The first time I heard the Tom Tom Club’s song “Genius of Love” off their eponymous debut album I thought “Hey, that’s Mariah Carey’s song.” Turns out I was only half-right. Back in 1995, when I was twelve, Mariah Carey’s hit “Fantasy” was playing on every Top 40 station and I was choreographing dance routines to it with my friends. The rhythms in Tom Tom Club’s upbeat 1981 hit made “Genius” a hip hop sampling favorite too. Public Enemy, Tupac Shakur and T.I. have all used snippets of the track. Mariah Carey created “Fantasy” as a remix and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five made “It’s Nasty”.
Fast forward 29 years and the Tom Tom Club is releasing a tribute to the tune, it comes out today, and it’s called “Genius of Live.” The album features select tracks from their “Live at the Clubhouse” album along with recent remixes of the song created by lesser known artists like the Latin-fusion band Ozomatli, the electronic dance musician Senor Coconut, and Money Mark — he’s the guy who came up with the familiar keyboard phrase that opens and underpins Beck’s hit “Where It’s At.” Money Mark’s remix of “Genius” was, well, genius. He somehow managed to make it even more uplifting, almost gleeful. He adds random found sounds to his version like snippets of phone rings, a harmonica track and a woman mumbling words in German.
Tom Tom Club’s founding members, the husband and wife team of Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, spoke to Studio 360 a few years ago about the artwork of James Rizzi — whose artwork is on the covers of three of their albums. They explain how Rizzi’s cartoonish and colorful drawings match perfectly with the sound and message of their music.
Tom Tom Club Fans were bummed when the band recently had to cancel some tour dates (it’s their first tour in ten years), but TTC is still set to play The Getty in Los Angeles on October the 9th. Check the rest of their tour dates here. Listen to all the “Genius of Love” remixes here.