Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Paul Anka - Rock Swings

In my continuing quest to do something original with this blog thing, I now find myself nicking another idea for a post by visiting a Charity Shop and spending 50p on something, and then reporting back the "wonderfulness" of my purchase.

Paul Anka - singer, actor, composer.  He wrote the English lyrics for "My Way", wrote a song for Princess Di before Princess Di even existed, co-wrote a song with Michael Jackson, and was never covered by The Rolling Stones (none of his songs were covered by Generation X either - so that last statement is a bit irrelevant)

Released in 2004, the basic idea of taking contemporary songs and giving them a big band, swinging, easy listening make-over was nothing new - Pat Boone had done something similar in 1997, and The Mike Flowers Pops had brief success with an Easy Listening version of Oasis "Wonderwall" in late 1995.  They also managed to release an album, including re-imaginings of Prince's "1999", The Doors "Light My Fire" and a Velvet Underground Medley.
The idea of the album was perhaps pushing the flimsy idea a bit - there's a certain tongue-in-cheek subversion about it all, but it's interest is fleeting.
Robbie Williams then went all out in the belief that he was the re-incarnation of Frank Sinatra with his 2001 album "Swing When You're Winning".
All this activity led to a mini-revival (of sorts) of a kind of soft, easy listening, swinging, lounge music.
No matter how flimsy or previously used an idea is, it's all about the execution.
And with this one, it sounds like an honest attempt to properly re-set these songs in Mr Anka's universe, without irony or tongue-in-cheek re-position of an old-time crooner for a new generation.

With echoes of Mike Flowers, Paul Anka tackles "Wonderwall" - and if I'm honest, doesn't come up with a winner.  It's all a bit strained, familiar and schmaltz-y.
But other re-arrangements work much better, and there is the surprise of some of the song choices given a big band makeover.
A great deal of the angst is lost from songs such as "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or "Black Hole Sun", but the songs still work in their new setting. "Jump" and "It's A Sin" bounce along nicely (and harmlessly).

Surely proof that in the right hands, a good song is a good song in whatever genre it's cast into.

Black Hole Sun

The Lovecats

1 comment:

  1. When I first heard this, I liked it. But it didn't really stand the test of repeated plays. I prefer Richard Cheese.