The Cut Up Boys serve us a 2008 compilation of their hugely popular Mash-Up Mix. What started as a stand-alone compilation in 2005 is now in its fourth year. Single unmixed versions of some of the more popular mash-ups have also been featured on Ministry of Sound's Annual 2008. And so we find ourselves here, with 105 tracks mashed-up for our aural pleasure.
Or do we? In 2005, with the original Mash-Up Mix, the Cut Up Boys brought us something fresh and new. While Soulwax admittedly had been doing bootleg mash-up compilations for years by that point, a label-backed commercial mash-up compilation was a rare thing indeed. Not only was the concept of a dance mash-up album relatively unheard of, having such iconic tracks as Freemasons' "Love On My Mind", Iio's "Rapture", Khia's "My Neck, My Back," and a slew of other hip hop and dance tracks thrown together so masterfully was like bliss. 2006 and 2007 brought more fun into the mix, each sounding unique and exciting. 2008, however, seems to be dredged in redundancy. The mix, where in the earlier conceptions was novel through its progression of hip-hop into mainstream and underground dance tracks, now feels delineated and stale.
Along the same lines, Booty Luv's tracks are used frequently on this mix, the most disastrous when Rozalla's everlasting track "Everybody's Free" is slapped on top of "Some Kinda Rush." The idea is intriguing at best, but quickly becomes grating as the keys just don't seem to match. Another sore spot is the frantic High Contract Mix of "Something Good '08" by Utah Saints that is used as the accompaniment to Soul Rebels' "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." It is messy and overbearing, and barely listenable until the calm violins kick in around 2 minutes into the track.
It isn't all bad, though. They hit some good notes that I hope are fleshed out on another Ministry of Sound compilation. The best is the use of September's vocals for "Cry For You" masterfully matched with Sash's "Encore Une Fois." The Nightcrawlers' "Push the Feeling" is thrown in there somewhere but I'm fine without knowing exactly where. Dirty Old Ann belts out "Turn Me On" with renewed vigor when The Prodigy is on the tables with "Firestarter." Anger works for the old broad. And when Roisin Murphy's vocals soar out with Moloko's track "The Time is Now" over the electro beats of Yves Larock's "Rise Up," I am definitely feeling it. "Magenta" by Arno Cost, a great track in its own right, has definitely been needing a vocal partner and has found it in "Show Me Love," performed here by Mobin Master.
Something tells me that the Cut Up Boys just need to get back to their roots. There are some good tracks out there, and they definitely haven't all been used. And a lot of prior tracks, provided that, like in the case of "Loneliness," haven't been used properly before, can be reexamined to see if perhaps they work better with another track.
Summary: For fans of the series only. Definitely find the tracks mentioned above, and if you feel you need to purchase, do it with a clear conscience.