Thursday, October 27, 2011

Even Better Than The Real Thing (Sometimes) Part Tres - The Q Magazine Achtung Baby Edition

We all know how much I appreciate a good cover.  The operative word here is "good"- as we all know, there are plenty of shit covers out there. (Like THIS ONE....blech).

We also all know I've been somewhat obsessed with the recent undertaking by Q Magazine to create an album of covers-- all of U2's Achtung Baby, all done by other artists.  Various tracks have leaked giving us a glimpse into some of the songs- some have been downright amazing (see: Damien Rice Covers "One"), and some...notsomuch.

Q Magazine released the CD today and ...hang the dj has the full track listing HERE, or you can listen to the full album on Soundcloud HERE.

While "One" is a heavily covered song, there aren't many other U2 songs that you'll hear frequently covered, so I've been particularly interested to hear the rest of the tracks.  There are some interesting artists on this project- Nine Inch Nails, The Fray, The Killers, Jack White, Depeche Mode, Patti Smith, Garbage, Damien Rice, Glasvegas, Gavin Friday, and Snow Patrol.  My initial expectation was that if you are going to undertake such a lofty project, it had better deliver.  Unfortunately it falls fairly short- while there are some standouts, there are also some downright not good covers, and some that could have been great, but just miss the mark.

I'll let you decide which tracks fall on the mediocre-or-worst side of things, but here are my favorites:

Damien Rice "One"

Depeche Mode: "So Cruel"

The Fray "Trying to Throw Your Arms Around the World"
This is one of the most spectacular standouts on the album- U2 songs can be difficult to master as a cover due to The Edge's unique guitar and Bono's emotive voice- but Isaac Slade of The Fray also has a highly emotive voice (meaning, there is so much emotion in his voice it sounds like he's actually living out the song as he's singing it), so it works beautifully.

Jack White: "Love is Blindness"
Is there anything Jack White can't do? Probably not, and here's more proof- he's somehow taken a low and growling song and turned it into his own brand of anguish.

Achtung Baby - U2

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