August 08, 2005

SOUNDING OFF, Vol. 6

With the industry in a slump, album remakes
by big names are worth considering

Had enough of all those movie remakes yet? 'Tis a sad state of affairs when somebody not only feels the need to bring The Dukes of Hazzard to the big screen, but also to cast Jessica Simpson in a major role.

While Hollywood's creativity is tapped and the studios churn out one recycled flick after another (Bad News Bears, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Longest Yard, etc.) amid declining box-office business, maybe the music industry should consider a similar approach.

After all, according to recent sales figures, the record biz is beleaguered these days, too, what with all that downloading and, let's not forget, mediocre product out there to plunk down your $15 on.

Rather than wasting time and resources on signing acts that can create hit records, why not just have contemporary artists re-create hit albums of the past? The novelty alone should move some units, and this way, record execs wouldn't have to worry about whether they "hear a single" from an album that is in the works --the singles were already decided upon decades ago!

With that in mind, here is a semi-serious look at some remakes Medleyville would like to see from the hitmakers of today.

Jet.jpg

* Jet covering AC/DC's Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1975): Jet (above) is most often compared to these fellow Aussies, so this is a natural. Besides, the hit "Cold Hard Bitch" sounds suspiciously like "Problem Child," so the youngsters should be able to nail that track quite easily.

* Green Day covering The Damned's Damned Damned Damned (1977): Dick, the record store clerk in the film High Fidelity, duly noted the Stiff Little Fingers influence on Green Day. But the track "American Idiot" indicates Billie Joe Armstrong and Co. are prime candidates to rip through searing such punk classics as "New Rose" and "Neat Neat Neat."

* The Goo Goo Dolls covering The Replacements' All Shook Down (1990): Johnny Rzeznik has Paul Westerberg's intonations and melodic sensibilities down, but he'll never measure up as a songwriter. So why not tackle Westerberg at his most eloquent, in the form of the Mats' swan song?

Avril Lavigne.jpg

* Avril Lavigne covering Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill (1995): Lavigne (above) will be 21 next year, the same age at which her Canadian cohort Morissette raged into the Top 10 with this breakout disc. This would be a sure smash if Morissette hadn’t already covered her own record this year with Jagged Little Pill Acoustic, a contender for the most desperate career move in recent memory.

* The Black Eyed Peas covering Digital Underground's Sex Packets (1990): "The Humpty Dance" has a timeless kitsch quality that is waiting to be embraced by a new generation. It also would qualify as profound material from the group that gave us a song called "Let's Get Retarded."

* Mariah Carey covering Ratt's Out of the Cellar (1984): If this sounds like a strange match, remember that Carey already has taken a stab at early '80s hair metal with her rendition of Def Leppard's "Bringin' on the Heartbreak." The obvious single here would be Ratt's signature song, "Round and Round," with lyrics that were made for pop diva schlock ("With love we'll find a way, just give it time").

* Axl Rose covering Styx's Kilroy Was Here (1983): The man hard at work on an album that will never be completed (Chinese Democracy, in the works since the late '90s) revisits one that should never have been completed.

And, in one admittedly ill-advised guilty pleasure (hey, why not -- the record execs get to blow millions on those): Bow Wow covering anything by Bow Wow Wow.

-- By George Henn

Sounding Off, a music opinion column, appears regularly on www.medleyville.us

Posted by medleyville at August 8, 2005 01:17 PM
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