Paul Van Dyk - Volume (The Best Of)
While doing some research for this review, I came across an article in which Paul van Dyk "slams 'trancey vocal rubbish'". Listening to the three discs that make up Volume (The Best Of), one has to wonder exactly what it is van Dyk thinks he's built a career on. There's not a helluva lot here which couldn't be neatly summed up as "vocal trance", and if, for example, Home, the musical equivalent of a flat pint, doesn't qualify as rubbish, I'm not sure what does.
To recap, Paul van Dyk is one of dance music's biggest stars. His career spans fifteen years and, in addition to numerous hits with his own tracks, he has remixed everyone from New Order to Britney Spears. Since 1998, he has been a permanent top ten fixture of DJ Magazine's DJ poll, voted for by the public. Perhaps this isn't surprising given little in this retrospective deviates from "trance for the masses".
If you can accept the limitations of the genre, however, there are some tracks it's hard not to be won over by. The likes of the Saint Etienne collaboration Tell Me Why, White Lies (featuring, rather bizzarely, Jessica Sutta of The Pussycat Dolls) and We Are Alive are life-affirming postcards from the poppier side of dance. Some of van Dyk's remixes don't fare too badly either. The treatment given to The Wombats' Moving To New York works surprisngly well, while his take on B.T.'s Flaming June tugs between cheesy and irresistable. However, it's two of the oldest tracks here that work best: his remix of Sven Vath's L'Esperanza and Perfect Day by Visions of Shiva, a name van Dyk recorded under with Cosmic Baby in the early 90s. Both owing more to good old-fashioned house music, you can't help but wish a bit more of this had been allowed to leak into later recordings.