“Locked out of Heaven” is best when remixed to new heights

A slice of pop-infused mastery with the shiny gleam of Super Nintendo chiptunes

There’ve been a few instants when catchy, overplayed pop singles can be completely transformed by an out-of-the-ordinary electronic overhaul, and this is the latest that’s caught my attention. This song is miles above the original, due to a game-ey remastering that helps an otherwise unremarkable song become an upbeat energetic electronic masterpiece. The piano chords that kick it off contrast remarkably to the rhythmic percussion, followed by some syncopated scratched vocals. Bruno Mars’s lyrics are completely inconsequential, and kind of delightfully shallow in their oversentimental pleading, but something about the backing track just barely helps me stop cringing when I hear them. While they are simple and repetitive, at least they match the overly jubilant and adrenaline-inbued feel of the overall piece. The song builds and builds in its 8-bit adventure-y fun-at-all-costs hyperactivity. In a matter of seconds this song brings to mind midsummer nights driving with the windows down, watching the country pass on either side of you as you speed by, and the excitement and childlike joy of a Saturday morning with sugary cereal and the living room floor in front of an old school video game classic. It’s kind of delightful.

Somehow these high-energy toe-tapping shimmery shiny pop remixes are taking over my consciousness when I am not otherwise preoccupied by the mentally tortured voices of Northwestern rockers like Nirvana and the doomed country balladry of Elliott Smith, or otherwise distracted by embarrassingly offensive rap and hip-hop. I certainly think it has matched the rush of the last couple weeks, and this energetic music is going to be the fuel for the next few weeks I’m sure, as I hustle to establish my Portland roots. It’s just the kind of glee-filled passionate fare that I’m looking for. It’s heart-on-your sleeve, hyper gleeful infatuation that matches this song so well with the track. You see, the nature of the mix is that it gets your blood flowing with an over-the-top build in at least three or four unigue sections of the song, where the accumulating suspenseful tension just builds and builds and builds. The song builds an environment of musical texture, sweeping and and energizing in its sheer energy.

The atmosphere is almost like being swept into a Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (remember that movie and the accompanying game for XBox Arcade?) alternate reality of flashing lights and inexplicable graphics and simplicity crossed with polished production. It almost reminds me of chiptunes, but with a definitely more organic overtone. It is more fun than the radio version, by quite a bit, and a bit more addictive too. It’s about the fifth of my new favorite songs I’ve pulled directly from the “Summer Cruisin'” playlist I found on Spotify, which has been populating my radio dial lately. Makes me want to drive to the ocean for the weekend and camp out. I suppose one of these days I’ll do just that! I’ll be sure to roll down my windows on the way!

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