Various Artists - Radio 1's Live Lounge Volume 5
Radio 1’s Live Lounge series is back for a fifth instalment. For the three of you who aren’t familiar with the format by now it's pretty simple: invite artists in to perform one of their own tracks, and a cover version, live in the studio all in a daytime radio-friendly manner. It's very Jo Wiley.
For the most part, it’s the unique cover versions that make the most interesting listening. Marina (she of Diamonds fame) slows down 'Starstrukk' into a quirky ballad, Scissor Sisters deliver an unlikely country version of Kylie’s 'All The Lovers', and while Kasabian fans might baulk at it becoming a slightly folky showcase for Kelly Rowland’s voice, the rest of us can enjoy her take on 'Underdog'.
It’s not all good, though. You, Me at Six bland up Ellie Goulding’s 'Starry Eyed' (and add to the irritation by pronouncing it “Story Eyed”), there’s a strange waltzing version of 'Hollywood' from Kids In Glass Houses that borders on the unlistenable, and 3Oh!3’s take on 'Guns and Horses' is so headache inducing it’s probably tormenting the damned on an infinite loop in hell as I type.
On the pleasant surprises front, Taio Cruz’s danceable version of 'Little Lion Man' suggests that two wrongs sometimes make a right, and Tulisa’s sweet vocal on N-Dubz' Script cover suggests that there might be some talent in the group after all.
Not that the artists doing their own tracks are uninteresting – acoustic versions of Robyn’s 'Dancing On My Own' and Biffy Clyro’s 'Many Of Horror' stand in stark contrast to the album versions. Less so straightforward takes from Mark Ronson and Mumford & Sons themselves, and The Saturdays track veers just a little too far into girls' night out karaoke territory.
So it’s a mixed bag – but it was ever thus, and if you can’t find an album’s worth of interesting tracks in the 38 presented here, you’re simply not trying.