasion with yet another compilation CD and an all-inclusive boxed set, on which they somehow managed to include Ross’ singles released during her lucrative tenure with RCA.  Although all of the publicity generated did help remind folks that Ross was one of the industry’s mainstays, it was really masking their true motives at the time, which was to regenerate Ross’ stagnant career.

Ross had been lured back to Motown, her original home, following her departure from RCA. The move, which was much touted at the time as quite genial, however, proved to be not a great one, as Ross’ career nose-dived following the dreadful Workin’ Overtime that was the first release after settling back to life at Motown. On that record, Ross took an ill-advised gamble and embraced hip-hop, of all things, to dire effect. It is still the worst album Miss Ross has ever been associated with, and you’ll never hear her pluck one of those tracks out during a gig. 

The follow-up was the somewhat pleasing my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Force Behind The Power, which as nice as it was, didn’t do enough to warrant another stab at an album of original material for another five years following its release. Those interim years were spent celebrating the anniversary, touring her Greatest Hits set, recording the obligatory Christmas album (which is actually very good), and a return to jazz by way of a made for TV concert entitled Stolen Moments (also very pleasing). There was also her “memoirs” thrown in there as well and I choose the word memoirs carefully, as Ross refused to dish the dirt and write a tell-all, so she instead went the route of the inspirational rags to riches journey.

 Best of all the attempts to saturate the market with all things Ross was Diana Extended: The Remixes CD released in ’94. At the height of the ‘90s R&B/dance/house obsession, remix albums were a dime a dozen and more often than not were horribly formulaic and disappointing. Not this one, however. Ross’ bag of goodies includes enough gold to make sure the remixers are starting with high quality product to begin with. So with half the battle won, the hefty array of mixers got busy and reworked a whole bunch of Ross classics. 

The prime cuts were chosen for the CD release and several others were used as singles only or included on the limited edition releases mainly on vinyl as double sets.  The great thing about this CD is the tracks themselves, as they span the entirety of Ross’ career up until that point. A fresh workout of The Supremes’ “Someday We’ll Be Together” sounds glorious and somehow retains the magic of the original. At the other end of the spectrum is “You’re Gonna Love It,” which is the only non-classic even included here. Shameful, really because it fails so miserably compared to the gold here and proves the point that at first you need a great song to make even a good remix.

Ross’ dance classics are here in all their regalia thankfully. “I’m Coming Out,” “The Boss,” “Upside Downl” and “Chain Reaction” all turned out fantastically good and these mixes still hold up today. My favorite here, though, is the sexy and smooth “Love Hangover,” which shifts from ambient bedroom soundtrack to club floor killer in a seamless instant.

This is a great collection of Ross’ finest moments reworked for the ‘90s that is always fun to listen to; credit has to go the producers and whiz-kids who kept Ross’ iconic voice front and center of the mix and built their tracks up and around it but never overshadowing it.

Rating: A-

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