Various Artists: Covered, A Revolution in Sound: Warner Bros. Records
To commemorate its golden anniversary, Warner Bros. Records commissioned a dozen artists on its current roster to each perform a favorite tune from the label's first 50 years. The results, not surprisingly, range from insipid to almost brilliant.
We'll start with the clunkers: Adam Sandler doing a rote, irony-free version of Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane" whiny vocals and all. WTF? Taking Back Sunday's "You Wreck Me," another blatant copy that begs the question: Why would anyone ever listen to this version when you can cue up the Tom Petty original? On paper, Avenged Sevenfold's covering Sabbath's "Paranoid" would seem to have potential but the original, while thinner sounding, is so much heavier and more menacing than this stiff, ProTooled remake.
James Otto's "Into the Mystic," while pretty faithful to Van Morrison's, succeeds because of the sheer commitment in Otto's blue-eye-soul vocal. Michelle Branch doing Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You?" A recipe for disaster? Nope. Branch proves herself a much more formidable singer than I ever gave her credit for.