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2009 debut album from German outfit The Baseballs who became popular in their native country for releasing '50s style Rock 'n' Roll covers of Rihanna's 'Umbrella' and Katy Perry's 'Hot 'n' Cold'. The album - which includes both those singles - includes 10 more re-workings of major chart hits such as Robbie Williams' 'Angels' and Leona Lewis' 'Bleeding Love' all delivered in their classic sounding Rockabilly style. 12 tracks. Warner.
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One of the things that surprised me is that even though I've been fairly unplugged from the music that's been popular for the past decade, I still found myself familiar with all of these tunes. Even though I was familiar with them, I was not familiar enough to know what the lyrics were until hearing these versions.
One of the things that seems to make this album work is that they maintain my two unwritten (but now written) rules on how to remake a song. These are:
1) Do not slow down the tempo
2) Maintain the melody of the original
Of the songs with originals of which I am familiar, these remakes seem brilliantly rebuilt while maintaining the core melody of the original. More often than not, these remakes have a faster and peppier tune that really breathes new life into them.
I'm sure both rules can be broken with success, but I believe it is so difficult to do that it should not be tried. For example, there's a band named Cake that remade the 70s tune "I Will Survive". I was expecting a rocking and fun version of that cheesy tune, I mean the band's name is Cake, right? Who hates a good cake you know? Well, they completely blew it. The tempo was slowed to the point the song was as energetic as a funeral dirge. As for the other rule, just listen to the beginning of any US sporting event and you will surely hear what happens when an "artist" reimagines the melody to the national anthem. It almost seems like the arrogance of your typical successful band forces them to ensure that their remake will suck to one degree or another.
That said, their followup album, "Strings N Stripes", does not hook me. Like this album, the songs are expertly performed but I think the slow tempo of the songs just fails to make them as enjoyable as they should be. I still haven't been able to sit through the entire album while I can play Strike repeatedly without a problem. Generally I get about 5-6 songs into "Strings N Stripes" and then go back to Strike.
So instead of buying an ensemble of 3rd world children to stage as fashion accessories or walking around in a suit made of meat, this band is actually taking the unconventional route and using musical talent to achieve success. Yup, this band really is old fashioned!
I went to the internet to look them up and got the CD "Strike", their rock'n'roll versions in the style of the 50's of modern hits such as Don't Cha by The Pussycat Dolls and Umbrella by Rihanna are awesome!
This is a a great album!