You’d best be vaccinated because the July 2 release of Red Hot + Free, a two-disc upbeat compilation produced by Bill Coleman for Red Hot, the nonprofit that raises funds to fight HIV/AIDS, will make you want to hit the crowded dance floor this summer.
You can already bop to the lead single, the gospel-pop track “U Try Livin’ (Pressure)” by Black Guy White Guy and 808 Beach (watch the lyric video below), and the follow-up release “Mon Cheri,” a globe-spanning collaboration between SOFI TUKKER and Amadou & Mariam. The latter is sung in Portuguese, Bambara and French and was recorded virtually in Florida, Paris and Mali (watch the lyric video at the top of this article).
Red Hot launched its first AIDS benefit album, Red Hot + Blue in 1990, bringing together megastars, such as U2 and Blondie, to raise funds for HIV education and support grassroots activism. Since then, Red Hot has released 20 albums and raised $15 million for HIV/AIDS causes around the world.
The latest installment, Red Hot + Free, is in many ways a nod to the nonprofit’s 1992 compilation, Red Hot + Dance, which featured the smash hit “Too Funky” by George Michael as well as tracks by Madonna and Seal.
In fact, producer Coleman (aka Peace Bisquit) considers the new album a cousin to the 1992 release. He points to Billy Porter’s cover of “Caught in the Middle” for Red Hot + Free. “That, to me, brings it full circle without being overly nostalgic,” Coleman tells Entertainment Weekly. “‘Caught in the Middle’ is a ’90s house classic, but it hasn’t been played everywhere. It’s my little nod to Red Hot + Dance. We get a bit of that flavor, but freshened up for 2021.”
In other ways, EW notes, 2021 feels reminiscent of the early 1990s AIDS epidemic, with COVID-19 bringing fear, loss and anger to many Americans and shining a light on the health disparities affecting people of color.
Last year, to mark its 30th anniversary, Red Hot began releasing digital versions of albums in its vaults. To learn more, see “Red Hot Reissues of AIDS Benefit Albums From the 1990s,” which includes Neneh Cherry’s take on “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”
Red Hot + Free is out July 2. Below is the full track list.
- Sofi Tukker and Amadou & Mariam, “Mon Cheri”
- Black Guy White Guy x 808 BEACH, “U Try Livin’ (Pressure)”
- CRICKETS, “Elastic” (808 BEACH Dangerous Power Mix)
- Body Language, “Start It Up” (Red Hot Extended)
- Allie X, “Super Duper Party People” (Alan Braxe Extended Mix)
- Sam Sparro, “Pressure” (RedTop Mix)
- Ultra Naté, “Free (Live Your Life)” (Felix Da Housecat x Chris Trucher Remix)
- Billy Porter, “Caught in the Middle”
- Louis the Child & Foster the People, “Every Color” (Dombresky Remix)
- The Aces, “Daydream” (Snakehips Remix)
- Cakes da Killa & Proper Villains, “Don Dada” (Honey Dijon & Luke Solomon Extended Alcazar Remix)
- Kiwi Dreams, “It’s Ovah“
- Tituss Burgess ft. Imani Coppola, “Dance M.F.” (Red Hot Extended Mix)
- Vagabon, “Water Me Down” (Pamcy Remix)
- Casey Spooner, “I Love My Problems” (Boys’ Shorts Dancefloor Remix)
- Gloria Gaynor, “I Will Survive” (Eric Kupper Dub mix)
- Dubesque ft. Amanda Lepore, “Queen” (Club Mix)
- Bright Light Bright Light ft. the Illustrious Blacks, “These Dreams” (Red Hot Extended Mix)
In related news, see “Billy Porter Says He’s Been Living With HIV Since 2007 [VIDEO].”