Archive for February 4th, 2008

Later With Jools Holland

February 4, 2008

Later with Jools Holland hit its 200th episode on Friday, which mathematically means it has been running for 59 and a half years. Despite this, Jools is still stuck in the 43 year old body he’s inhabited since The Tube first transmitted on the somethingth of a month, nineteen eighty something – before Paula Yates killed herself and probably while she was still married to that do-gooder bloke from the Boomtown Rats. The point is, Jools Holland never changes. He is forever an awkward, no-necked misfit who can’t interview people for toffee – but we like him anyway, for he has always been there and always will be.

So, Jools and company decided to celebrate this anniversary with a stellar line up of super-duperstars. He had Feist (her from the Apple advert), Radiohead (from the Skins advert), Mary J Blige (who isn’t really very famous over here), Dionne Warwick (didn’t she do the dirty with David Frost back in the day? The lucky swine…), Robyn Hitchcock¬†and finally Cat Power, whose The Greatest album I had heard before and thought quite pleasant in places, unremarkable in others.

Then I remembered Mrs Power had recently recorded a covers album. Cue disaster.

I’m not a big fan of Sinatra but like everyone else, I know the tunes inside out. New York, New York is a bona fide classic and, in the clip above, we can see Mrs Power ripping the very life out of its pomp and joyfulness, ordering her session musicians to play the most pointless blues bore-jam as she gurns a performance of pure pointlessness from the bottom of half a lung.

What’s going on with her face? It’s like she’s singing out of half of it while the other segment tries to remember the words. I thought a ‘breathy’ voice was meant to indicate a sort of laid-back passion and melancholy – here it seems to require the singer to avoid symmetry by all means necessary. And all that bouncing about is silly as well. So stop it.

Cover albums must be the least profitable thing an artist, supposedly at the top of their game, could put out – so why bother? You can’t top the greats. Is it an attempt to establish credibility via association? Probably. Is it borne out of laziness? I assume so. Does it sound absolutely terrible? In this example, yes. Yes it does.