Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Nothing would taste the same as before

Not too long ago I wrote about how the song "Brief And Beautiful" kept getting recycled, given to several artists who all recorded their own version of it. Here comes the next installment of an unplanned but apparently ongoing series...

Swedish Idol winner Agnes Carlsson was the first to record "Love Is All Around," which was written for her, putting it on her second album; the bubbly upbeat musical followup to songs like "Stranded" and "Emotional" (itself a part of the recycling circuit), it was never a single for her, but, since it was by far the best song on that album, it really should have been. The last commercial material Agnes released was this past Christmas's cover of "All I Want For Christmas Is You," but she also recently appeared on Körslaget.

(I wasn't going to upload the song--another case of it being introduced to me by another blog--but somehow Agnes's version isn't totally on YouTube, so here it is for comparison purposes.)

Japanese boy band Arashi recorded a version of the song, one of those odd mainly in Japanese but with some random lines in English in the chorus sorts of songs. Strangely, though, the English lines aren't actually taken from "Love Is All Around;" instead, the song has been renamed "We Can Make It" and features the line "we can make it through." They added in a rap as well, but the end result is still very bubblegum. Unlike Agnes, they did release it as a single (in spring 2007).

Australian Idol contestant Ricki-Lee Coulter recorded the song for her second solo album, released in August 2007, her first solo album released after leaving the Young Divas, and made it her second single from the album. She lacks Agnes's accent, but there's something about Agnes's voice that makes me prefer Agnes's version of it; the song "pops" more and sounds richer to me. Sorry Mike! Like Arashi, Ricki-Lee released her version as a single, in her case in November 2007.

As if we didn't have enough Idol contestants covering the song, though, South African Idol winner Jody Williams released her version of "Love Is All Around" as her winner's single in December 2007. I still give Agnes the easy edge here, but wouldn't it be refreshing to have an Idol winner single this bubbly and upbeat? Speaking of Jody, she's got a new single out called "Kiss Of Life," but, since I haven't heard more than twenty seconds of it, I can't exactly judge it.

(Since "Love Is All Around" was the winner's song, both Jody and the eventual runner-up Andriette performed it, with both of their versions being released for sale digitally, though it was Jody's version that got actually "released.")

What prompted this post? I was reading about the work Spanish singer Soraya Arnelas (though she wasn't on an Idol show, she was on Operación Triunfo) is doing on her new album--due out this October--and couldn't help noticing one of the titles of the songs she's done.

Yup, you guessed it. "Love Is All Around." Could be another song, but given the history of this song, I'm not going to count on it. It's a fantastic song, but this is really getting kind of ridiculous. Then again, maybe we shouldn't be too surprised: Soraya's past two albums have been all covers...but those were of a different sort--those were known covers, covers of '80's songs (Kylie's "I Should Be So Lucky," Laura Branigan's "Self Control," Patti Smith's "Because The Night," Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun," Baltimora's "Tarzan Boy," the Human League's "Don't You Want Me," Yaz's "Don't Go," the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)"...you get the idea), not a version of a song that modern day songwriters are selling artists in different regions the rights to. Don't get me wrong: I love Epicentre, the Swedish team behind the song; it's just that from the perspective of an international pop fan (which is admittedly much different from that of someone making a living via their job), I'd just much rather have new fantastic songs instead of many versions of the same fantastic song.

Further on the Soraya news front, the album is apparently super-danceable, has--in the first edition--ten songs in Spanish and two in English (titles including "Love Is All Around," "Rebound," "Duele," "Caminaré," "La noche es para mi," and "Sin miedo"), features three songs recorded with DJ Sammy, and she's given us the impression before that there's a duet with Kate Ryan on it, and not the one on Kate's new album. There'll be another version of the album, all in English, that comes out later, I think.

I know Soraya's not exactly the definition of classy, but I do hope this new album is...worthy. And makes good use of her voice and doesn't force it on songs it doesn't fit.

For more on Soraya, check out PopMusicWorldWide's opinionated post on her or Robpop's post on her.

Agnes's second album Stronger can be purchased here (physical).

Next up: maybe Kalomoira or Kate Ryan, finally. Or another Belgian singer.


Mike said...

Shame, PPG, shame! Agnes has all the personality of used toilet paper and a face to match. Her version of "Love Is All Around" is utterly foul. Ricki-Lee gives that talentless tramp a singing lesson. Honestly, I'm disgusted and appalled!!!

Anonymous said...

Soraya Arnelas is the best! Love your blog!!

Alexander said...

Mike: You have got to be joking. :S

Adem With An E said...

Speaking of Discocow Ricki, did you hear that she's the new co-host of Australian Idol??

Rick said...

Discocow... nice name.

PPG - you ought to do a post on the number of covers that 'KIDS IN AMERICA' has had over the years. I can think of 5.

Poster Girl said...

Alex, that's just Mike!

Aww, thanks, anonymous! I'm really interested to get a feel for what this next album from her is going to sound like.

What what? No, I had no idea! How...random!

You're so right, Rick--it seems like there have been so many! Good idea.

Rick said...

japanese artists release singles then the album once say four or so are out.