Smokey's version of "Outside the Lines" isn't bad, per se, but it doesn't have much more than one dimension: it's a song about going out and having a good time, and it's set to a bouncy, major-key dance beat. These elements aren't exactly in tension. Data Romance swaps out this music for a seething, New-Wave synth line and a snare mixed so low it barely registers. Somehow, this has the curious effect of making the singer sound like he doesn't actually want to hit the club tonight.
You can hear it on the opening lines--"Call on my brother, tell him pick me up and let's ride / It's Friday night, I'm twitching, I can't stay inside." The guy sounds glum, ambivalent, almost resigned to a night out; it's as though he knows the only thing worse than going out is staying in with himself. Suddenly this is a much more interesting song. Smokey Robotic's vision of uncomplicated fun has something to recommend it, but Data Romance's blend of desire and agitation feels closer to real life.
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