REVIEW: Square – The Mike We Like Remixes

Square - The Mike We Like

Square – The Mike We Like Remixes

Thanks to the good people at Mellotone Recordings, the golden 1980’s fling that Michael Jackson once rid has been re-surfaced, re-lived and re-mixed. Square runs full circles around what most beatologist would call an untouchable musical feat. From the pressure of giving a new life to already timeless records to musically creating unique compositions at different BPM counts all in while, maintaining an identity. As far as the outcome; well let’s just say that if and when Quincy Jones hears The Mike We Like, you’ll probably see more than a smile on his face. And since we’re on the topic of Quincy, it doesn’t hurt to know that between most of the songs on this CD, there is an added flavor featuring audio excerpts of Quincy speaking; taken from a special edition documentary disc where he was reflecting on the “Pre-Neverland Ranch” era in Michael Jackson’s career. You get to hear Quincy speak from the breakthrough aspects of them both being African Americans remodeling pop culture to their impacting influences on the birth of MTV.

Now, grooving like it was born yesterday, Square’s interpretation of “Rock With You” skips from today’s sounds to glimpses down memory lane. Square’s use of deep instrumentation with various synthesizers and xylophones to create a stick-like-glue backdrop for “Rock With You”, can almost stand hand-in-hand with the original. Square also steals some attention from Mike and gives himself a minute or two of solo grooves on the keys and drum machines. “Rock With You” is without a doubt the gem of the CD and in a class all in itself. And not to downplay the phased-out drum techniques of Square’s hard hitting “Billy Jean” remix or the Neptunian appeal of the “Rock My World” piece, but his version of “Rock With You” combines many attitudes of music that gives the listener a previously lost sense of euphoria.

Square’s recent 2 year stint working with Philly’s own DJ Jazzy Jeff might have influenced the many touches of jazz that shows face on this project. The method of sound used to reprise some of Michael Jackson’s best work, gives the classic vocals new life. However, in the mist of all the pros, a con that Square might have fallen sort with was in his remake of “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough”, which seemed a bit cluttered and stressed. Even though it was a funky rendition; the chemistry of the mix in this particular attempt, just wasn’t there. All in all, the remainder of the songs had character in their own rights. Enough to be able to conclude that Square is extremely talented. And the idea alone to revive the Mike we used to like is one that diserves much praise. Square takes his hip-hop influences and meshes it was jazz, disco, rock and funk to give you a new flava’ to some of Mike’s Off The Wall & Thriller days. This release serves as utter proof that Square does not make beats. Square “shapes” an idea to become its own testament of life to make modern musical compositions.

NOTE: I actually went into a local record store here in South Miami owned by this Chinese-Jamaican deejay that I’ve been buying records from since my high school days. I was in there looking for a new Beanie Sigel single. i didn’t find it, but in turn ran into Square’s The Mike We Like Remixes. The owner of that record store and a few other older Jamaican heads were just in there just talking away about this mix CD that he just received of remixed Michael Jackson songs from the old days. Songs from back when Mike wasn’t involved with that “chi-chi man shit”, said one of the older Jamaican guys. It was The Mike everybody used to like. The title speaks for itself, I guess. So i joined the conversation and next thing you know I gladly drop the five dollars for the CD.

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