“Tom’s Diner” is a curious track with a fascinating history. The version most of us know is a dance remix, and at the time was an unofficial dance remix under the threat of being banned for not having cleared rights to the Suzanne Vega vocal. That vocal has been cited as being the final test for mp3 compression during its creation. Here it is reinvented again as an androgynous sex-robot electronic stomper of a track, the narrative untouched but yet with the story utterly reinvented.
Of course the piece of paper on which I had written songs for consideration on this blog has great big lines of scribble through some choices. This is the most scribbled. I remember feeling genuinely conflicted about the song when I first heard it, uncertain about the great big neon light reinvention and in particular Britney’s pop robot vocal treatment. The song has not truly stood up without the 90s dance reworking with which we’re so familiar, so why should one tinkering be accepted while another is not? Perhaps I will remain conflicted for some time yet.