It’s easy to understand why other artists would want to get their hands on Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, and why Phoenix fans might be clamoring for more: It’s a frontrunner for album of the year, filled with the kind of infectious songs that have toes in several genres, but don’t fit squarely in any. Are they dance-floor negotiators or indie-rockers? Is that a guitar or a keyboard? Does any of that matter? For Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix: The Remix Collection—available as a download or a bonus disc on import versions of Wolfgang—a whole bunch of bands and remixers take a stab at Phoenix, and while some of the tracks are good, they all prove that nobody does Phoenix better than Phoenix.
The dabbling ranges from dance-inclined remixes (decent takes on “Lisztomania” by Alex Metric and “Fences” by 25 Hours A Day) to straight-up cover versions (The Soft Pack’s horrendous “Fences,” plus Chairlift’s somnambulant version). Five stabs at “Fences” get included here, none terribly necessary. When bigger personalities show up, things get more interesting: Devendra Banhart inserts himself into “Rome,” while Animal Collective gets a little futuristic with “Love Like A Sunset,” transforming its pings into melodic sonar. But these are the exceptions: The rest of Remix Collection varies from ambitious but misguided (Friendly Fires’ “Fences”) to glitchy and useless (Young Fathers’ “Girlfriend”) to simply halfway decent. The one bright side: It makes the source material seem even better.