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BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge 2015 - Review

Live Lounge 2015

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

THE 10th volume of BBC Radio 1’s hugely successful Live Lounge compilations arrives with some of the biggest names in music reinterpreting or recreating some of the biggest records of the day. And it’s a typically mixed bag.

Of the 39 tracks across 2 CDs, it’s arguably the second disc that delivers the most pleasures.

Hence, Imagine Dragons bring typical class and playfulness to their medley of Ben E King’s Stand By Me and Taylor Swift’s Blank Space, while Mumford & Sons have never sounded more Coldplay-esque on 2Shy, a slow-builder of high quality that is an out and out highlight.

George Ezra may not stretch himself to new material on his offering but his quiet take on his own Barcelona is impeccably delivered.

And then there’s Catfish and The Bottlemen’s electric merging of Kanye West’s Black Skinhead and Kasabian’s Shoot The Runner, which feels raw, gritty and utterly vital.

By contrast, The Vaccines put a cheeky spin on OMI’s Cheerleader, which somehow manages to feel less cheesy than the catchy original, while Kodaline pull off their own neat trick by expertly splicing together Ed Sheeran’s Sing, Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off and Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk (complete with extravagant violin flourishes).

Indeed, Ronson’s landmark single also gets a robust and notable cover version by Jungle, which is faithfully recreated in thrilling fashion. And Sheeran himself weighs in with an endearing cover version of Hozier’s Take Me To The Church, both of which offer some of the few bright spots on CD1.

Returning to CD2, however, and further highlights come from Muse’s typically electrifying take on Chvrches’ Lies, Lucy Rose’s intimate, slow-building take on Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood and Foxes’ piano-based version of Ed Sheeran’s Photograph (despite remaining inferior to the original).

Most of the disappointments stem from indifferent cover versions of indifferent songs, some of which tend to sum up the malaise that the mainstream often finds itself in (with some music styles sounding very much the same).

We’d include Charlie Puth’s take on Calvin Harris’ How Deep Is Your Love, Rudimental’s take on Rita Ora’s Body On Me, Kygo’s bland take on Tove Lo’s Habits (Stay High) and even Mallory Knox’s underwhelming version of the supposedly inspiring Heroes (We Could Be) as evidence of this.

Overall, however, Live Lounge remains worth hearing and even worth owning – although it’s probably best to download its best moments rather than wading through the entire 39 song collection.

Track listing:
Disc: 1

  1. Take Me To Church (ORIGINALLY BY HOZIER) – Ed Sheeran
  2. Black Magic – Little Mix
  3. FourFiveSeconds (ORIGINALLY BY RIHANNA & KANYE WEST & PAUL McCARTNEY) – James Bay
  4. Hotline Bling (ORIGINALLY BY DRAKE) – Disclosure & Sam Smith
  5. On My Mind – Ellie Goulding
  6. Hold Back The River (ORIGINALLY BY JAMES BAY) – Ella Henderson
  7. Ship To Wreck – Florence + The Machine
  8. Let It Go / Umbrella (Medley)(ORIGINALLY BY JAMES BAY / RIHANNA FEAT. JAY – Z)
  9. Earned It (ORIGINALLY BY THE WEEKND) – Years & Years
  10. Up – Olly Murs Feat. Ella Eyre
  11. Heartbeat Song – Kelly Clarkson
  12. Lips Are Movin – Meghan Trainor
  13. Firestone (ORIGINALLY BY KYGO FEAT. CONRAD SEWELL) – Birdy
  14. King (ORIGINALLY BY YEARS & YEARS) – Nick Jonas
  15. How Deep Is Your Love (ORIGINALLY BY CALVIN HARRIS & DISCIPLES) – Charlie Puth
  16. What Do You Mean? (ORIGINALLY BY JUSTIN BIEBER) – CHVRCHES
  17. Run Away With Me (ORIGINALLY BY CARLY RAE JEPSEN) – John Newman
  18. Body On Me (ORIGINALLY BY RITA ORA FEAT. CHRIS BROWN) – Rudimental
  19. Uptown Funk (ORIGINALLY BY MARK RONSON FEAT. BRUNO MARS) – Jungle

Disc: 2

  1. Lay Me Down (ORIGINALLY BY SAM SMITH) – Hozier
  2. Blank Space / Stand By Me (Medley) (ORIGINALLY BY TAYLOR SWIFT / BEN E. KING) – Imagine Dragons
  3. 2Shy (ORIGINALLY BY SHURA) – Mumford & Sons
  4. Barcelona – George Ezra
  5. Black Skinhead (ORIGINALLY BY KANYE WEST) – Catfish and the Bottlemen
  6. Love Me Like You Do (ORIGINALLY BY ELLIE GOULDING) – Circa Waves
  7. Cheerleader (ORIGINALLY BY OMI) – The Vaccines
  8. Sing / Shake It Off / Uptown Funk (Medley)(ORIGINALLY BY ED SHEERAN / TAYLOR SWIFT / MARK RONSON FEAT. BRUNO MARS) – Kodaline
  9. Where Are Ü Now (ORIGINALLY BY SKRILLEX & DIPLO WITH JUSTIN BIEBER) – Rixton
  10. Lean On (ORIGINALLY BY MAJOR LAZER X DJ SNAKE FEAT. MØ) – The Maccabees
  11. The Giver (ORIGINALLY BY DUKE DUMONT) – Mark Ronson Feat. Keyone Starr
  12. Bad Blood (ORIGINALLY BY TAYLOR SWIFT FEAT. KENDRICK LAMAR) – Lucy Rose
  13. Photograph (ORIGINALLY BY ED SHEERAN) – Foxes
  14. Jealous (ORIGINALLY BY NICK JONAS) – Jessie Ware
  15. Habits (Stay High) (ORIGINALLY BY TOVE LO) – Kygo Feat. Parson James
  16. Heroes (We Could Be) (ORIGINALLY BY ALESSO FEAT. TOVE LO) – Mallory Knox
  17. Bloodstream (ORIGINALLY BY ED SHEERAN & RUDIMENTAL) – Kwabs Feat. Stormzy
  18. Thinking Out Loud (ORIGINALLY BY ED SHEERAN) – Wretch 32
  19. Shutdown (ORIGINALLY BY SKEPTA) – Slaves
  20. Lies (ORIGINALLY BY CHVRCHES) – Muse