What is it with the male vocalist AARP crowd these days?
Like some 3/4 life crisis in a Monty Python sketch, they all seem to be trying to recapture their long lost cool and solicit props from a new audience of young listeners.
News flash to all you Grammy Grandpas, the kids are listening only long enough to laugh at you.
Now I’m not saying that they shouldn’t sing until their death - Mick Jagger is still rocking and able to make it from one side of the stage to the other without a walker - but I have to draw the line at geriatrics crooning today’s greatest hits.
I admit I laughed hysterically several years back when Pat Boone - the personification of all that is virginal, white and religious - tried to butch up his image by covering heavy metal on his CD, In A Metal Mood, but then even God laughed his ass right off his throne over that one.
Then, of course, there’s everyone’s favorite space cadet cum pitchman, William Shatner, who has been trying to rock out since the 60s with albums like Transformed Man and Spaced Out (his stellar duet offering with Spock, Leonard Nimoy). It speaks volumes to the drug society found in the music industry and to the deluded society found in Captain Kirk’s head that he was ever allowed into a recording studio. (Then again, Paris Hilton has a soon to be released CD too) And seriously, did anyone buy last year’s Has Been (no shit Will)? Then again, would anyone actually admit to it?
I will cut a tad of slack for the Man in Black, however. Johnny Cash was way cool enough, with a voice like tar, and enough attitude to squash even an intimation of criticism, to remake Depeche Mode’s Your Own Personal Jesus into his own personal success. But then he was cool enough that he could have covered Walk Like An Egyptian and had a major hit.
Now comes 60s hitmaker, Paul Anka, the man responsible for writing the Tonight Show theme, co-penning the classic Sinatra warble, My Way and for his own vocal stylings on the 70s hit, Having My Baby. His new CD offering, Rock Swings, includes covers of ... are you ready? ... (keep in mind, you cannot cover a song without artist/owner permission) ...
Smells Like Teen Spirit: I swear, if Kurt Cobain could put another gun to his head, he would. This just proves how drugged out Courtney Love is.
Eye of The Tiger: This 80s Rocky theme by Survivor has only been remade once with success, and that was when it was spoofed in a Starbuck’s commercial.
It's My Life: My respect level for Bon Jovi just dropped 20 points. Minimum.
Jump: Eddie Van Halen, I order you to commit Hari Kari with a Les Paul this instant.
The CD moves on through swing versions of True, Spandau Ballet’s one hit wonder, It’s a Sin (no kidding) by the Pet Shop Boys, and Tears In Heaven, which should only ever be sung by Eric Clapton about his son.
Other songs that should never again see the laser light of day or the CD player? Lionel Richie’s Hello (uh, Goodbye) and The Cure’s Lovecats. Yes, Paul - I totally buy the visual of you biting your lover while in the act.
Someone wash my mind’s eye with Clorox, please.
For those skeptics who think I am just criticizing based on what I perceive as bad ideas, think again. While I am never going to pony up the cash to buy these CDs, I did take the time to listen to samples online.
Paul is still in command of a great tenor voice, but again, Smells Like Teen Spirit was never intended for a swing remake, and Mr. Anka doesn’t have enough hair on his head for the original head banging version. My verdict? Sounds Like Pure Crap.
It makes me shudder to think who is in the studio right now, wearing leather Depends, too many gold chains and popping a combination of Viagra and Geritol full speed ahead ... Neil Sedaka singing Hoobastank covers? Johnny Mathis crooning Good Charlotte? How about Jim Nabors taking on the Foo Fighters?
In a word? FOO-ey.
Some songs/artists are not meant to be covered and Dave Grohl, if you’re listening, I know you can’t be thrilled about the Paul Anka thing, so I beg of you, please don’t ever sell out to Gomer Pyle.
Because if Kurt doesn’t haunt you already, he will surely rise from the grave over that one.