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  • Rob


Meant to pick this up when it came out a couple of years ago but remember balking at the price. Saw it heavily discounted on one of the indie outlets and took a chance.

So what do we have here then? A load of too-cool-for-school artists were asked to reinterpret the classic 1967 album from The Velvet Underground & Nico which was then released in 2021.

You have probably heard some if not all of the tracks on this record (it is over 50 years old after all) so you know the quality of the source material, but how do the covers fair? Bit of a mixed bag to be honest.

Michael Stipe of REM does a decent job with ‘Sunday Morning’ but I prefer Tim Booth from James’ version if I’m being honest.

‘I’m Waiting For The Man’ is droned along by The National’s Matt Berringer - all a bit meh to be honest, a real shame considering the source material.

Sharon Van Etten is up next, sucking the life out of ‘Femme Fatal’. It now sounds like the theme from a Netflix Scandi Noir series that has too many scenes showing people staring at each other in the rain at night.

Andrew Bird and Lucius turn ‘Venus In Furs’ into some weird orchestral pop songs that feel like it was written for a limited-run musical shown in a tiny theatre in a trendy part of London (I’m not sure where I’m going with this...)

Kurt Vile turns ‘Run Run Run’ into a Kurt Vile song. Depending on how you feel about Vile that is either a good or bad thing. I’m okay with it to be honest, especially the chugging outro part, even if it does go on too long.

I was looking forward to St. Vincent and Thomas Bartlett putting a spin on ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’ but it seemed that they found a vocoder and decided that would be enough. I’m sure there was a lot more thought put into it than that but, to be honest, it doesn’t sound like it.

Next up is Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth teaming up with Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie to cover ‘Heroin’, this must be good, right? Well, yeah and no. It ends up like a Sonic Youth song fiddled with by Gillespie so sounds like a new band rehearsing in a garage!

Thank you King Princess for bringing life back with a cracking version of ‘There She Goes Again’. Jangly guitars, bright vocals and energy in this tale of mad jealousy.

I really like the slightly wonky version of ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ that Courtney Barnett serves up. It sounds like the most natural song on the record.

Fontaines DC stole the show with their rip-snorting take on ‘The Black Angel’s Death Song’. Grian Chatten’s harsh delivery is the perfect foil to the throbbing beat and distorted guitars served up by the rest of the band.

The album finishes with Iggy Pop doing Iggy Pop things with his version of ‘European Son’. Along with Matt Sweeney, they create a racket, not a wholly good racket, but a racket nonetheless the less.

So what is the final take on this album? As you would expect, some songs deserved better, some are just fine as they are and some will never be played again on my system. Overall it is a decent addition to my collection but by no means is it an essential purchase.

Tracks To Try: ‘Sunday Morning’ by Michael Stipe, ‘Venus In Furs’ by Andrew Bird & Lucius, ‘There She Goes Again’ by King Princess, ‘The Black Angel’s Death Song’ by Fontaines DC.


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