Remixes are every bit as important, sometimes even more important to the success of a song. The music industry has rightfully embraced remixes as a driving force in promotion, with house heavyweights, drum and bass bigwigs, and hip-hop honchos the world over, celebrating the art of reevaluation, reinterpretation, and remix. However, with remixes now as influential as the artists’ original, as has been the case for decades, sometimes the 2.0 can come out on top.
Here we examine some of those moments throughout history, where the remix is simply better than the original. Spanning electronic, rock, hip-hop and more, from as early as 1989 through to 2018, here are 30 remixes better than the original.
30. Haim – Don’t Save Me (Cyril Hahn Remix)
Haim are no stranger to remixes, providing their own interpretation of Tame Impala’s Cause I’m A Man, and enlisting Asap Ferg for a remix of My Song 5. But Cryil Hahn’s rejuvenation of Don’t Save Me brought new life to one of their debut’s more forgettable singles.
29. Lil Wayne – Lollipop (Kanye West Remix)
What do you do as self-proclaimed ‘greatest rapper alive’, when you have one of the biggest hip-hop albums in years, with one of the era’s biggest tracks? Enlist Kanye West for the remix of course.
28. N.E.R.D. – Lemon (Drake Remix)
When a group like N.E.R.D. finally return to action with a full-length project, it needs a big lead single, of which Lemon certainly was. The only way to make Lemon any better would be to put one of the industry’s biggest names on the remix.
27. Miike Snow – Animal (Mark Ronson Remix)
Released within a few years of Mark Ronson’s brass-brimmed, soul-centred album of covers- 2007’s Version, Ronson took control of Miike Snow’s indie-electro hit Animal. Trading synths for sax, Ronson’s take on the track resulted in a off-kilter reggae jam.
26. AlunaGeorge – Attracting Flies (Baauer Remix)
Not so long ago, the then-unknown Baauer had huge few years spearheaded by one of the decades biggest tracks, Harlem Shake. Attracting Flies was one of many follow-up remixes.
25. Hundred Waters – Show Me Love (Skrillex Remix ft Chance The Rapper)
With Skrillex at the helm and support from Chance The Rapper on vocals, this remix of Show Me Love transformed the sleepy R&B tune into an off-electro banger.
24. Miguel – Waves (Tame Impala Remix)
Tame Impala remixes are a rarely seen, but often heard affair. And in something of an unexpected coming together, Kevin Parker saw fit to rework Miguel’s R&B jam Waves, and the results were jaw-dropping.
23. Nneka – Heartbeat (Chase & Status’ We Just Bought A Guitar Remix)
This tired R&B pop single from Nneka took on a new life courtesy of Chase & Status, who transformed Heartbeat into a guitar-heavy electro banger. It later entered a third life cycle when sampled for Rita Ora’s RIP.
22. Bondax – Gold (Snakehips Bootleg)
The sun-kissed stylings of Bondax burst onto the scene back in 2013-2014 through a slurry of beach-ready beats and jams. Snakehips were among the same Hype Machine-powered rises, and Gold was an eloquent, and well-timed meeting of minds.
21. Kid Cudi Vs Crookers – Day N Night
In 2018, Kid Cudi is a world away from the Day N Night-era Cudi, but courtesy of a Crookers remix, it’s still among his biggest tunes to date.
20. The Chemical Brothers – Life is Sweet (Daft Punk Remix)
Perhaps the most underrated and slept upon remix within this list. Not often in life do two acts of such magnitude and influence come together like this. Daft Punk one-upped The Chems back in 1995, with their remix of Life is Sweet. .
19. DJ Fresh – Gold Dust (Shy FX Re-Edit)
DJ Fresh has long-since departed from the underground DnB sound he became known for, favouring all-out electro/pop instead. With his remix of Gold Dust, Shy FX reminded DJ Fresh about where he came from.
18. JAY Z & Linkin Park – Numb/Encore
The Collision Course EP between JAY Z and Linkin Park will forever divide opinion, but the project’s lead single continues to hold respect and acclaim several years later.
17. Benny Benassi – Cinema (Skrillex Remix)
Once upon a time, Skrillex, alongside a slurry of fellow dubstep pioneers, dominated summer soundtracks the world over. Amid the titanic drops, and bone-shaking bass, came perhaps one of dubstep’s breakthrough moments- Skrillex’s remix of Benny Benassi’s Cinema.
