The story behind this tune is an interesting one. LaToya Jackson has had a somewhat spotty career in dance music. "If You Feel the Funk," from the singer's self-titled debut, peaked at No. 17 in 1980. LaToya has changed her name to Toy and is now back on the charts in 2004 with her biggest dance music hit. The recently released "Just Wanna Dance" from her double-disc album Startin' Over which is due out in September, 2004 on Ja-Tail Records, peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music chart.
Fearing that DJs and radio would refuse to give "Just Wanna Dance" a chance, the record was sent to select DJs and radio outlets across Europe and the U.S. with no information about the artist. In some cases, the artist was referred to as a "Newcomer" and in other instances as a European artist. The catchy song stood on its own and soon started to create a buzz, first in Europe and then stateside. The lyrics are simple, with Toy singing about how she wants to "Dance all night" and there are some fun androgynous references. Toy's vocals suit the sing-songy verses quite well.
The CD single (currently promo only) comes full of 9 options and there's something for everyone here. There are 4 vocal club mixes, 2 each from Jason Randolph and Vibelicious. The Vibelicious Club Mix turns it out with a bouncy trance-infused mix. This mix uses some great short drum builds and drops in the chorus, and a synth line that follows toys la-da-di-la-da-da vocals. The Vibelicious Cyber Club Mix has a great drum pattern and the first part of this mix emphasizes the "Shakin' My Ass" line from the song. The interesting part of this mix for me was the synth arrangements in the chorus: a nice change-up!
My personal favorite mix on this package is Jason Randoph's Toy's Extended Vocal with a running synth line that could move anyone to the dancefloor. Randolph uses some great vocal effects that keep the energy going. All of Toy's vocals are used on this mix and the classic house sounding synth stabs compliment them well. For those who need a dub to work with, an almost 10 minute track is worked by Randolph as well and it's an all-around excellent effort.
For radio programmers, both the Vibelicious and Jason Randolph mixes are included in various forms. Mixshows and Top-40 programmers should have no problem finding a viable option here for their playlists. The one warning I would have would be this: don't judge this tune by what is labeled as the "Radio Edit." This is the original song and although it's "Okay" it doesn't come close to what the remixers hard work did to polish this song into a gem. If you're in radio, head straight for the radio remix edits: you won't regret it.
Overlook the hype that is Toy and enjoy the pure pop goodness that is "Just Wanna Dance".