Ingrid Chavez Releases a Trio of Sultry ‘Justify My Love’ Remixes
When Ingrid Chavez at last released her own version of ‘Justify My Love’ this past December, she decisively reclaimed the song she had co-written with Lenny Kravitz thirty years ago – which would become one of Madonna’s biggest ever hits. One time Prince protege Chavez had initially been left off the writing credits, but an eventual and successful lawsuit saw to her name being restored.
Surely there was little reason to not keep the celebration going, and she followed by releasing an accompanying video this past February, which was sexy, captivating, and just the right amount of provocative. And today she completes the triumvirate by delivering a trio of remixes of the track, which only serve to remind of its remarkable versatility. Indeed, first up is the reworking by Hong-Kong-by-way-of-Berlin-and-Warsaw producer and sound designer Tomasz Guiddo, who infuses it with gently tribal rhythms and sultry vibes, the end result curiously enough sonically recalling the Tina Turner classic ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It?’ And considering the carnal nature of the lyrics (“Wanting, needing, waiting…”), that would certainly seem to be a totally reasonable question to ask.
It’s followed by an uplifting Charles Webster (the UK house/downtempo stalwart) mix, which decisively brightens the mood, adding a layer of subtly lush atmospherics, and surreally robotic backing vocals. Ms. Chavez’ voice sounds alluringly breathy, almost gossamer, as she intones the philosophical lyrical observation, “Poor is the man whose pleasure / Depends on the permission of another.” It’s a bit of wisdom that has held up remarkably well three decades on.
But then Webster takes it into the nocturnal with his throbbing, deeply sensual ‘Midnight Mix’, sort of mitigated-BPM trance, with sensually thumping bass, and some eerie background wailing. Ingrid’s vocals here verge on the spectral, almost otherworldly, as if the song were a seance calling on her from the afterlife.
“Having lived with the original version of ‘Justify My Love’ for all these years,” she explains, “listening to these words and my voice put into a different soundscape allows me hear it all with fresh ears. It’s truly inspiring to see how deep a remixer will dive into creating their own interpretation, keeping the essence of the original vocal but managing to transport the listener somewhere else entirely.”
Though it’s hinted that more remixes are to come, this first round brilliantly completes a more than six month cycle of Chavez shouting out to the universe that ‘Justify My Love’ is indeed her song. With all apologies to Madonna, of course.