By Emma Hamilton
Review of We Love Dogs! By Remi Wolf, Released May 5, 2021
I hold one of the most unpopular opinions: I don't love dogs. I'm not even allergic. I just never had a dog growing up and honestly they seem like a lot of work to take care of. Seriously, dog owners, I'm impressed. Yet, if anyone is able to change my mind, it just might be Remi Wolf.
I first heard Wolf's “Photo ID” remix by Free Nationals late last fall. Prior to then, I had heard a couple of her earlier singles, like “Guy” and “Woo!,” but hearing this remix made me keep a special eye on Wolf as a rising artist. In particular, the high-pitched, distorted, and heavily-autotuned verse of this remix (1:11-1:28), paired with Wolf's style in general, reminded me of the experimental nature of Prince in similar genres of Pop, R&B, funk, rock, and soul. Since then, Wolf's “Photo ID” has reached a broader audience through TikTok and a reimagined version with Dominic Fike.
Earlier this month, Remi Wolf released her remix EP/album, We Love Dogs!, which consists of remixes of songs from her past EPs You're A Dog! and I'm Allergic To Dogs!, including both versions of “Photo ID” with Free Nationals and Dominic Fike. As a whole, the 15-track release works to reimagine Wolf's past EPs by featuring a wide range of artists in style and familiarity like Kimbra, Sylvan Esso, Hot Chip, Polo & Pan, L'Impératrice, Beck, Panda Bear, Phony Ppl, Gabriel Garzón-Montano, Porches, Nile Rodgers, Little Dragon and Tune-Yards.
Yet, the degree by which each song on this release was reimagined varies greatly. Some songs received dramatic makeovers that made the remixes featured on We Love Dogs! unrecognizable from their corresponding original songs. Notably, Sylvan Esso transformed the originally dreamy, bedroom pop “Rufufus” from You're A Dog! to an electronic pop dance anthem on We Love Dogs!. At the same time, a handful of the remixes, including the “Shawty” remix by Nile Rodgers, do not stray far from the originals but include big-name artists to make the remixes stand out regardless.
Other songs on We Love Dogs!, beyond “Photo ID,” have been remixed and reimagined more than once. For instance, “Woo!” is remixed by both Panda Bear and Porches and “Disco Man” by both Hot Chip and Little Dragon. While it is not uncommon for songs to be remixed multiple times by different artists, the frequency that exists with Wolf's songs makes me wonder just how many more times her often already upbeat pop, funk, and soul singles can be remixed by other artists. Moreover, as a fan of Wolf's, I'm anxious for her to release more of her own original singles, or better yet, a new full-length album.
The chronological tone shift found in the titles of Wolf's discography from You're A Dog! to I'm Allergic To Dogs! to We Love Dogs! is notable itself and sort of relates back to my relationship with dogs as stated in the beginning. While listening to and discovering more of Wolf over the past year or so, I have also become fonder of dogs. It really may be a coincidence that my sister just got the cutest dog ever around the time of the release of We Love Dogs!, but nevertheless, it could be argued that the groovy tunes by Wolf helped influence my own attitude shift towards dogs. Or, in reference to the tone shift of her EP titles, perhaps Wolf and I are experiencing our own attitude shifts towards dogs at the same time. What I really want is for someone to just call us besties already, can't you tell?
Enough about me, another way to look at the tone shift of the titles of Wolf's discography could be expressing the beauty in collaboration and multiple perspectives in art. For example, Wolf went from being “allergic” to “loving” dogs with the release of her collaborative 15-track remix EP/album. As much as I would love for Wolf to release a full length album with brand-new songs, I have enjoyed listening to all of the remixes and hearing what other artists are able to do with her songs on We Love Dogs!. Moreover, with such a wide range of different interpretations of Wolf's songs, it makes me wonder what classifies originality in art. Don't all of us artists draw inspiration and borrow ideas from other artists? Isn't that what makes art beautiful? Is that what Wolf and friends are trying to express through the release of We Love Dogs!? If yes, then I want to love dogs too.
- Prince's 1988 Album Lovesexy
- Tierra Whack, Remi Wolf states her as inspiration for her work (along with Seth Rogan)