Chopped, but not screwed

Indie-pop princess Mirah gets the royal remix treatment on ‘Joyride: Remixes’

Emily Garber

Remixing Mirah should, in theory, be like remodeling the Taj Mahal with a wrecking ball, or going at Michelangelo’s “The Birth of Man” with a can of lime-green spray paint. When things are perfectly beautiful just as they are, any manipulation at all would, in theory, be horribly ugly.

Mirah
ALBUM: Joyride: Remixes
LABEL: K Records

Of course, that’s the theory. Mirah’s new album, “Joyride: Remixes” really should be as awful, cluttered, disjointed and incoherent as remix albums so frequently are. But to bring the baggage of such expectations to “Joyride” is to get it completely wrong.

“Joyride” takes Mirah’s already lovely songs and pushes them to peaks only hinted at in their original versions. Her cynically sweet love songs are pumped up to pure pop, and her sassy attitude is infused with even more spice.

For her “Joyride,” Mirah handed out her old songs to some old friends, giving them complete authority over what to do with them. There are 22 tracks, with artists like Phil Elverum of Mt. Eerie/The Microphones and Khaela Maricich from The Blow holding complete authority over their respective Mirah masterpieces. Classics like “Don’t Die in Me” and “Advisory Committee” show up more than once, but given the differences between each remix, the redundancy goes unnoticed.

Guy Sigsworth (one half of Frou Frou) converts the haunting and echoing “La Familia” into an indisputably smart pop song. Synthesizer beats and apparent backup vocals compliment Mirah perfectly while she sweetly sings, “If we sleep together, would it make it any better?”

Ben Adorable’s version of “Sweepstakes Prize” possesses a trip-hop darkness that one might never imagine fitting with Mirah’s innocent vocals. But it sounds powerful and dramatic, as if it were born that way.

YACHT’s “Jerusalem” reincarnate and Mt. Eerie’s version of “Don’t Die in Me” are the only two tracks on the album that, to the casual listener, are obvious remixes. The new version of “Jerusalem” slows down Mirah’s voice to a point beyond recognition. And “Don’t Die in Me” features a loud burst of distorted noise that intends to serve as a sound effect when Mirah sings “the continents divide.”

Mt. Eerie’s “Don’t Die in Me” also cuts and pastes Mirah’s breathy notes to create one large, steady exhale.

Despite each track having its own producer, “Joyride” functions as a complete and coherent album. This is probably because every person had an understanding and appreciation for the work in its purest form. Instead of mocking her or abandoning the original sounds completely, each remix master shows the utmost respect in the face of their friend.