The Tab’s Album Round Up
CHRIS BANNON and GEORGE OSBORN mull over Marina Diamandis and punch in Peter Gabriel
Marina & The Diamonds – The Family Jewels
Marina Diamandis is not your average Welsh musician. The theatrical singer songwriter has created an album that shows off the different ranges of her voice and a variety of pop sounds. The Shampian Sleeper would not be out of place on Abba’s greatest hits, whilst on the opening of Numb I thought Kate Bush was making an addition to the album. Obsessions has to be the highlight – a stripped down track which reveals the true potential of her voice. Many fans have already been acquired by lead single Hollywood, a song with a chorus so infectious I’m surprised the BBC haven’t put out a health warning for it. The lyric, “Oh My God, you look just like Shakira, No no Catherine Zeta, Actually my name’s Marina” however does hint some arrogance. She’s not a success yet, but from this album she probably will be. There is much to praise on this album, but it’s far from perfect. The appallingly named Hermit the Frog could probably have been left off the album, whilst the chorus of Girls “Na-na-na-na” many may find annoying. These aside though it is a solid album – over to you Ellie Goulding to try and beat it next week…
Various Artists – Glee: The Music Volume 1
Seriously what has become of the UK’s taste in music? I mean having Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ in the top chart for several months was enough of a joke. Don’t get me wrong it’s a classic song but it’s over 30 years old! But then I had to burst out laughing when a terrible cover of it leap-frogged it in the chart. That cover was performed by the cast of TV show Glee, a TV show that is so High School Music it’s almost a crime. The majority of the 17 songs on the album may have been classics at one point, but being sung by the cast it sound so sickly sweet on the record that I could feel my teeth beginning rot. I have to give them some credit though – they have beaten Simon Cowell at his own game, owning the chart with numerous shoddy covers. If you are not a teenage girl who still loves all things Disney, give this a miss. If you think I’m being mean, I can assure I could have been much harsher reviewing this. I thought I should give the editors a weekend off though.
Scratch my Back – Peter Gabriel Returning after 8 years in the wilderness, Peter Gabriel comes up with a bafflingly poor and ineffective covers album. After hearing the free to download version of Flume by Bon Iver I thought that the remainder of the album would be solid, at times interesting, but mostly unspectacular at worst. Instead, it’s twaddle and piffle of the highest order and incredibly self-indulgent. While I accept that a good cover should show the personality of the artist, the series of covers here show an artist who is long detached to the reality of what actually constitutes “good”. The cover of Mirrorball is such an example. Replacing a track which has ounces of subtle beauty, devastatingly brilliant orchestration and carefully weighted vocals with a brash attempt more suited to an epic film soundtrack, Gabriel tears the soul out of almost every song he covers and forgets to replace it with anything other than aimless grandeur. The shimmering brilliance of Heroes is demolished, the glory of Philadelphia is cut away and Street Spirit loses everything that made it a brilliant track. This album stinks of a payday, the lengthy justification of why it exists being little more than a cover for more cash. A textbook example that a good song can be ruined by a poor performer, Scratch my back will line bargain bins by the end of March.