For 20 weeks Lil Nas X took his horse to the old town road and proceeded to savagely beat it’s corpse with remix after remix in pursuit of absolute dominance over the music charts. Lil Nas X released an almost absurd four remixes for his song “Old Town Road” and the boost of each one helped keep him on top of the Billboard top 100 chart for a record amount of time – only to be dethroned by Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy”, which had a Justin Bieber remix lend its support. The success with which Lil Nas X was able to abuse the remix system to gain relevancy means it is only a matter of time before every artist tries to copycat and release remixes of their own.
Honestly, I am starting to hope that they do.
Sure, remix fatigue will probably set in after Tyga or someone drops twelve remixes trying to break the record. After all, a lot of remixes suck. Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” remix with DaBaby? I like both artists but that didn’t work at all.
When a remix does work, however, it works really nice. I think Lil Nas X showcased this really well with the initial Billy Ray Cyrus remix that both fueled commercial success and actually enhanced the song. The beauty of remixes as a chart seeking maneuver is that if a remix is bad, the original still exists. As such, I think it works better for an artist trying to get a hit to just remix a good song they already have out than trying to manufacture a “hit” that just ends up feeling uninspired.
I think the most fun thing with remixes is how interconnected it makes the industry feel. It’s a good feeling to see that a song you liked got a remix from an artist you also like. Even if it’s just a gimmick to boost streams, I’ll gladly turn a blind eye if it means we get some good music out of it.
Vincent Rendon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @VinceSagebrush.