Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Let Down

Song: Let Down
Artist: Easy All-Stars
Album: Radiodread

I've always enjoyed when other artists record songs by someone else. These "covers" can be straight a-head redo's of a song or, more interestingly, taking the song cross-genre's and doing something new with it. You can have the ironic indie-does-pop cover ("I Will Survive" - Cake, "Baby... One More Time" - Travis) or the "I need a hit" cover ("Blue Monday" - Orgy, "Angels," "These Boots Are Made For Walking," "Public Affair" - Jessica Simpson... oops, "Public Affair" isn't ACTUALLY a cover of Madonna's "Holiday," nor was "Ice Ice Baby" and "Under Pressure" re-run, yeah.) Sometimes a cover is what helps launch a new artist (again Orgy, "Bizarre Love Triangle" - Frente, "Comfortably Numb" - Scissor Sisters) and it really depends on the band if they have the chops to take that buzz and keep going. The Scissor Sisters had many bigger UK hits than "Comfortably Numb," and therefore won't be remembered in this fashion. Frente and Orgy on the other hand probably won't e remembered at all. (Although, Frente's debut "Marvin: The Album" not only has that pretty acoustic version of "Triangle" but a handful of fun quirky Australian-pop tunes that are worth a listen.)

The Easy All-Stars take things a bit further. After a collection of songs they produced was released in 1998, they decided to take a different approach and record a song for song re-recording of Pink Floyd's most famous album, "Dark Side of the Moon" Their version, re-titled "Dub Side of the Moon" was a complete reggae redux, highlighting the already stoner vibe the original carried. For the follow up, they have chosen to give the same treatment to Radiohead's "O.K. Computer." "Radiodread" as they titled it, is a slow burn reggae record that just happens to be comprised from one of my favorite records of all time.

What is interesting about this is the immediate familiarity of the material despite its newness. I love these songs, and while this could have been a trainwreck, it all works because these guys are good musicians and are respectful enough of the material. You can not deny the scary future-is-awful-and-future-is-now lyrical content that is contained in the original "Computer" and Thom Yorke's oblique vibe is kept in tact yet under a completely different context. It's odd for this type of easy going reggae, whose roots involve blissed out moments on Caribbean beaches, to be used for such paranoia-inducing subject matter. On the other hand, the original versions are already considered stoner classics now.

I like this record, and perfect for when this type of music's vibe is needed, and/or when the original "O.K. Computer" is a bit too much. But when is that? If nothing else, it's a good thing to tide you over until the next ACTUAL Radiohead record... because the Thom Yorke solo record just didn't really do it.


1 comment:

Morrissey said...

it was kinda hard for me to enjoy the album as OK computer as one of my favorite on all time .