Dec 132013
 

Fifty years ago, a covers album wasn’t called a “covers album.” It was called an album. Full stop.

Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Billie Holiday – most albums anyone bought were “covers albums” as we’d think of them today, but that’s not how folks thought of them then. Once the public began putting a premium on singers writing their own songs in the ’60s the concept of course shifted, so that an artist doing a covers album has to be like Michael Jordan playing baseball – an okay diversion but let’s get back to the main event please.

More so this year than ever before though, that pendulum seems to be swinging back in small but meaningful ways to what an album originally meant. More and more artists are releasing LPs saying, this is not my new quote-on-quote “covers album,” this is my new album (that happens to consist of covers). The attitude showcases a confidence and surety of purpose that shows they take performing other peoples songs every bit as seriously as they do their own.

That holds true for both of our top two covers albums this year, and plenty more sprinkled throughout. Which isn’t to knock anyone doing a covers album as a lark, novelty, tribute, or side project – you’ll see plenty of those here as well – but any blurred lines that put a “covers album” on the same level as a “normal” album have to be a good thing.

Start our countdown on Page 2…

Aug 222011
 

Over the last year we’ve continued to keep you updated on the craziness and creativity that is Our Hit Parade. The live top-ten countdown show is a cabaret created by Tony nominee and Obie winner Kenny Mellman (Kiki & Herb), Bridget Everett, Neal Medlyn, producer and MTV cameraman Brendan Kennedy, and writers Ada Calhoun and Peter Schjeldahl. It is inspired by the musical sketch series Your Hit Parade that ran on radio and then television from 1935 to 1959. On that show, cast members performed the week’s most popular songs as comically literal skits. Today the show is performed as cabaret with a rotating cast of guest musicians in New York City. Continue reading »