Saturday, June 11, 2005
Paul Anka singing swing versions of songs by the likes of Nirvana, Bon Jovi, Soundgarden, Oasis, and REM? I was so ready to rip on this when I heard about it. But then I cued it up on Real Rhapsody and started to listen and...who'da'thunk it?...I couldn't. Damn, if it doesn't work.
The old pro didn't goof on the songs (as I imagined he might) but he treated them with respect and the new swing charts are tastefully arranged and played. It might not be everybody's cup of tea but, for my part, it's fun, entertaining, and even illuminating (as an old school pop singer, Anka takes special care of the lyrics of a song.)
Anka's seasoned croon is well matched with ballads like REM's "Everybody Hurts", Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven", Lionel Richie's "Hello", and Spandau Ballet's "True", of course, but the revelation is how well rockers like Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun", and Van Halen's "Jump" adapt to the sweetly swinging arrangements and Anka's nuanced vocals.
Wow. What a delightful surprise.