Call for Music Writers... Rock, Indie, Hip-hop, R&B, Electronic, Americana, Metal, World and More

Music
cover art

Various Artists

The 30th Annual John Lennon Tribute

(Theatre Within; US: 15 Nov 2011; UK: Import)

Like all multi-artist tribute albums, The 30th Annual John Lennon Tribute is only as good as its strongest contributors, and unfortunately, most of the contributors on this volume seem more intent on cautious mimicry rather than bold adventurousness. John Lennon was a famously daring rock & roller, but judging by the performances here, most of the attendees at this concert would rather have reverent, note-for-note recreations of his songs. Me’Shell Ndegeocello turns “God” into a murky, ominous anthem for the Richard Dawkins generation, while Alejandro Escovedo delivers a version of “Help!” that, in its slow, quiet moodiness, captures the desperation at the heart of the song. With these versions, the crowd seems bewildered. By contrast, Martin Sexton’s cover of “Working Class Hero” is identical to Lennon’s original, just as Joan Osborne’s Xeroxed rendition of “Hey Bulldog” recreates all of the barking and joking, and the crowd goes wild for both. Of course, not even the rather staid audience can resist getting caught up in Bettye Lavette’s gospel reworking of “The Word”, but for the most part performers with usually strong musical identities like Aimee Mann and Taj Mahal end up giving overly worshipful recreations of Beatles and Lennon songs, making this a rather dull and unnecessary release.  Maybe you had to be there.

Rating:

Media
Aimee Mann - Jealous Guy
Related Articles
By Andrew Grant Jackson
5 Feb 2015
The year 1965 saw many musical developments, a significant one of which is Brian Wilson's development from poet laureate of high school to baroque visionary.
16 Jan 2015
If I fell in love with you, 223rd most acclaimed album of all time, would you promise to be true—and help me understand? The Beatles' all-Lennon/McCartney LP from 1964 is this week's Counterbalance.
14 Jan 2015
In honor of a new year, here is a list of songs that can help nudge even the idlest of souls off the couch in 2015.
12 Jan 2015
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band may be the most overanalysed, overexposed album in history. In light of the Flaming Lips' affectionate reimagining, can the inescapable masterpiece ever be surpassed?

Visit PopMatters's profile on Pinterest.
discussion by
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2015 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.