Saturday, June 17, 2006

Lovecats (2005) - Paul Anka (Robert Smith)

There’s no dearth of pshaws, smirks and sniggers when mention is made of Rock Swings, Mr. Anka’s cover album of ‘80s and ‘90s hits. And, on paper, it seems as though said album is primed to outright embarrass this old-timer into self-inflicted irrelevance save for standards re-treads (something Rod Stewart has recognized and seen fit to exploit to generous commercial advantage). Yet, Anka’s renditions are surprisingly credible. Sure, there are moments when one realizes the ludicrous incongruity of listening to someone who had hits with such sensitive-guy fluff as “Put Your Head On My Shoulder” and “Puppy Love” belting out “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or “Eye of the Tiger” to a big band swing. Yet, those moments rarely surface and never stultify. Indeed, this tin-pan alley frolic by The Cure is unapologetically frivolous to begin with. In choosing to cover this song, Anka was either daft or cunning and, in either case, intrepid. Arranger Randy Kerber’s adaptation from the jazz-boogie shuffle of the original to balmy dinner-music sashay is unimpeachable, transcending the original’s campiness to radiate a dignified elegance. Anka isn’t self-conscious about the silly lyrics, either. Instead, he wears them like a mink coat, displaying them with a suave croon that exudes seduction. There hasn’t been a convergence of aged and alternative this chic since Tom Jones and The Art Of Noise teamed up in 1988 to cover Prince’s “Kiss” to similar effect.

  • Listen to "Lovecats" and purchase from iTunes Music Store.
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