Graham Reid | | <1 min read
Even in Smith's often unpredictable career this is unexpected: a covers album which includes Tears For Fears' Everybody Wants to Rule The World? Its very straight treatment is equally surprising.
You'd expect her to tear through it with righteous indignation but no, she delivers it as the bouncy pop ballad it always was.
But better is elsewhere: her drawling treatment of Hendrix' Are You Experienced? deftly interweaves snippets of other Hendrix lyrics (and guitarist Lenny Kaye peeling off bits of Stars That Play and other Hendrix riffs throughout); Neil Young's Helpless gets an appropriately world-weary reading; George Harrison's Within You Without You drones nicely over 12-string and hand drum; and Nirvana's Teen Spirit is eerily acoustic.
But mostly these are straight-ahead versions: the Stones' Gimme Shelter, Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit, Dylan's Changing of the Guards, Paul Simon'sBoy in the Bubble.
Her band elevate most tracks but Smith's lack of invention or personal spin on the lyrics is disappointing.
There's a lingering feeling that if it weren't Smith you'd hardly continue paying attention. It's like an album of collected B-sides.