"Vibe Your Love"

by Maceo Plex

(Crosstown Rebels)

Released on vinyl at the end of November and available digitally the first week of January, this single extends Crosstown Rebels' recent hot streak. Three years ago, the London dance label nearly ran aground thanks to distributor issues not once but twice. Now two of its 2010 tracks, Deniz Kurtel's "Yeah" and Art Department's "Without You," featured on many of the big year-end dance-mag lists—the latter usually appearing at #1 or #2 (playing chase-the-tail with Tensnake's "Coma Cat").

"Vibe Your Love" fits neatly with Crosstown's recent style: full, unhurried house that carries both a hint of electro (in the squiggling synth line that provides the track's beefiest hook) and unflashy drama. But it's the song proper that fascinates me. A full four minutes into its eight and a half minutes, vocalist Peter King comes in with a verse that doesn't quite register and then a chorus that does. It's "For Your Love," a minor Stevie Wonder hit from 1995's Conversation Peace (#11 R&B, #50 pop; the best thing on a not-very-good album), and its lack of iconicity works in "Vibe's" favor, letting its twisting, earnest melody—pure caramel in Wonder's original—thread through Maceo Plex's sturdy track and cling to it like a vine.

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The anonymous Twitter rock critic ­ @Discographies, who humorously dispatches entire oeuvres in 140 characters, recently told the Village Voice, "I'd argue that for a lot of people the dominant mode of music consumption is neither the album or the song but the discography... if you're 15 years old... you're just going to type 'beatles' and 'discography' into Google and five minutes later you'll have every note the group ever recorded on your hard drive."

"Vibe Your Love" seems like a logical extension of that idea. Conversation Peace has littered used bins since it came out; Amazon has 102 copies, some for one cent—no one's in a hurry to enshrine it. But as part of Wonder's career arc? Well, sure, why not? That's how I heard it. I recently reviewed Wonder's discography, and as part of a giant torrent, it escapes its own taint even further. Not that this is necessarily how Plex or King first heard it; they likely knew and loved the song from when it was current. The 15-year time span between original and remake seems about right in nostalgia-train terms. But crate-digging is usually about finding cool gems you never see around anymore. I wonder if this record portends more of the opposite. recommended