Radio 1’s Live Lounge has been responsible for some great covers in recent years, as well as its fair share of musical abortions. Thankfully, Friendly Fires' cover of pop's ever-present resident oddball diva last single is firmly in the former camp. Alas it is lacking the saxophone solo, performed on the original by the late, great Clarence Clemons. Stripping back both their own inherent pop bombast as well as the original’s, the St Albans trio turn in a smooth dreamy track, peppered with spindly guitar lines and fantastic drums (Jack Savidge being one of the most underrated drummers of the indie world). When you think about it, the cover makes sense; Gaga is a popstar with firm alternative tastes and sensibilities, whilst FF are the inverse, an indie band striving for the pop pinnacle. Superb stuff.
LISTEN /// METRONOMY REMIX LADY GAGA
Following on from Wild Beasts’ remix, Metronomy are the next indie band to rework Gaga's slightly shite new single "Yoü & I", pretentious umlaut and all. Throwing out the Shania Twain-esque piano stabs and stock stadium guitar, Joe Mount introduces a subdued electronic backing, which sounds a little like James Blake in a good way. A rare instance of a remix being infinitely better than the original song.
The premier pop star on the planet collides with a host of indie darlings and producers on Born This Way - The Remix. Is it an attempt by Lady Gaga to grab some alt. cred or is she just embracing the lesser known acts she loves and wants to shine a light on? Well, I don’t know, you’d have to ask her, but it’s difficult to imagine Ms Germanotta bopping away to The Horrors or Wild Beasts (before going on stage to shoot fireworks from her bosom (or whatever her stage show consists of now)
Also, a quick question; why do remixes always seems to last double the original track’s length and turn the most harmless pop songs into dull club fodder? On …The Remix, only three tracks clock in at under four minutes, with eight others lasting past five. Zedd's rework of "Born This Way" stretches out and outstays its welcome, going from thrilling to bland after three minutes, whilst Foster The People take a shot at making "The Edge Of Glory" a euphoric monster, but retain none of the camp fun of the original.
But it’s not all monotonous beats. R&B blog idol The Weeknd is the man charged with the task of reworking Gaga’s newest single "Marry The Night", and succeeds fairly well in putting his own stamp on the song; throwing in damn fine beat and dreampop synths, before dropping everything for a second half made up of moody piano. Goldfrapp's take on "Judas" is banger, pitchshifting Gaga’s vocal resulting in something that sounds a little like Hercules & Love Affair, only superb. Metronomy's "Yoü and I" remix is far removed from the MOR original, stripping it to the bare, almost ambient bones and is possibly this writer’s remix of the year (it also far outstrips Wild Beasts’ attempt, which isn’t bad but has nothing on Metronomy’s version).
Rounding out the British indie contingent are The Horrors, Hurts and Two Door Cinema Club. The former’s version of "Bloody Mary" is as you’d expect; slow-burning krautrock synths to make The Radiophonic Workshop proud, whereas Manc duo Hurts go a bit dubstep for their “Judas” remix but retain their trademark synthy bombast. Two Door Cinema Club’s remix of "Electric Chapel" is fairly routine, bouncing along with a nice groove that may point to an electronic sound for their second album. The final fifth of the record, made up of Twin Shadow's “Born This Way”, Royksopp's ten minute version of Judas and The Edge Of Glory remixed Sultan & Ned Shepard, makes for a fun close to the record. Twin Shadow’s mix sounds almost like classic era Michael Jackson with one hell of a funky bassline and a pure honest pop nous that’s all but disappeared from the charts, Sultan and Shepard channel Daft Punk to good effect for their track whilst Royksopp present us with a near unrecognisable ten minutes of icy Scandanavian beats.
The rest of the record is fairly dull and predictable save for a few tracks; "Scheiße", "Americano" and "Black Jesus + Amen Fashion" are your typical euphoric club tunes that never seem to get played in clubs. You begin to think they’re only included for mainstream radio airplay or to lure in those who prefer their dance music dumber that a Transformers movie.
Born This Way - The Remix is one of the better remix albums to be associated with a top level popstar and it helps that Gaga (or her label) has been fairly eclectic in her choice of remixers. God knows no one wants a Skrillex or James Blake remix anywhere near Gaga. The fact that her songs can be moulded and morphed into pretty much any shape is a sign that Lady Gaga is here to stay.
Nearly fourteen minutes long, with the song only kicking in after eight? Yep, it’s the new Lady Gaga video for "Marry The Night", and it makes very little sense at all. It’s overblown and pretentious and just a little odd, but considering Gaga is the kind of big fuck-off rockstar that’s missing from music right now (other than Kanye West), it’s actually quite welcome. I’d rather have my pop promos pretentious and slightly insane, than cookie-cutter, bland and uninspiring. The tune’s not half bad either.
- Fancy owning a nude sketch of Lady Gaga, drawn by Tony Bennett? Well now’s your chance…
- The iPad 3 should be arriving in the next “three to four months”. Guess that’s another few hundred to shell out, Apple obsessives.
- A Drake fan got his name tattooed across her forehead. Start weeping for humanity.
- Seems like the rather idiotic “Frozen Planet is fake” controversy isn’t ending any time soon.
- NME have unveiled PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake and Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games” as their album and single of 2011. If that’s not a sign of a dying publication, I don’t know what is.
Lady Gaga as La Chameleon in Machete Kills (2013)
Well this is unexpected, and intriguing.
Quite excellent news of the day: Just when you thought it was no longer possible to be excited or interested by something Lady Gaga does.
Leak of the day: What you see up there is supposedly the leaked tracklist for Beyonce’s fifth album which is rumoured to drop early next month. This scribbled piece of paper was leaked by a member of the Stargate production team on his Twitter account, which has now mysteriously disappeared.
So let’s have a look at what is likely on Queen Bey’s new album… well Stargate are producing, along with The-Dream, and Beyonce & Jay-Z too. It’s been written by Bey herself with Ne-Yo, Solange, Sia, Usher and Frank Ocean. The featured artists list is as starry as possible, with spots from Lady Gaga, Azealia Banks Justin Timblerlake, Jay-Z, Sia, Ne-Yo, Rihanna and Solange. No duet with baby Blue Ivy just yet then.
Looks like April 11th is set to be a good day for all things pop if this is accurate.