The all covers record was possibly a great concept 50 years ago, but in the rock era there are few that reward repeated listening (feel free to list any that do). Generally seen as a stopgap during a creative lull, a timekiller between labels or a last ditch effort for a long past their prime artist to get back on the radio (see Stewart, Rod as exhibit A), the "covers album" inspires initial curiousity followed by the inevitable "what were they thinking?"
Well, Freedy Johnston hasn't released a studio record since 2001, I doubt he's still signed to Elektra and maybe this record will get him back on AAA radio. But he's got a new covers record out soon (currently available directly here) called My Favorite Waste of Time and, surprise, it doesn't suck. Substitute a Jimmy Webb song and a Paul Simon for the two dud McCartney choices ("Listen To What The Man Said" and " ugh... "Let 'em In") and you might have one of the better cover albums of recent vintage.
Anyone that tackles Marshall Crenshaw, Matthew Sweet, The Hollies, Tom Petty and NRBQ and doesn't get their ass kicked is doing OK. And his cover The Eagles "The Sad Cafe" trumps the original, but that's probably a back-handed compliment. But overall the album's simplicity, pop jangle, muted horns and obvious affection for its source material make it worth checking out. And after all, who doesn't love Freedy?
Check these out:
I Want You Bad mp3
Bus Stop mp3
Remember, if you like these tunes, support independent music and buy the dang thing.