Fresh off the release of his fine Get Guilty, red bearded New Pornographers co-frontman A.C. Newman has got some more new material for us. Well, new in the sense that his version of A-Ha’s laughably nostalgic “Take on Me” is almost nothing like the original. If you recall, a while back there was talk of another Sarbucks Compilation, this one to be focused on love songs for the month of February (apparently we aren’t the only outlet getting in on this love songs in February thing). The comp is appropriately and descriptively entitled Sweetheart: Our Favorite Artists Sing Our Favorite Love Songs.
Along with Department of Eagles doing an Elvis ditty and Death Cab For Cutie taking on the Cure is Newman’s interpretation of the 80’s pop song. The song is a stellar recreation of one of the cheesiest and most ridiculed songs of all time (perhaps the video downgrades the actual song). Opening with lush acoustic guitar strums, Newman makes the song his own folky pop ballad. His signature Daniel Johnston-esque vocals are accompanied with eloquent synthesized strings and even when he hits those really high notes, it’s not embarrassing at all. Additionally, that annoyingly catchy keyboard riff is slowed down, and by golly, the track is transformed into a poignant love song. Check it out for yourself:
Just goes to show, good artists can make even the corniest of songs (sorry if I offended any A-Ha fans) sound good. Just don’t hold me to that. I don’t think anybody could make “Achy Breaky Heart” listenable, but they could damn well try. Hey Thom, want to give it a go? On second thought, please don’t.
The collection is currently available at all Starbucks coffee shops.
Sweetheart: Our Favorite Artists Sing Our Favorite Love Songs Tracklist:
01. Death Cab For Cutie – “Love Song” (Cure cover)
02. Katy Perry – “Black And Gold” (Sam Sparro cover)
03. DeVotchKa – “Hot Burrito #1 (I’m Your Toy)” (Flying Burrito Brothers cover)
04. Department Of Eagles – “Love Me” (Elvis Presley cover)
05. Jessica Lea Mayfield – “Words Of Love” (Buddy Holly cover)
06. Ben Bridwell – “Your Love Is Forever” (George Harrison cover)
07. Kate Tucker – “I’m On Fire” (Bruce Springsteen cover)
08. Rogue Wave – “Maps” (Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover)
09. A.C. Newman – “Take On Me” (a-ha cover)
10. Jem – “Yellow” (Coldplay cover)
11. Richard Hawley – “Early Morning Rain” (Gordon Lightfoot cover)
12. Daniel Martin Moore – “I Hear Music” (Billie Holiday cover)
13. She & Him – “I Put A Spell On You” (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins cover)
14. Lila Downs – “My One And Only Love” (Frank Sinatra cover)