New Zealand pop royalty Bic Runga releases a new record consisting of two original tracks and ten covers. The singer-songwriter interprets works from the likes of The Beach Boys, Kanye West and The Meters to Nick Drake, Neil Young and more, putting a psychedelic pop twist on her favourite music for her first full-length album in five years.
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This is like your worst nightmare. Your favourite songs butchered and ruined before your very eyes.
New Zealand pop princess Bic Runga has seemingly sat down one evening picking out some of my favourite all time songs and has bit by bit ripped them apart and softened them in a tinny production gloop that sounds like Stock Aitken and Waterman collaborating with Frazier Chorus. So we get Nick Drake's 'Things Behind the Sun' made devoid of any of it's original beauty, a version of the Blue Nile's 'Tinseltown in the Rain' that is only comparable with Andrea Corr's earlier destruction of it, Love's 'Andmoreagain' primped and preened like a pampered poodle. The Beach Boys' 'The Lonely Sea' almost....almost survives the savagery but then you listen to the tinny drum machine and fake string backing. But what a song. What. A Song. Please take this opportunity to go listen to the original. Worst of all is a massacre of 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' which would be utterly appalling even if they'd managed to spell it right or get the words of the title in the right order on the sleeve. It's here that Runga manages the impossible. Make a song that seeps emotion sound like a wet sponge. And please, whatever you do, don't listen to 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart'. We already have Neil Young, we have St Etienne. We don't need this. Weirdly the only good moment is the harmonic, energetic (and original) opener 'Close Your Eyes' probably only because I have nothing to compare it to.
I'd be very happy to spend an evening round Bic's gaff listening to her record collection but would have to make my excuses if she tried to sing any of them at me.
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- Close Your Eyes by Bic Runga
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