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I wrote this in a follow-up message to a review I made, and decided to post it here and at my page because it describes a lot of my opinion on vocal trance.
As a vocalist, I'm terribly biased-ly fond of vocal trance songs, but I don't believe that a song can ride completely on its vocals, no matter how good they are.
It's a nice thought. but I'm a vocalist with a well-rounded and self-critical perspective, not an ego trip, regarding vocals. :P Unfortunately, this also makes me very harsh not only with myself in judging vocal songs, but the instrumentation. I've never even done a collaboration I was completely satisfied with. Here's hoping that changes in the future.
I tend to think that really quality vocal trance has instrumentals that still bring a LOT to the table even without vocals-- ever noticed that a lot of the released dub mixes of vocal trance songs have few to no vocals? And sometimes, instrumental tracks are released on singles, too. A lot of vocal trance probably wouldn't be able to stand on its own, true. But would you settle for that?
For me, that's what distinguishes unique trance from mainstream dance hits. They have widespread appeal because of simplistic catchy vocals-- give the mainstream something more complex and they go "it all sounds the same!" unless it has vocals. People listen not to instrumental subtleties, but singers. Usually only vocal trance tracks or melodic tracks with simple catchy melodies ("Traffic", anyone?) make it big in the mainstream.
Okay, that was probably a needlessly long-winded intro. Point is, you can depend on the vocals for a vocal track and get away with it just fine, but you could always soar past that level. Because the remixes that are really remembered out there stand out because of their unique twists and differences from the original-- not just using the vocal track but building on it. Classics like the remixes of Delerium's "Silence", for instance.