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Wannabe Hit Parade

Record companies love to say that their song did well at the Winter Music Conference, which gets underway this weekend at various venues in Miami. "This was the hit of WMC!" looks great splashed across the sales sheets and press releases.

Naturally they're lying more than half the time. But dance followers in other parts of the world who weren't here won't know the difference. It's hard to contest the statement; even the people who do come here can't go to every cool party that happens.

Determining the criteria for a hit single isn't easy. This year it's doubly difficult, now that there are two music summits (this one and Miami Music Multimedia, which is going on at the same time). Is it based on the amount of play a song gets in clubs, or the strength of a particular crowd's reaction to it? (Remember, one nearly naked girl dancing on the speakers at Space 34 does not make a hit.)

Or is a true smash, like Kelis's smarmy pop song "Milkshake," merely inescapable, blaring out of pizza joints and car radios with alarming frequency? Judging from the current Party 93.1 (WPYM-FM) playlist, top contenders include David Guetta's happy-go-lucky house smash "Just A Little More Love," Motorcycle's still-ubiquitous "As the Rush Comes," and a handful of not-so-great Kylie Minogue and Beyoncé dance remixes.

London crew Bugz in the Attic has a stunning remix of the Gene Harris jazz classic "Losalamitoslatinfunklovesong." It and other selections from Blue Note Revisited: A Global Remix Project have been whirling around the broken beat community for quite some time and will definitely be played beyond the Blue Note party with Jazzanova and Bugz in the Attic on March 6. Keeping in the jazz vein, people are also excited about the Roy Ayers remixes for songs taken from the recently released Virgin Ubiquity collection on British label BBE.

Chicago producer Roy Davis, Jr.'s new song, " If You Wanna" with vocalist Terry Dexter, will have people asking about him once again. Ubiquity Records is planning to release it, along with a strong P'Taah remix and John Beltran's version of Davis's "I Know What You're Thinking," as a twelve-inch single, forcing DJs to make a tough choice among the three tracks.

And there will be more than a few DJs playing both legal and illegal reworkings of songs as well. Ripe for the picking right now are Missy Elliott's "I'm Really Hot" and N.E.R.D.'s "She Wants to Move." People are still remixing "Milkshake"; Brooklyn DJ Tommie Sunshine is reportedly hitting town with one (along with new remixes he's made for everyone from Crack: We Are Rock's "Animal Trap" to Da Brat's "Boom"). Last year Tiga even recorded a cover of Nelly's "Hot in Herre," so perhaps others will follow suit by offering their own takes on popular hip-hop and R&B joints.

For those of us interested in preserving any dignity that this scene has left, a word of advice: Try to keep from losing your mind if you happen to hear the song from a Tampax commercial at a WMC party. It makes the real dance music look bad, and it would suck to have to say that this was the hit of the week.

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Tamara Palmer

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