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Covers 80's

3.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 7, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Duncan Sheik Covers 80s features twelve of Duncan Sheik's highly personalized takes on the synth-pop era, including smashes and obscurities from the likes of the Cure, New Order, Tears for Fears, the Smiths, the Psychedelic Furs, the Thompson Twins, Love & Rockets, Howard Jones, Japan, Talk Talk, and the Blue Nile. Marketing Points: Grammy Award Winner, Two-time Tony Award winning composer of Spring Awakening, Debut album certified Gold RIAA, Major market US tour planned for June-July 2011, European tour Fall 2011.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 7, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: MRI
  • ASIN: B004WOXL6U
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,389 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
the album is perfect. beautifully crafted. it is a Duncan Sheik album. worth the buy. "Kyoto Song", "Hold Me Now" and "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" are super strong covers. "Stripped" and "Stay" are my favorites. "Shout" is cleverly done and Tears For Fears should be proud of his cover.

for the mr "utter crap" reviewer, what were you expecting? for Duncan to get some top notch everyday producers and go pop radio with this album so all the covers sounded the exact same as the originals?? if you knew/know anything about his music you would know that is the total opposite of who he is. why make a karaoke cover album??

Anyway, buy the album. it's great. if you want karaoke, buy the karaoke version of each song and make a mix tape for yourself.
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Format: Audio CD
Singer/Songwriter cum Broadway Composer Duncan Sheik first hit in 1996 as a 20-something singer songwriter. Which means that he was probably barely an adolescent when the set of songs he culled for his "Covers 80s" cd were making their way into his brain for storage. He might have even slow danced to "Hold Me Now" in high school for all I know. But as a solo artist, he held more to the realm of sensitive folkie than pepped up Durranie.

Which makes "Covers 80s" such a cunnundrum. In their original versions, some of these songs were lusty, dance-aggro tunes ("Love Vigilantes," "I'm Alive") or uber-angsty smart-guy pop ("Shout," "Stay" from The Blue Nile, "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" from Japan). Sheik deconstructs these entirely and redoes their instrumantations. No Rolands, no 808's, but accordions, hammer dulcimers, madolins, and everything but a drum machine. Austerity is rule number one. Rule number two seems to have been to make sure that any source of happiness is ripped from every song. Sheik treats every song here, even the peppy ones like "Ghost In You," like preambles to a suicide note.

Granted, Sheik's own albums sometimes take on that tone ("White Limousine" in particular), yet those were his own compositions. If you're looking at the track-listing and thinking this would make for an uplifting trip down memory lane, forget it. What Sheik has done is pull these songs into the present as melancholy reminders that synth-pop often had a dark heart hidden under candy-floss. "Love Vigilantes" may be the first time you hear the story of the soldier's return for what it really is (unless you've already heard Iron and Wine's version). It's just hard for me to wrap my head completely around this album. Sheik strips away the varnish, drops the tempos, minors the keys and never, as the song "Shout" exhorts, lets it all out. On "Covers 80's," i finally began wishing really hard that he'd let loose, just once.
1 Comment 9 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm never disappointed with a Duncan Sheik album. I could listen to his voice until the end of time. His albums are just flawless, and this one is no exception. It is carefully thought out and beautifully done. You can tell that he really did have a personal connection to these songs. My fav track so far by far is "Hold Me Now"... beautiful. I can't wait to see it performed live hopefully in the future. I'm hoping his tour dates on the east coast are rescheduled soon!

My only gripe is that I'd like to see Duncan come out with an original album for his fans soon. His last release, Whisper House, was his music from the play with the same name... and now this one is a cover album. It really is a beautiful album though. Much better than I expected.
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Format: Audio CD
I was very skeptical when I heard the format that Duncan's latest album would take. I've never been a huge fan of 80's music. In fact, coming into this album I only recognized two or three of the tunes. (Maybe that allowed me to approach it without the preconceived notions of those who have provided negative reviews.)

That said, this is a gorgeous, rewarding collection of music. To my ears, Duncan sounds more at home with these songs than any album since Phantom Moon (which, like this album, he also did not write the lyrics for).

Mr. Sheik continues what he's done with every album before: he tests new musical territory that still feels distinctly his own.

If you're a Duncan Sheik fan, definitely pick this up. If you're expecting Barely Breathing or straight remakes of the original material, you're probably missing the point.
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By Sabrina on January 23, 2013
Format: Audio CD
What no reviewer has noticed here is that not one of these covers is of a song by an American band or artist. They're all from UK bands and singers. Obviously Sheik looks back at 80s pop and rock music the way I do: the best of it came out of Britain. Most of it is highly evocative, too. I visited the UK for the first time in the 1980s, and I can never hear The Thompson Twins, or The Smiths, or Howard Jones, or Talk Talk, or really any of the other artists covered on this album without attaching their songs very strongly to a particular place or experience in Britain.

I like these covers, and I really like the remixes too. They're oblique and respectful, and, yeah, very evocative.
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I tell you, with everything Duncan has going on, i.e. plays, film scores, I was slightly surprised to hear he was releasing an album covering 80's songs, but it makes sense if one has followed Duncan's career. Duncan has done this before with Humming Along EP, a side project to his second EP Humming where he covered some songs that influenced him as a youngster growing up. And the songs he selected then, just like most of the songs on this new album, were not your typical 'A' hits either, but rather innocuous 'B' sides that didn't get big radio play. And when I say 'B' sides, I don't mean these songs didn't influence a generation of "High Fidelity" record shops, but they are in contrast to the hair band in spandex rock.

So don't go into this album thinking Bon Jovi and Warrant because you'll be severely let down. But think of these as sublime "interpretations" of songs that had an impact on Duncan. "So Alive" is so completely different than the original, I didn't even recognize it. With the big drum and "ooh ooh" background singers subbed for a melodic piano, this song has been completely deconstructed. Another favorite is "Kyoto Song", where the melody is followed but without that weird synth drumming going on. I think I like Duncan's version better. And then after listening to the original "Ghost in You" and then Duncan's version, I'm sorry, but give me Duncan's (although the Psychedelic Furs video is so bad it's good).

Some personal wishes for me on this album is one, I wish Duncan would have put the extended version of "Shout" on the album as he has on his Myspace page. The hammer dulcimer solo is pretty hypnotizing, so why the shortened version for the album??
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