The King is dead, long live the Queen. This Thursday marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Freddie Mercury, Queen frontman and rock mega-idol. It would be ridiculous to even try to quantify Mercury’s impact on pop culture. The whimsical force behind Queen’s unique style and aesthetic, many point to him as one of the best performers in the history of popular music. And don’t forget, his sometimes enigmatic voice brought alternative sexuality into the public conversation.
Rave On Buddy Holly, arguably the most hyped cover album of the year, finally drops this week. Rampant previews hinted that the album would be something special, and the A-list lineup of artists doesn’t disappoint. Rave On is a solid, carefully curated collection of tracks from Buddy Holly‘s surprisingly extensive catalog, a worthy tribute to the rock pioneer.
Choosing standouts from such a varied and high-profile set of covers is a challenge. Some of the best moments come from contributors who chose to keep their covers low-key. Dan Auerbach’s vocals gracefully carry the Black Keys‘ quiet, percussion-based opener “Dearest,” while Fiona Apple and Jon Brion trip through a pitch-perfect duet in “Everyday.” My Morning Jacket offers the elegantly subdued “True Love Ways,” embellished with a lovely string section.
You know the story by now. Rave On Buddy Holly drops later this month and the label has been releasing a steady stream of preview tracks for weeks now. Well, here are two more.
First, She & Him deliver a by-the-books cover of “Oh Boy.” The duet angle adds a little beachy vibe, but otherwise it’s not a huge departure (via Stereogum). Fiona Apple and Jon Brion’s version of “Everyday,” on the other hand, offers a quiet acoustic breath of fresh open air. The simple melody shines through with quiet strumming and xylophone.
Check out both tracks below. Here are links to all the previously released songs:
• The Black Keys cover “Dearest”
• Modest Mouse covers “That’ll Be the Day”
• Cee-Lo Green covers “You’re So Square (Baby I Don’t Care)”
• Paul McCartney covers “It’s So Easy”
• Julian Casablancas covers “Rave On”
• Florence and the Machine covers “Not Fade Away”
• My Morning Jacket covers “True Love Ways”
She & Him – Oh Boy (Buddy Holly cover)
Fiona Apple and Jon Brion – Everyday (Buddy Holly cover)
Rave On Buddy Holly drops June 28th.
Mayer Hawthorne didn’t crash onto the scene the way other soul revivalists did in 2008. Sharon Jones and Raphael Saadiq cast big shadows that year that proved difficult for other soul revivalists to get out from under. Still, Hawthorne managed to get his voice out there and people tuned in to listen found themselves impressed. “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out” became a stylish indie hit, shepherding many nerdy white kids into the enticing world of soul music. Hawthorne’s debut album A Strange Arrangement managed to propel him onto the scene, but this new covers EP will give Mayer Hawthorne the sticking power he needs to become an indie powerhouse. If nothing else, it will carry fans over until the long-awaited release of his follow up album How Do You Do this fall.
A couple days ago we told you about Mayer Hawthorne’s new covers EP and now he’s dropped the whole set for free. It’s called Impressions (though, ironically, they’re not one of the R&B groups he covers). Over six tracks, the Detroit producer-turned-singer positions himself as an archivist par excellence, digging up forgotten cuts from yesteryear (The Festivals’ “You’ve Got the Makings of a Lover”) and nodding to peer funk revivalists (Chromeo’s “Don’t Turn the Lights On”).
And the winner for Most Anticipated Tribute Album of 2011 goes to…
Rave On Buddy Holly, coming June 28th to celebrate what would be Buddy Holly’s 75th birthday this fall. This tracklist defines the term “stacked.” From veterans like Paul McCartney and Patti Smith to newer breakouts like She & Him and Cee-Lo Green, every one of the 19 tracks looks to be another potential stunner. My Morning Jacket crooning “True Love Ways”? The Black Keys rocking “Dearest”? John Doe doing who-knows-what to “Peggy Sue Got Married”?