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Fire on the Dance Floor

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Lovely ladies release new CDs that will have you moving

Sometimes all you need is that one great song to get the dance floor moving and turn your night around. From legendary singer Martha Wash and Greek beauty Anna Vissi to relative newcomers Tamyra Gray, the “American Idol,” and independent label artist Sarah Atereth, these divas will get you heated up.

MARTHA WASH

“You Lift Me Up”

Purple Rose Records

Martha Wash has been turning out dance music since her Sylvester days, and this first cut off her soon-to-be-released album on her new Purple Rose label will leave you feeling that the sizzle is still there.

“You Lift Me Up” doesn’t waste any time as it sets its teeth into an extended club mix, complete with a fun complement of percussion, clocking in at more than ten minutes. It is followed by an equally long instrumental remix, perfect for the DJ’s sampling pleasures at all-night raves, like the former Twilo boasted of in the good old days.

In fact, Wash seems to have reached back to that era for her inspiration for these distinctly disco-sounding tracks, infused with that Two Tons of Fun, non-stop dance feel and gospel-inspired lyrics that come straight out of an A.M.E. Baptist church.

The original club remix and instrumentals have a decidedly ‘80s feel, and oddly, I am reminded of Eddie Murphy’s character in “48 Hours” wailing the Police hit “Roxanne” through the bars of the drunk tank.

Wash lifts you up, so high your feet won’t touch the ground—at least until they hit the dance floor.

EMI April Music

“American Idol” darling Tamyra Gray tackles her dance hits with a smooth voice akin to that of Mariah Carey—soulful, with a pop edge, and very well suited to this genre.

Her first track off her new sampler album “Raindrops Will Fall” is an 11-minute Hex Mac club vocal mix that lulls you into a trance dance. But at a certain point Gray’s vocals just fall into the background, part of the pleasing ambient noise, like any good dance track should. “Raindrops” is fairly light on percussion, and heavy on electronics and keyboard, echo and reverb. It brings to mind the tunes I danced to in the early 1990s.

Gray sings, “When it seems like all hope is gone/ you got to get through the storm/ before you can see the dawn,” a little inspiration to get your feet moving. The dub track is great for DJ mixes, with its long percussion intro and funky electronic keyboards. The gradual vocal remix in the chorus offers a lot to play with. Having caught the nation’s attention on “Idol,” Gray rocked New York stages, albeit briefly, as part of the cast of the Broadway musical “Bombay Dreams.”

Keep your eyes on her for more hits.

Vanilla/Moda Records

Blonde beauty Anna Vissi is called the “Madonna of Greece” because of her long career and trend-setting styles.

Vissi, Greece’s number one female artist, sets out with a new dance single, “Call Me,” which is already receiving radio play. The track immediately lays down a jumping electronic bass line. The Chris Cox radio edit gives way to the Valentin radio edit, which is equally smooth. Vissi’s voice is so sultry that you can almost forget her insipid lyrics of, “Baby please, my life depends on you/ there’s no one else/ I’m still in love with you.”

The chorus is strong, despite the sad tale of loneliness and emptiness it carries. The song wins with a disco-break pause two-thirds of the way through, dramatic but not so long as to betray dance floor etiquette. The breaks are particularly smooth, those weak lyrics notwithstanding.

And if what Vissi sings is the stuff of standard radio pop, her voice is several notches better. I can easily imagine hearing “Call Me” on the radio, another unhappy love song with which we can all identify.

Vissi debuted this single at The White Party in Miami, and you won’t have to wait too long for her next release. Look for her U.S. debut album this spring.

SARAH ATERETH

“You Wouldn’t Know How”

Beguile Records

Denver-reared cutie Sarah Atereth hits us with the old one-two in the release of her new dance single, “You Wouldn’t Know How,” and the launching of her own record label, Beguile Records.

The co-founding of the label allowed her the freedom to create “Beguile,” her debut album. And from the looks of “You Wouldn’t Know How,” she is on to something. The song cues in with a fast electronic intro that reminds me of mid-‘90s Madonna tracks. I can almost imagine her singing, “That girl, drunk by three…”

Unfortunately, Atereth’s lyrics aren’t up to par. She sings, “Now we cross the line/ falling through the looking glass of time, you couldn’t know the world before you’re mine/ You wouldn’t know how.” She keeps up a pace as fast as the express train, but her voice isn’t very strong; at times it sounds more the product of heavy studio editing than anything else.

And later in the song, when she sings of all the things her lover wouldn’t know how to do, I become confused. Why wouldn’t someone know how to break a heart, to spill the wine, to cast a stone? Who is this person, and why would Atereth ever leave?

For all its faults, though, the track is completely club-ready. For some reason whenever I listen to it, I cannot help but picture a six-foot tall drag queen staging an elaborate dance number. Whether you go for the grittier Dr. Octavo infectious radio edit, or the Davy D. Gotham radio edit, which packs in the flourishes with a beat as fast as a spinning class at Crunch, Atereth’s single seems to have what it takes to make it.

For those who love the drumbeat, check out the MacQ remix, a solidly heavy percussion treat.

Atereth graduated from New York’s Columbia University, and seems intent on schooling the city in return.

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Updated 5:17 pm, July 20, 2018
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