Ferry Corsten / We Belong / May 11, 2009
There are some genres that are particularly accessible to sampling; it’s not that you can’t do it with every genre (feasibly, you could), just that some genres have really embraced and excelled at the art. Trance is one of them. While the easy way out for any genre of dance music has been to completely cover tracks (the Rock 2 Dance compilation is a good example: what would a bunch of classic rock songs sound as Cascada-esque club hits?), sampling is a skill involving twice as much dexterity and wit. Since trance works in movements, it’s important to build up smoothly to what will become the iconic riff; this was done perfectly in Mike Mikhajin’s “The Reaper,” a sampling of Blue Oyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” so subtle, yet so obvious once you heard it, that it found the rare medium between was and wasn’t. Not only did it meld in the sample gracefully, it worked within the genre to create a song so niched, it was unmistakeably trance without bowing to the higher power of rock that would make it just another cover.
Ferry Corsten’s “We Belong,” off of January’s Twice in a Blue Moon, attempts something similar, albeit within a much closer neighborhood. Italo disco, while something of an underground genre in the 80s, has probably subconsciously influenced more pop and dance music than first imagined (this has always been one of my favorite genres to sink into, as it will inevitably creep up somewhere later, reaping marvelous trivia spoils, i.e. 2007’s cover of Sabrina Solerno’s “Boys” on He Jie’s Definitely Not an Angel – an obscure Mandarin singer covering an obscure European club hit and with aplomb). “We Belong” pays homage to Fun Fun’s “Happy Station,” a sort of banal song about special people you can meet at the station (erm, the lyrics are italo’s drawback, always), but where Mikhajin flourishes, Corsten, the sort of godson of trance, falls short once again – the same loop is played over and over again with a new melody and set of lyrics; “Quiet witness to forever / in my silence I keep holding on / I am reaching to forever / and I understand where we belong” isn’t exactly poetic, let alone coherent, but it’s not any worse than the original. The radio edit of the song allows just enough time for the loop to be recognizable and not annoying. As with most Corsten tracks, there’s a certain sort of urgency for naught (see “Fire”), but it also serves a specific emotional function, which it executes.
But knowing it comes from some really odd track by two lip-synching models in 1983 makes it all the more fun.