Aussie Ninja snuggles up with Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
Publisher: Shock Records
Tue, 3 October 2006
by: Australian Ninja
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I promise not to use the words 'groovy' 'far our man' or 'can you dig it' at any time during this review of a 60's cover songs album.This album sits in a weird place. Balanced precariously on top of a pile of games and music, it seems inevitable that it will fall off. This leads me to the alarming conclusion that my home is running out of flat surfaces to stack music and DVDs upon.
You know, a whole lot of things happened in the 1960s. But I wasn't alive back then so I don't have any tales calculated to drive you insane. So inept is my grasp of the '60s that I don't have even one long rambling incoherent and fantastic tale about people I can't remember in a place I don't quite recall.
Under the Covers features covers of popular '60s songs from acts such as: The Who, The Beatles, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Bee Gees, The Mamas and the Papas and others.
The cover songs are performed by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, or The Big Dude and the Hot Lady as I call them. Who are they? Yeah I'm still scratching my head too. The important thing is "Sid 'n Susie" know what they are doing which is more than I can say for myself in writing this review.
On the one hand, people familiar with the original 1960's versions of these songs may be put off by these renditions - which can vary dramatically from the older versions. On the other hand people who have never heard these songs before - may find the album quite enjoyable. But, really, most of us will fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
Did I enjoy the album myself? You bet I did. But more for the vocal talents of the two performers, rather than for the fact that they're doing covers of famous and popular songs.
Cover songs can be brilliant at times. Sometimes a cover can even be done well enough that it will even eclipse the original version. Other times a song will be covered to death and the original may still be the best. Yes, the cover song is a strange breed. Often found lurking in the night, - sometimes in a karaoke bar - it displays its bizarre mating call and then disappears into the night.
Looking at the album as individual cover songs, they are all 'nice' but not spectacular. However listening to the whole album and just forgetting that the songs are covers [for those of us who can] makes for highly enjoyable listening.
If you like sweet sounding 60's music, then you will most likely enjoy this collection. The vocals are sung equally by both Matthew and Susanna - but overall Susanna has the stronger voice, which stands out on most songs. I'm not familiar with her music, but I would definitely like to hear more from her - preferably singing her own original songs.
The quality of this product is not really in question. Good songs, great voices, it all comes down to personal taste. Don't expect to hear hard rock, or overly negative themes here. Under The Covers captures the sweetness, innocence - and most importantly - the feeling of 60's music nicely. [Sammy's note: Not all 60's songs are supposed to be sweet and innocent though. This CD's twee, happy go lucky take on Dylan's "Its All Over Now, Baby Blue", for instance, is a drastically inappropriate misinterpretation which saps all potency from the song's lyrics. Sorry for sticking my fat head in, like usual, Ninja - but you know how much of a Bob Dylan fan I am. I just couldn't stop myself from commenting on that one. I mostly really liked this album too, by the way!]
Favourites? Their version of The Bee Gees "Run to me" is beautiful and just grabs my heart. The Marmalade's "I See the Rain" is another good one. The other highlight for me was the cover of The Velvet Underground's "Sunday Morning."
I've never heard any of the songs before in my life, so I have a different take than folks who would be more familiar with the originals. Overall, it's a decent collection of songs and I enjoyed them.
by: Australian Ninja
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Sweet easy listening songs, with a 60s vibe