The Great Pop Songbook

In jazz and in classical it is more than expected that artists do their own interpretations of the the Great Songbook and of four hundred years of classics, repectively.

In pop and rock, not so much.

Rather, remakes of songs from the ever evolving pop and rock catalogue are often being spoken about with disdain. Which is sad, really, because there’s no reason why new interpretations of «old» pop and rock songs should be less interesting than works from the jazz and classical era.

In this last blog list of 2022 (except the Best albums list that will come later), there are a number of albums with remakes and tribute songs. I hope you like them, mixed as they are with great new late-year releases of original music.

Petter’s Short List contains all music reviewed in this blog post. Click here to listen and/or subscribe. The playlist changes every month.

Petter’s Long List contains all music previously reviews from December 2021 and onwards. Click here to listen and/or subscribe. The playlist is extended every month.

You may also listen to the singles and sample tracks from each album reviewed by clicking on the title.

Tracks reviewed before December 2021 are available in Petter’s Blog Archive, found here.

And I Have Been
Benjamin Clementine

Sample track: Difference

The wonderfully quirky pianist and barytone singer is back with another quirky and interesting new album.

And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow
Weyes Blood

Sample Track: God Turn Me Into a Flower

When reviewers run out of superlatives, you know you’re on to something special. I haven’t really grasped the absolute greatness and timelessness of this collection yet, not that I don’t like it, I really do. I’ll keep listening. Promise.

CAZIMI
Caitlin Rose

Sample track: Only Lies

A tiny bit disappointed, had hoped for an even better album from Caitlin Rose after so many years of absence. Not that it isn’t pleasant and enjoyable….

Deadheading
Thea & The Wild

Sample track: Little Sister

Nu-punk, but oh so sweet, from Wild Thea.

Easy ‘Cause It Hurts
Charlotte Qvale

Sample track: Show Me Where It Hurts

Quite impressive pop album from Norwegian songstress Charlotte Qvale, both a great singer and songwriter.

Fifty
The Manhattan Transfer, WDR Funkhausorchester

Sample track: Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone

One of mye favourite groups of all time has existed for 50 years. I have seen and heard them live countless times, and although two of the four are no longer with us, this still sounds like the real thing. However, I have never been fond of mixing symphony orchestras with jazz, and I will not make an exception here. I had wished for a big band album, but I take what I have been given. It is still a gem.

Fun Machine: The Sequel
Lake Street Dive

Sample track: You’re Still the One

The Boston-based Lake Street Dive is out with another album covering some of their favourite songs. Different, but familiar.

Here It Is: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen
Norah Jones, Peter Gabriel, Gregory Porter, Sarah McLachan, James Taylor, Mavis Staples, Mathaniel Rateliff & Bill Frisell

Sample track: Coming Back To You

Leonard Cohen deserves to be tributed, but it is hard work, since he was so closely connected to his songs. Still, there are some very good and interesting tracks on this new tribute album, thanks to interpretations by some of pop music’s best performers.

Midnights
Taylor Swift

Sample track: Question..?

As with Weyes Blood, the new Taylor Swift album has received rave reviews (mostly), and fans are ecstatic. I am not all that thrilled, but recognize that she knows how to create a contemporary album with good music, well worth listening to. But timeless? I don’t think so.

Midpoint
Tom Chaplin

Sample track: Gonna Run

Keane vocalist, 43-year old Tom Chaplin, has a magnificent voice that suits this melancholic collection of new songs. A bit boring and uninteresting at times, but I have as usual picked the best bits for you.

Profound Mysteries III
Röyksopp

Sample Track: Just Wanted to Know

Fans of electronica duo Röyksopp finally received a pay-off for their patience. A surprisingly broad collection with something for everyone, and lots of great contributors.

Ro
Terje Formoe

Sample Track: En dag på jorden

My friend Terje Formoe’s new album of quiet, deep felt and contemplative songs about love, the sea, the unrushed, should bring tranquilty to any listener.

True North
a-ha

Sample track: You Have What It Takes

I would also call a-ha’s latest album a tribute album, but in a different sense: this is a tribute to the north, the arctic, to solitary landscapes shaped by ice and snow. I think it is a beautiful collection, arguably one of their best for many years.

Vo.26
stories

Sample track: Sweet Creature

The only thing I know about this collection of albums – now 26 in a row! – is that it derives from a collective of Los Angeles Artists called Scary Pockets. No matter, there are some great covers on the 26th album, as there are on many previous albums in the series.

Where I’m Meant To Be
Ezra Collective

Sample track: Victory Dance

They’re called jazz’ great party band, and these energetic boys from London certainly deserve this accolade.

Guarantee That I’d Be Loved – Sondre Lerche & Kringkastingsorkesteret

På et sekund – Marit Larsen

Reasons – Rick Grove

Rumor – Ingrid Jasmin

A Sky Like I’ve Never Seen – Fleet Foxes & Tim Bernardes

Souvenirs – Robert Ellis

Slayed?
Slade

Sample track: Gudbuy T’Jane

Glamrockers Slade was out with their second album just about now 50 years ago. Their easily distinguishable style is apparent on each track. This is great rock’n’roll with a good dose of humour. It got us out on the dance floor in 1972, and I expect it still does.

Jazz på Svenska
Jan Johansson

Sample track: Visa från Utanmyra

The 1964 album that made Swedish jazz world famous and jazz in general mainstream. The brilliant pianist Jan Johansson picked folk songs from all over Sweden and interpreted them in his distinct way and ghave them a jazz feel that resonated with listeners everywhere. A truly classic collection!

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