Every Remix of "Smooth" Is, Somehow, Not At All Smooth
Rob Thomas and Santana's Grammy-winning track came out 18 years ago today, please don't try to make an edit of it.
From the video for "Smooth."
If it feels like a hot one today, that's not just because of climate change. 18 years ago today, Santana and Rob Thomas unleashed their collaboration "Smooth" upon the world. It'd go on to be a platinum record, win the Grammy for Record of the Year in 2000 (over TLC's "No Scrubs" and Cher's "Believe" no less), and eventually become one of the internet's most hallowed meme songs.
While revisiting the track this morning in tribute, it struck us, there has to be good remixes of this song right? If, per the Recording Academy, it is one of the greatest recordings of all time, there should be versions of it that work on the dancefloor. Sure enough, tons of flips and bootlegs and exist, but we're sorry to report, they're all bad. The dubstep remixes, the Dutch house edits, the meme-y mashups, the ironic EDM covers, every single one of them will make you feel worse about the world afterward.
Even the two official remixes, commissioned by an RCA sublabel and included a European promo single, merely add new kick drums to an already perfect song, which feels both cynical and sacrilegious at once. Anyway, we've compiled a few of the worst. You can listen to them here if you dare, but maybe you should just listen to the original.
Binyamin - "Smooth (Binyamin Remix)"
Being a curmudgeonly old fuck, I have a problem with meme songs in general. But even I, the Oscar the Grouch of club culture content, can make an exception for "Smooth," which is a song that—like my mother's bacon-wrapped, cheese-stuffed chicken breast dinners—is somehow endlessly compelling and utterly atrocious. This remix, which pairs Santana with bargain basement electro-house straight from a Fruity Loops sample pack, ruins it. And in doing so, it sort of ruins my memories of my mother's cooking, and that is an unforgivable crime. Fuck you Binyamin, whoever you are. Fuck you.—Josh Baines
Lust1nyfyr3 - "Smooth (Lust1nfyr3 Dubstep Remix)"
Like "Smooth," but always thought it could be improved by adding several earth-shaking, teeth-clenching, Majestic Casual-lite dubstep drops? Lucky for you, Christchurch, New Zealand bedroom auteur Lust1nyfyr3 has stepped up and delivered this wobbling minute-and-a-half version, which currently has a criminally low 1,790 plays on SoundCloud. It's nowhere near as good as the "Maria Maria" interpolation on DJ Khaled's latest Rihanna-featuring single "Wild Thoughts," but it definitely wouldn't get booed at EDC either. [Ed. Note: I would boo it, sorry.] Bonus points for finding a photo of Carlos where he's showing some serious guitar face.—Max Mertens
Neil Cicierega - "Smooth Flow"
The current phase of comedian-cum-producer Neil Cicierega's career is based on making high-concept versions of the meme-y remixes that people rake in millions of YouTube subscribers doing. So, of course, he did a track blending "Smooth" with Enya's "Orinoco Flow" and—his signature—the chorus of Smash Mouth's "All Star." It's a nauseating blend of garish colors that can't help but clash. He gets some points for punctuating Rob Thomas' "It's just like the ocean under the moon" with Enya's dazed "Sail away/sail away/sail away," but mostly it's just revolting. Which is like, on purpose, but I'm not sure that makes it any better. You can intentionally mix together all the leftover sauces on a middle school cafeteria lunch table, but that doesn't mean I have to eat it.—Colin Joyce
DJ Richard Luna - "Smooth (Dutch Latin Banger Remix)"
The only good thing about this remix is that the title contains the word "Dutch." Now, I myself am Dutch and very proud of it. But I can imagine that, depending on where you live, you absolutely don't care about our towering windmills, delicious cheese, or our right-wing politicians' penchant for stupid hairstyles. In that case, sadly, not a lot is left to like here.
This remix takes all things good and... smooth out of the song, and replaces it with a certain je ne sais quoi—which in this case means something along the lines of "a copious amount of snare drums, an airhorn, and a sample of Lil Jon encouraging the listener to "put your fucking hands up.'" I give this remix a rating of one fedora.—Koen van Bommel
Chris Staropoli - "Smooth (Dance Radio Remix)"
[Ed. Note: I guess Trey thinks this one is actually good? He's wrong though.]
By definition, something being perfect means it can't be improved upon. So, what the hell is going on here?
There's more bass? Yeah, I like bass. Super extra drum patterns? Yeah I like those too. Speeding BPMs up in an effort to make a song more exciting? Sign me up.
So what does it mean when a bunch of stuff you like gets thrown onto a song you already like but was missing these things?
Does that mean that it wasn't actually perfect before? Can perfection be improved upon? Do we need a new definition of the word? Is everything you previously knew a lie and the world a confusing hellhole you'll never truly understand? Yes. Yes it is.—Trey Smith