July 13, 2007

Guilt By Association: Some will win, some will lose (some are born to sing the blues)

No need to hide — there’s a new compilation CD coming out August 28 from Engine Room Recordings called Guilt By Association, which nobly is working to “bridge the gap between TRL and Pitchfork.” It’s a shrewd concept album which realizes that for each of us, maybe behind those thick black spectacles, chunky haircut, and Strokes t-shirt, is a soul screaming along the words to Mariah Carey on our car stereos.

A project of Engine Room Recording’s co-founder Peter Block, working with music supervisors Randall Poster and Jim Dunbar (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The School of Rock and my second-favorite TV show Lost), the album asks the indie stars of today to reinterpret their favorite guilty pleasure songs for our auditory enjoyment. There are hits and misses (and I boldly do not feel guilty about liking some of these originals), but check the tracklist –

1. Petra Haden: “Don’t Stop Believin’” (Journey)
2. Devendra Banhart: “Don’t Look Back In Anger” (Oasis)
3. Mark Mulcahy: “From This Moment On” (Shania Twain)
4. Luna: “Straight Up” (Paula Abdul)
5. The Concretes: “Back For Good” (Take That)
6. Jim O’Rourke: “Viva Forever” (Spice Girls)
7. Goat: “Sugar We’re Going Down” (Fall Out Boy)
8. Will Oldham/Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy” “Can’t Take That Away” (Mariah Carey)
9. Woody Jackson Orchestra featuring Money Mark: Love’s Theme (Love Unlimited Orchestra)
10. Porter Block: “Breaking Free” (High School Musical)
11. Mooney Suzuki: “Just Like Jesse James” (Cher)
12. Geoff Farina: “Two Tickets To Paradise” (Eddie Money)
13. Casey Shea: “Chop Suey” (System of a Down)
14. Superchunk: “Say My Name” (Destiny’s Child)
15. Mike Watt: “Burning For You” (Blue Oyster Cult)

The arguably crazy Devendra Banhart has been called “one of our favorite freaky people” by The Black Crowes, and here he takes on Oasis with his trademark warbly folk meandering. If you prefer fragile delicacy over confident generational anthems, this is just for you:

Don’t Look Back In Anger (Oasis cover) – Devendra Banhart
(link removed)

Will Oldham / Bonnie “Prince” Billy busts out the aforementioned Mariah Carey. Well, not exactly busts out. More like lets the slow jam ebb out. It’s playful and surprisingly enjoyable.

Can’t Take That Away (Mariah Carey cover) – Will Oldham/Bonnie “Prince” Billy
(link removed)

Go to the MySpace page to hear Petra Haden tip her hat to my boys in Journey with a sunny acapella-harmony-deelite version of “Don’t Stop Believin’” with some Wilson Phillips tossed in at the end just to really drive that guilty pleasure idea home. I think that the last time I did karaoke I tried my hand at covering the same song; pretty sure it didn’t sound as bubblegum delectable. The crowd may have, in fact, stopped believing, despite my exhortations to the contrary.


  • I don’t get why Journey, Oasis, System of a Down, or most importantly Blue Oyster Cult are considered “guilty pleasures”: that tells me those artists can’t possibly know much about music.

    petepizza — July 13, 2007 @ 9:28 am

  • the big band anthem of the 80s, such as journey, are always a big hit at karaoke. as is REO speedwagon!!! ‘take it on the run’ is my all-time favorite karaoke song. :)

    carolyn — July 13, 2007 @ 9:54 am

  • it’s not unlike the even better than the real thing compilations that came out in ireland. it had such gems as glen hansard doing justin timberlake’s “cry me a river” and damien rice and lisa hannigan doing pink’s “get the party started”

    conductor — July 13, 2007 @ 10:24 am

  • Dang, I thought this post was going to be about Vic Chesnut’s song Guilty by Association. Oh well.
    a good song BTW

    Anonymous — July 13, 2007 @ 11:57 am

  • I’m sorry, your SECOND FAVORITE TV show is Lost?? What in the world could be your first? How do you top Lost?

    Kristy — July 13, 2007 @ 1:06 pm

  • COME ON.

    Two words:

    “Otherwise it’s just malfeasance for … malfeasance’s sake.”

    heather — July 13, 2007 @ 1:27 pm

  • hey heather! i have a proposition – being a bit obsessive about covers, i was curious as to whether or not you had this whole album. if you did, i was wondering if you would be interested in a swap. i own quite a few (remember, obsessive)compilations/tribute albums/the like, and would be happy to send one your way in exchange for this one. let me know if you’re interested!


    Anonymous — July 14, 2007 @ 2:17 pm

  • Will Oldham: “Yeah, the name has so many different references that it could almost have a life of its own. Bonnie Prince Charlie has such a beautiful ring to it, and I was very conscious of appropriating that mellifluous sound. And I was also thinking about the name Nat King Cole. But it wasn’t until later, and this may have been subconscious, that I remembered that Billy the Kid was William Bonney or Billy Bonney”

    larry king bird — July 14, 2007 @ 3:30 pm

  • The Petra Haden track is wonderful. She put out an excellent duo album with jazz guitarist Bill Frisell that featured some great versions of songs by Elliot Smith, The Foo Fighters, Stevie Wonder, and an inspiring version of Coldplay’s “Yellow”.

    jonsnow — July 15, 2007 @ 7:04 pm

  • Wow. I want that collection, like, yesterday.

    Dainon — July 16, 2007 @ 6:51 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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