- Paul Frick's melodic sensibilities and lighthearted attitude can always be counted on for something memorable and fun, and if we're lucky, bitingly clever as well. "I Mean" conspicuously thrusts through dense earth before breaking out into a stride that pairs an emphatic guitar squall with techno white noise chords—a dynamic arguably more interesting than BBF's live techno. But it's Emika's tremulous vocals that quickly steal the spotlight. While it might seem odd to hear her instantly recognizable intonation in such a jaunty, uplifting context, concerns melt away when the multiple Emikas converge on the chorus. Startlingly catchy, the British singer's innate paranoia mutates into a feverish euphoria that drags the track forward by its ears, and the effortless conversion has an impact that never loses potency even after being repeated across the track's lengthy duration.
The remixes don't exactly improve on the original but at least find new moods to cover. Dollkraut's remix seizes on Emika's bloodshot quivers for a rework that sounds like it was mastered off a cassette, creaking instruments and hollow percussion ringing out in an eerie vacuum. Akufen makes a rare (these days, anyway) appearance with a mix that approaches chillout territory, "Quebec Nightclub" as refracted through years of near-silence and apathy. Drowning the original's infectious momentum in pools of thick, post-peaktime atmosphere is a risky move that doesn't totally pay off. The one thing that shines through all three tracks is Emika's voice and her melody. When it's paired with so-so productions, it's a gleaming beacon; when it's paired with Paul Frick's ecstatic tech house, it's unstoppable.
A1 I Mean
A2 I Mean (Dollkrauts Band Reinterpretation)
B1 I Mean (Akufen Remix)
B2 I Mean (Instrumental Version)