- To chart the evolution of Crosstown Rebels is to chart the recent evolution of house music itself. When Damian Lazarus launched the label back in 2003, he began with a stream of minimal-friendly releases, including stunners like Minilogue's "Hitchhikers Choice." Then, when tastes shifted from minimal to warmer tech house sounds, Crosstown Rebels was ready, capitalizing on the change to launch the careers of artists like Jamie Jones and Maceo Plex. The label's style is bass-heavy, poppy and instantly recognizable, the epitome of what gets referred to as "deep house" these days. Love it or hate it, this enterprising outfit is one of the most important dance music institutions in recent memory.
So how does this three-disc collection shape up? There's great stuff left off, some disagreeable inclusions and lots of huge hits. You've got Jamie Jones' "Summertime," Seth Troxler's "Love Never Sleeps," Art Department's "Without You" and Maceo Plex's "Vibe Your Love," all massive tracks that have each dominated at least one clubbing season. But the presentation here is questionable. The opening run falls flat on its face just two tracks in with Fur Coat's "You And I," with its awful chorus—"you and I/ are like cocaine and ketamine"—buying right into the clichés that dog Crosstown's reputation without even a hint of irony.
Fur Coat's track has the kind of bumping bassline that's come to define the Crosstown Rebels' sound, which points to another problem with the compilation. Though the Rebels do their best to mix it up, it gets tiresome to hear so many artists replicating that same bomp-bomp-bomp melody. The label's curation has always been more adventurous than people give it credit for—they had a Shackleton release way back when, and Bass Clef and dBridge have contributed remixes—but you might not know that from listening to 10 Years Of Crosstown Rebels.
The third disc—if you can make it that far—presents the most vibrant picture of the label, starting off with "Vibe Your Love," winding through lesser-known highlights like Mathew Jonson's "Dayz," the aforementioned Minilogue track and "Faces" from SIS. Listening through that disc, the inconsistency elsewhere on the compilation becomes frustrating—but then that's always been the case with Crosstown Rebels. One of the label's most notable characteristics is how quickly it churns out agreeable house records, one after another. Some of it's great, some of it isn't. In this sense 10 Years Of Crosstown Rebels is an honest portrait of the house music juggernaut: often formulaic, sometimes cheesy and occasionally brilliant.
01. Amirali - Beautiful World
02. Fur Coat feat. Cari Golden - You And I
03. Ali Love feat. Kali – Emperor
04. Kiki & Silversurfer feat. Captain Comatose – Shake Off
05. André Kraml feat. Schad Privat - Safari
06. Maceo Plex – Can’t Leave You
07. Jamie Jones feat. Ost & Kjex - Summertime
08. Pier Bucci – Hay Consuelo (Samin Remix)
09. Tiga – Pleasure From The Bass (Subb-an Remix)
10. Deniz Kurtel feat. Jada – The L Word
11. N/A Feat Rosina – Fables & Fairytales (Deniz Kurtel Remix)
12. Art Department – Without You
01. Seth Troxler – Love Never Sleeps
02. Dyed Soundorom feat. Aaron Carl - Naked
03. Guti & Dubshape – Every Cow Has A Bird
04. Russ Yallop – Rock Me
05. Jamie Jones – You!
06. The Royal We - Party Guilt
07. Art Department feat. Soul Clap & Osunlade - We Call Love
08. Maceo Plex - Frisky
09. Jamie Jones – Moan & Groan
10. Deniz Kurtel feat. Guests Of Nature – Yeah
11. Soul Clap – Break 4 Life
01. Maceo Plex – Vibe Your Love
02. Francesca Lombardo - Sofiel
03. Chic Miniature - Escandalo
04. Mathew Jonson – Dayz
05. Sis – Faces
06. Mlle Caro & Franck Garcia – Far Away (Jennifer Cardini & Shonky Remix)
07. Minilogue - Hitchhikers Choice
08. Inxec vs. Droog – Westbound
09. Jennifer Cardini & Shonky – Tuesday Paranoia
10. Hiem - She’s The One (Mathew Jonson Circles In Time Remix)