I was recently hanging around the DVD, CD section of Asda while my partner was doing food shopping (this has become a habit) and I heard a song from the 80’s that I recognised as a Talking Heads song (for those of you who have heard of them). It sounded very different so I stayed to see what would come on next out of interest and “Ain’t nobody loves you better” by Chak Khan came on but it wasn’t Chaka Khan singing it and it sounded very different and contemporary so now I was intrigued. One more track came on “This womans work” by Kate Bush came on and another artist singing it. So I had to ask the guy behind the counter what CD was playing as by now I was totally impressed by the 3 songs I had heard and he told me that the album was called “Sounds of the 80’s volume 2”. I didn’t buy the album right away but went away but I couldn’t get the songs out of my so by the end of the week.
The album contains cover versions of songs from the 80’s but sung by bands and singers popular in the 00’s (noughties). I found that some songs worked really well, and others! I just didn’t like them but you might. There are 2 CD’s and 36 tracks altogether and I am not going to go through every single track but I will give you the heads up of what worked for me and what definitely didn’t work for me, but you may, after listening to the album have a different list. So here goes what really worked for me!
There are two versions on “I’m on fire” by Bruce Springstein on the album, the one that worked for me was sung by Leanne Rimes. This version had a nice country feel to the song, her vocals were mellow and perfect throughout the track. I enjoyed the drumming that gave you a feeling of heading down a railway track full steam ahead. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was driving I might have been tapping a toe.
“Owner of a lonely heart” by Yes and sung by Seal is soulful and beautiful. I never was a Yes fan in the 70’s or 80’s and though I recall the chorus to the song it never did anything for me but I was so touched by Seals version. You hear and feel every word of the song and it has given me a greater appreciation for the lyrics of this song.
“Red red wine” by UB40, I was a UB40 fan back in the day, in fact I love most reggae. James Morrison, who also I am a fan of, brings clarity to the vocals I never got from the UB40 version (it wasn’t original to them but written and sung by Neil Diamond). It has the reggae feel to it and it is played on an acoustic guitar accompanied by bass and drums.
Two tracks I have already mentioned that really work for me at that is “Road to nowhere” by Talking Heads and “Ain’t nobody” by Chaka Khan. I was a massive Talking Heads fan and I still listen to their albums now. The Feeling do a good job on the track Road to nowhere and reminded me very much of the original version. There is a nice use of an organ in this song, it reminded me of the old Hammond organs that were so popular. The Foxes also did a beautiful version of Ain’t nobody, the vocals were pure and clear with piano accompanying the singing.
Also worth mentioning are the following tracks “Dancing in the dark” another song by Bruce Springstein but sung by Tom Odell. Tom is accompanied by a piano on this track and unlike the original is a ballad and sang with great emotion and made me appreciate the words behind the music.
There a great cover of (Feels like) heaven by Fiction Factory and sung by the Manic Street Preachers. Also Madonna’s “Like a prayer” which is sung by All Saints, they capture the feeling of the song and lyrics and in my mind did a better job on it than Madonna herself (controversial!). The other tracks that I thought were brilliant was “All night long” sung by Jack Savoretti, “Wonderful Life” sung by Turin Brakes. “Sign your name” which was originally sung by Terence Trent D’arby (who had an incredible voice) and on this album sung by another artist who also has three names, Corinne Bailey Rae, who does an equally good job on this track. As I said there are 36 tracks on this album and if I was to list them all you would either be reading this for ages or fall asleep on me.
What didn’t work for me
I have been a David Bowie fan for most of my life and looked forward to listening to “Lets dance” covered by Guy Garvey. Guy has a good voice but i just don’t feel this song was written as an acoustic ballad, I appreciated where he was going with the song but i felt it lost the punch of the original.
“Purple rain” by the Artist formerly known as Prince, is it too soon to say I wasn’t a fan? I know that is going against the flow at the moment but I had to say as this may have influenced my feeling of this cover by The Waterboys I just didn’t like it and it didn’t touch me at all and for a sing to work for me it has touch me.
Another song that left me cold was “Borderline” by Madonna I am guessing this was during her desperate seeking Susan days which is sung by Steve Mason. I don’t remember if it was a big hit in the UK or the USA but this cover version didn’t really make me feel like I wanted to go back and listen to the original or even listen to the end of this track, which I did by the way so you don’t have too.
On the whole this album has a mixture of great and good covers and some skip this track songs too. I would recommend this album for anyone who remembers the 80’s as it is a great showcase of modern bands and singers. You never know you may want to go out and buy their albums after. For those who are too young for the 80’s but know the bands and singers it is a great opportunity to listen to what your Mum/Dad/Grandma/Granddad listened to in a way you can appreciate.
I would give this experience 4 stars as the songs that I enjoyed are done really well and enjoy listening to them.
What songs would you like to see covered by todays artists?
Do you agree or disagree with my review?
Leave any comments below and I look forward to replying