16. Radiohead – Separator (Four Tet RMX)
TKOL RMX is of course the 2011 remix album of Radiohead’s The King of Limbs, an album teaming with acclaimed remixers, including Jamie xx, Caribou, and SBTRKT. But the project’s best moment came courtesy of Four Tet, a man of course no stranger to a remix.
15. Gorillaz – 19/2000 (Soulchild Remix)
Gorillaz’s self-titled debut album was groundbreaking in more than many ways, and among the album was the genre-crossing top ten single 19/2000. But the real genius came via Soulchild, who injected elements of acid house and jazz into his take.
14. Tove Lo – Stay High (Hippie Sabotage Remix)
Tove Lo hasn’t quite made the impact many expected, particularly with some big collaborations under her belt. Arguably her breakthrough moment, the Hippie Sabotage remix of Stay High, took the UK scene by storm, with an incredible video to match.
13. Eric Prydz – Opus (Four Tet Remix)
On reflection, Four Tet could have had an entire article dedicated to his remixes alone, but as anybody out raving, dancing or festival-ing in the summer of 2015 can attest, this was the song.
12. Dusty Springfield – Spooky (Quinten 909 Extended Remix)
Covered, sampled, reworked, remixed, the original 1967 version of Spooky by Classics IV, has had its fair share of interpretations. Super sexy, silky smooth, and sun-kissed, Quinten 909’s remix was primed and perfected for the pool, the beach, the club, the festival, and the after-party, and still goes down just as well today.
11. Justice v Simian – We Are Your Friends
Justice are rightfully regarded as one of the most important electronic acts in the world right now, and We Are Your Friends, with help from Simian, is one of their earliest hits.
10. Jamiroquai – Space Cowboy (David Morales Remix)
While Jamiroquai’s music already has plenty of acid, jazz and good vibes, David Morales took things up a notch with his now-legendary remix of 1994’s Space Cowboy.
9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll (A-Trak Remix)
Perhaps the best example of a modern-day anthem on this list. A-Trak’s rework of Heads Will Roll, coupled with a heavy featuring in Project X, quickly became the ongoing soundtrack for many millennials’ summers.
8. Disclosure – You & Me (Flume Remix)
You & Me, the pop-two-step hit by Disclosure, took on an completely new form thanks to a 2014 remix by Flume. The song’s entire composition and genre is shuffled and reevaluated, resulting in a mesmerising repurpose.
7. M.O.P. – Ante Up (Remix ft Busta Rhymes, Remy Martin and Teflon)
Easily recognised as one of the best-known remixes in hip-hop history, M.O.P. enlisted the talents of Remy Martin, Teflon and of course, Busta Rhymes, in which creating an iconic posse-cut remix.
6. Happy Mondays – Hallelujah (Paul Oakenfold & Andrew Weatherall Mix)
Paul Oakenfold and Andrew Weatherall were two of the most important producers of the 90’s, lending their hand to a multitude of bands including Primal Scream, The Stone Roses, New Order and Massive Attack. A rework of Happy Mondays’ Hallelujah was among the many highlights from the pair..
5. Everything But The Girl – Missing (Todd Terry Remix)
You’d be forgiven for forgetting Tracey Thorne and co.’s contributions to music besides that killer Massive Attack collaboration. And besides Protection, Everything But The Girl’s biggest moment was almost definitely courtesy of Todd Terry, who created something of a legendary Ibiza anthem.
4. The Prodigy – Voodoo People (Pendulum Remix)
Often flirting with the idea of drum and bass and jungle, an all-out dnb remix seemed long-overdue for The Prodigy, and Pendulum’s remix of Voodoo People continues to be held as a drum and bass institution.
3. Cornershop – Brimful Of Asha (Norman Cook/Fatboy Slim Remix)
Not much really became of Cornershop, with their biggest hit coming via a Fatboy Slim remix, then under his real name Norman Cook. Still iconic all these years later.
2. La Roux – In For The Kill (Skream’s Let’s Get Ravey Remix)
When dubstep was all the rage, and La Roux was dominating the airwaves with her slurry of synth-pop singles, Skream stepped in to collide the two worlds. While dubstep continues to age poorly, Skream’s In For The Kill remix still continues to hold a powerful legacy, as one of the best remixes of all time.
Primal Scream – Loaded (Andrew Weatherall Mix)
The fact that one of Primal Scream’s biggest tracks is actually a remix, often raises a few eyebrows. Tasked with reevaluating Primal Scream’s sleeper hit I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have, it was Andrew Weatherall who took the helm, giving birth to one of the 90s’ most important tracks.