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BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge 2014 - Review

Live Lounge 2014

Preview by Jack Foley

AFTER a dip in form over recent years, BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge is back with a vengeance in 2014 with some of the best covers/live versions in recent memory.

The new album features first time appearances on a Live Lounge album from breakthrough artists Sam Smith, George Ezra and Ella Henderson as well as returning favourites including Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, Paolo Nutini, Kasabian and Coldplay. As ever, some of the selections are surprising but quite often inspired.

Hence, Ed Sheeran covers man-of-the-moment Sam Smith’s Stay With Me to typically classy effect, while Ben Howard adds typical atmospheric intensity and beauty to Kiesza’s Hideaway. Both tracks get the first CD off to a flyer.

We also rated Ella Henderson’s melancholy, piano-drenched take on Say Something, George Ezra’s stripped down, acoustic take on Budapest, Aloe Blacc’s piano version of The Man and Kasabian’s fun take on Fancy (originally by Iggy Azalea).

Paolo Nutini brings an ultra funky version of Scream (Funk My Life Up), which works a treat to get those toes tapping, Bastille does well with Miley Cyrus’ We Can’t Stop, dropping the sort of piano-laced hip-hop infused style that Eminem might like to call his own, and Katy B’s stripped back, piano version of Crying For No Reason is moody and dazzling.

If the second CD arguable struggles to live up to the first in terms of overall quality, there’s still plenty to admire. Coldplay deliver a nice version of their own track, Oceans, while Angel Haze drops a sassy, urban-laced and suitably intense cover of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s Drunk In Love.

London Grammar have fun with Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball and actually give it a more sobre, more serious edge that completely transforms it to beguiling effect, while The 1975 do the same with a stripped down, acoustic version of their hit, Sex.

Jacob Banks does a moody makeover of Coldplay’s Magic (in itself one of the more subdued recent Coldplay offerings, but here given an ultra soulful sheen), while the ever dependable Bombay Bicycle Club drop a stirring version of Disclosure’s F For You, which works surprisingly well.

There are, of course, moments on both CDs that don’t work, such as Chase & Status’ take on London Grammar’s Strong or Tom Odell’s slightly iffy take on Katy Perry’s Roar.

But on this occasion, the hits far outweight the misses and this is a collection to savour from the Live Lounge. You could even call it a vintage year!

Win Live Lounge 2014

To celebrate the release of BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge on Monday, October 27, 2014, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Which song does Ed Sheeran cover on Live Lounge 2014?

Simply send the answer to Live Lounge 2014 competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Track listing:
Disc 1

  1. Stay with Me (Live) Ed Sheeran
  2. Hideaway (Live) Ben Howard
  3. Say Something (Live) Ella Henderson
  4. Happy (From “Despicable Me 2”) (Live) Maroon 5
  5. Berlin (Live) Sam Smith
  6. Budapest (Live) George Ezra
  7. How Long Will I Love You (Live) Ellie Goulding
  8. Holy Grail / Counting Stars / Smells Like Teen Spirit (Medley) (Live) Little Mix
  9. Superheroes (Live) The Script
  10. The Man (Live) Aloe Blacc
  11. Fancy (Live) Kasabian
  12. Scream (Funk My Life Up) (Live) Paolo Nutini
  13. We Can’t Stop (Live) Bastille
  14. Shake It Off (Live) Labrinth
  15. Roar (Live) Tom Odell
  16. Nobody to Love / Doo Wop (That Thing) [Medley] (Live) Kiesza
  17. Crying for No Reason (Live) Katy B
  18. I Got U (Live) Duke Dumont feat. Jax Jones
  19. Rather Be (Live) Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne

Disc 2

  1. Oceans (Live) Coldplay
  2. Wrecking Ball (Live) London Grammar
  3. Amnesia (Live) 5 Seconds Of Summer
  4. Sex (Live) The 1975
  5. Waves (Live) Indiana feat. Rhodes
  6. XO (Live) Haim
  7. Magic (Live) Jacob Banks
  8. Do I Wanna Know? (Live) Hozier
  9. Hold on, We’re Going Home (Live) Nick Mulvey
  10. F For You (Live) Bombay Bicycle Club
  11. Lovers on the Sun (Live) Mallory Knox
  12. Am I Wrong (Live) Lower Than Atlantis
  13. Forever (Live) James Bay
  14. Dark Horse (Live) Example
  15. Comeback (Live) Ella Eyre
  16. Drunk in Love (Live) Angel Haze
  17. Counting Stars (Live) Wilkinson feat. Becky Hill
  18. Strong (Live) Chase & Status
  19. The Monster / Story of My Life (Medley) (Live) Rudimental
  20. Ready for Your Love (Live) Gorgon City feat. MNEK