Remixes gift listeners with new perspectives on their favorite songs. When artists reimagine the works of other artists, it opens an entirely new world of possibilities. Melodies and riffs are spliced, looped and distorted, sometimes applying emphasis to certain sections that were previously subtle or even taking the steam out of boisterous climaxes. Genre categorizations frequently go out the window as the song takes a new form. Often included as extras on full-length albums, they might just end up being the most bold, daring pieces on the LP. In an ode to this exciting form of song construction, we’re sharing some of our favorite remixes from the year so far.
Listen to the full playlist on Spotify right here.
One of the most insane remix albums from 2020 came courtesy of maximalist pop duo 100 gecs. The highlight is undeniably “Ringtone,” which features an incredible cast of contributors— Charli XCX, Rico Nasty and Kero Kero Bonito—and is even more addicting than the original. —Lizzie Manno
Angel Olsen’s 2019 album All Mirrors was more opulent than anything she’s released before. Mark Ronson took the string-laden All Mirrors deep cut “New Love Cassette,” stripped it back and made it more synth-forward. There’s even a strange, doomy synth passage straight out of left field. —Lizzie Manno
Hull, U.K. band bdrmm released their debut album, Bedroom, earlier this year, and it nailed the immersive, quiet-loud dynamics of classic shoegaze. They recently released some remixes of album tracks from Ditz, Andy Bell and International Teachers of Pop, and Bell’s version (he recorded it under the GLOK moniker), is especially spellbinding—who better to execute a chunky electro-shoegaze remix than the Ride founding member, occasional DJ and electronic musician? —Lizzie Manno
“Uneventful Days” was the lead single from Beck’s 2020 album Hyperspace, and it featured filtered vocals and pensive synths. Once St. Vincent’s Annie Clark got hold of the track for a remix, it became much more rhythmic and playful. “I guess I was listening to a lot of ‘70s Herbie and WAR at the time and wondering how much funk was inside me, too,” Clark said. “I sent it to Beck and he dug it, but he said ‘it should be 3 bpm faster.’ And what do you know? HE WAS SO RIGHT. It made all the difference in the groove.” —Lizzie Manno
Earlier this year, Paste christened Puerto Rican duo Buscabulla as The Best of What’s Next, thanks to their lively 2020 debut Regresa. Their marching opening track “Vámono” was remixed by Colombian-born, Brooklyn-based rising star Ela Minus, transforming it into a sharp electro-pop track. —Lizzie Manno
Caribou’s recent album Suddenly was exceptional, with Paste deeming it “the most vital album of his career” and “immaculate music for communal grief and celebration.” British electronic musician and producer Floating Points (aka Sam Shepherd) took on album highlight “Never Come Back” for a remix, and while not as immediate in its euphoria, it’s more dynamic. —Lizzie Manno
Girlpool shared a new remix EP featuring versions of their song “Like I’m Winning It” that dropped earlier this year. The EP is titled Touch Me (It’s Like I’m Winning It), and it features three different remixes from Dev Hynes, Porches and Lydia Ainsworth. Each collaborator brings new life to the song, from dark and moody with Ainsworth to loop-heavy with Hynes, transforming breaths into beats. —Lexi Lane
The fierce sibling trio HAIM released The Summer Girl Remixes Volume 1 via Columbia Records. The collection includes remixes of their song “Summer Girl” from Amber Mark, Lauren Auder & mmph, Solomonophonic and more. “Summer Girl” was the lead single off of the group’s third album Women In Music Pt. III. —Paris Rosenthal
LA Priest (aka Sam Dust or Sam Eastgate, he’s previously recorded with Late of the Pier and Soft Hair) released his latest album GENE via Domino Records earlier this year. One of its standout tracks is the funky lo-fi pop tune “Beginning,” and it received a facelift with a hi-fi, club-ready remix from British DJ and producer Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. —Lizzie Manno
Now, finally, for the crowning jewel of quarantine collabs: Bey’s return! The pop superstar raps on this fortified remix of Megan Thee Stallion’s hit song “Savage,” which has found popularity on TikTok, particularly, thanks to a really catchy choreographed dance that went viral. Hearing these two Texas queens together just feels so right. I am so here for these two queens from “H-Town, goin’ down” singing each other’s praises. Here’s hoping it’s not the last time we hear Megan and Beyoncé on a song together. —Ellen Johnson
Rina Sawayama released one of our favorite debut albums of the year in SAWAYAMA. The springy and smooth promo single “Comme des Garçons (Like The Boys)” was redone with the help of two Brazillian artists—DJ Brabo and drag queen/recording artist Pabllo Vittar—and their rendition is harsher and more tantalizing. —Lizzie Manno
The Rolling Stones recently released a deluxe version of their 1973 album Goats Head Soup, which included two remixes of the long-lost track “Scarlet,” featuring Jimmy Page. One came from The War On Drugs and another from The Killers & Jacques Lu Cont. “I remember early, when the project came to me, there was talk that the original drummer was Ginger Baker from Cream,” The War On Drugs’ Adam Granduciel said of the song. “And so that was the myth for a minute. And I felt so bad that I had taken the groove and changed it. I was like, ‘I can’t believe I messed with Ginger Baker.’” —Lizzie Manno
Tame Impala released Four Tet’s remix of “Is It True,” a track from their fourth album The Slow Rush. Four Tet’s remix adds ambience and dance textures to the already hypnotic song. —Lexi Lane
Paste named Thundercat’s “Dragonball Durag,” from his 2020 album It Is What It Is, one of our favorite tracks of the year so far, praising its “easy-going humor and eccentric musicianship.” Thundercat brought two friends on board for a remix of the song—Smino and Guapdad 4000—and they each lent verses. —Lizzie Manno
Following their 2019 album Warrior Down, which received a nod for this year’s Polaris Music Prize Long List, DIY five-piece WHOOP-Szo shared an accompanying remixes record. Canadian DJ Jesney took on their crunchy psych-rock song “Amaruq,” and turned it into a foggy electronic track. Click here to purchase their remixes album on Bandcamp, as all proceeds will be donated to LIFE*SPIN, a charity serving low-income residents of London, Ontario. —Lizzie Manno
For all of its sunny rock sheen, Young Guv’s 2019 two-part album GUV I & II also offered groovy lo-fi pop, particularly on GUV II. “Caught Lookin’” tapped into Ben Cook’s funkier side, and though still anchored by acoustic guitar, it was imbued with shimmery synths and a wailing saxophone solo. The Lil Ugly Mane (his past tourmmate) remix of this song takes the original and twists it into a techno/garage-infused romp. —Lizzie Manno
Following their 2020 album Truth or Consequences, New Zealand indie-pop band Yumi Zouma released a remix of their sparkling rock track “Cool For A Second.” Australian artist and producer Japanese Wallpaper (aka Gabriel Strum) put a more spacious, floaty spin on the song, which actually suits it better. —Lizzie Manno
Listen to the full playlist on Spotify right here.