Often, the idea of piling loads of superstars onto a single track sounds a lot better in theory than it turns out in practice. Record labels have never found a hit that they didn’t think could be improved (read: juiced for more streams) by throwing a new A-List name into the mix (case in point: the 193 remixes of “Old Town Road”). The maximalism usually gets messy. But “Life Is Good (Remix),” the best song on Future’s new album, High Off Life, proves to be an exception.
The album—which, surprise, is the length of two!—features some strong solo cuts (“Posted With Demons,” “Outer Space Bih,” “Too Comfortable”) and notable pairings (Young Thug joins for “Harlem Shake,” Travis Scott for “Solitaires”), too. But it’s the last two songs, when Future transitions from superhero to Avengers-assembling Nick Fury, that things really turn up. You probably don’t have anywhere to go right about now, but the Tay Keith-produced minor-key banger “100 Shooters” (which features strong verses from Meek Mill and Doe Boy) will make you want to take a drive purely for the pleasure of rolling down the windows and letting the woofing bass blanket your block. And the finale, where Future brings in DaBaby and Lil Baby to remix the already-stellar Future-Drake single “Life Is Good,” is the album’s peak.
“Life Is Good (Remix),” of course, isn’t new. It was originally released as a single back in February, when its title wasn’t even ironic. The quality of the song hasn’t changed—it’s just as much the thumping multi-chapter trap saga now as it was then—but its context, obviously, has. It could’ve easily become salt in our collective wound: a reminder that life is, uh, not good. But now, it simply provides vicarious thrills (oh, February). The hefty beat will get you moving. With its four participants each bringing it, it quickly becomes a party you want to attend. And their flexing is too creative and good-natured to be off-putting (Future opens the song with: “Say she want to eat sushi, I gave her enough to go shoppin’”; another gem is, “Hermes hit my main line ’cause they know I’m lit”).
The song, produced by Ambezza, OZ, and D. Hill, chops up the Drake-Future original so that there’s a lot less Drake (he’s relegated to a short early chorus), a tad less Future, and space enough for the two Babies. It performs the same trick as the original, changing up the beat midway through so it sounds like two songs. But on this version, Future threads the two sides together with his verses—accompanying Drake on the first half and DaBaby and Lil Baby on the second. And because of the marked difference between Drake’s noirish flow on the one side and DaBaby and Lil Baby’s energetic bounce on the other, the remix gives the impression that Future is traversing completely different universes—the color underexposed in the first world and then overexposed in the second.
Who knows what the motivation for the “Life Is Good” remix actually was, but the result is a legitimately creative retooling. It’s a new study in contrasts, this one infusing its back half with fresh air instead of Southern heat. And with its dual-paned structure, you could conceivably imagine the remixes not just continuing, but continuing to yield intriguing results. New guests would present new juxtapositions—something different, and not just more. Its title becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. At least for five-minute intervals.