Reworking a massive tune is always a risky business, specially when the original, instrumental release of 'The Push' was named by Pete Tong as an ‘Essential New Tune’. Fellow Radio 1 deeejjjjjay Colin Murray actually exhorted people to "buy it before they put a cheesy vocal on it", with tongue not entirely in cheek.
Thankfully, Jackson’s collaboration with Dirty Vegas vocalist Steve Smith on this rejigged and updated version is as far from cheesy as you are likely to get. All tablas and twisty, glissandic laid-back breakback flow, with insistent bass fourplay, this is destined as a deep and direct dancefloor classic. Retaining the shuffling, sniffling percussion-led darkness of the original whilst managing to add shades of pure soul to the mix, it's a tribute to the subtle production touches that ‘The Push (Far From Here)’ now feels like it’d be naked without the lyrical pleadings of the singer.
Hitting on a sentiment that’s universal both in the nightflyin’ club and in strifestrewn life, Smith’s pleading sense of confusion, loss and resignation is palpable within the simplest and most evocative of phrases that stay just about on the naïve side of trite:
“Tell myself if I don’t change my ways / Never know the difference that it makes /
If I don’t push myself to face my fears / I’ll never see a world that’s far from here /
Don’t know where I’m going, in a world that waits for me”
Not exactly Shakespeare, but better than his sister could ever manage, innit.
And, yeah, since you ask, the erstwhile Tong’s claimed this version as another ‘essential new tune’. Now normally you’d think he needs to get out more. But on this occasion, he’s only got it right ya know. Quality.