If you want to listen to all the sings, they are posted here.
I wanted to take a few moments to look at each track and give my impressions. I expect there will be some disagreements! Feel free to express those. The beauty of music is that it hits everyone in different ways. So here’s my track-by-track review:
NIN – Zoo Station
I’m a fan of Nine Inch Nails. On first listen I absolutely HATED this version. I don’t stick to first impressions and I’m glad I didn’t here. Really a different take. I was looking for that hard industrial core to remain so it really threw me off at first. After a few listens it has grown on me. Have to say, the original is still the best. This felt more like a NIN tribute to Kraftwerk. I expect that may have been an influence.
U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing (Jacques Lu Cont remix)
While this really is a completely different look at the song…a club mix version…can’t say I love or loathe it. It’s good. Might grow after a few more listens. Definitely some stellar sections that are worth hearing. Loved the drum around 2/3 through.
Damien Rice – One
Ummm. I have heard a lot of versions of this song. They all suffer from one problem. As much as anyone tries to either copy or reinvent this song, it is so iconic it is nearly impossible. This one is really good on a number of levels. The piano in here really got my attention. Both alone and in combination with the guitar, this is really good stuff. This is a rare version where someone actually managed to take the song under their own wing and own it. Really impressed.
Patti Smith – Until The End of The World
The queen of punk takes a dark stroll through this one. There’s almost a country twang on this melodic subtext. Her voice is piercing and there are moments in the song you can feel the knife going on. Really, really liked this one.
Garbage – Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
Shirley Manson is always the bomb. No idea what Garbage is up to these days but I hope this song is a sign we’ll be hearing from them soon. I loved the opening of this version. True to its original form with some really cool tweaks mixed in. And the vocals are pure and full of heart. Not better but really, really good. I like the feel of this track.
Depeche Mode – So Cruel
Again, big fan of the band. This time, really loved this. This is a true tribute to the song. They give it the DM treatment and keep the heart of it intact. There’s a beautiful angst in the way it’s sung.
Gavin Friday – The Fly
What happens when a good friend of the band takes on the band? In this case, something intriguing. I loved the electronic elements added. The talk-sing is also an interesting take. Call it Leonard Cohen meets Depeche Mode!
Snow Patrol – Mysterious Ways
Love the slowness of this because they seemed to take the ‘mysterious’ part to heart. I have always loved that voice. This one did not disappoint.
The Fray – Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms Around The World
Can’t say I love The Fray. Can’t say I hate everything they’ve done. They keep to the basic feel of the original but for me this one is disposable. It’s okay. Like the band, neither love nor hate it. I didn’t find anything that grabbed me.
The Killers – Ultraviolet
I’ve seen some interesting reactions to this. I first loved and then hated then stopped caring about these guys. Brandon Flowers overblown image of himself as the next Bono really took a toll. And why The Killers decided to become a banner child for that country/southwest desert sound is beyond me. Unfortunately this version of UV suffers for the twang. They had a chance to really make something here and really just blew it. Badly. It’s a nasty combination of theatrics and dust. If they never play that drumline on a another song ever, we’ll all be thrilled. Let’s say Mr. Brightside died and came back Tex Ritter. In fairness the last quarter of the song is decent. If they’d applied the same sense to the rest I might have loved it. I actually want these guys to come back. Just without the cheesy moustaches. Okay, I’m done.
Glasvegas – Acrobat
Again, another great band. And a band that manages to hold on to the core of the song and add their own heart to it. Loved the opening and distortion that really makes this work. This is one I might consider slightly better than the original. Hard to believe since I love the original. This is really running on all cylinders. Grabs from the get go and never stops!
Jack White – Love Is Blindness
I’m not going to say much other than this is fucking brilliant!!! Another case where it actually exceeds the original. I was stunned and blown away listening to the absolutely raw performance. He never disappoints. I really solidified my feelings on Jack White watching It Might Get Loud. There is no end to this man’s talent. I’d love to see him perform this one live.