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BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge: Volume 5

BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge: Volume 5

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge series has understandably reached a fifth collection of songs given the success of the double albums thus far. They’re a great showcase for live talent and clever interpretations of classic tracks.

Indeed, much of the joy in listening is seeing how various bands interpret the work of their contemporaries, often eschewing their own trademark sound and genre in favour of experimentation.

The ensuing collections also provide a firm reminder that you can’t beat the live format… which really does sort out the great acts from the mere wannabes.

It’s a shame, then, that Volume 5 is actually one of the weaker offerings in the season so far. There’s a much greater emphasis on urban acts, with Tinie Tempah, N-Dubz, Professor Green, Roll Deep, Taio Cruz and Tinchy Stryder all featuring prominently, and bringing brave but not entirely successful reinterpretations to well known songs.

Pop and R’n’B acts also seem plentiful, with Kylie Minogue, The Saturdays, Kelis, Ellie Goulding, Pixie Lott, Alesha Dixon, Jordin Sparks and Kelly Rowland all jostling for position.

It’s no surprise that most of the best tracks come from more established acts, with Dave Grohl, Biffy Clyro, Plan B, Mumford & Sons and Mark Ronson providing some of the finest moments.

So, what are our highlights? Kylie Minogue’s stripped down, intimate, piano backed cover of Hurts’ Wonderful Life is a slow grower, but actually quite beguiling, while Mumford & Sons underline just why they’ve become folk’s favourite new songs with a thrilling live version of their anthem, The Cave.

Dave Grohl drops a telling acoustic version of My Hero, Biffy Clyro work similarly acoustic magic over Many of Horror, and Mark Ronson actually still manages to make a live version of his hit Bang Bang Bang sound fresh and vibrant and funky.

Kids In Glass Houses, meanwhile, conjure up a polished version of Marina & The Diamonds’ Hollywood that is a firm highlight, The Temper Trap a rousing version of their hit Sweet Disposition, The Big Pink a striking variation on Beyonce’s Sweet Dreams, and All Time Low a hip acoustic version of Lady Gaga’s Alejandro.

Among the curiosities that represent notable failures are Scissor Sisters’ kooky take on Kylie Minogue’s All The Lovers, which somehow manages to add a country slant on the track. It’s virtually unrecognisable but somehow fascinating.

N-Dubz almost pull off The Script’s The Man Who Can’t Be Moved/Break Even, until the urban elements take over, while Example offers an interesting take on Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream and Miike Snow a curious take on La Roux’s For The Kill.

But there are songs that are ruined. Jason Derulo fails to do justice to the soul crooning of Plan B’s hit She Said, Kelly Rowland misfires badly on Kasabian’s Underdog, and Taio Cruz fails to do justice to the fire and passion of Mumford & Sons’ seminal Little Lion Man.

There’s more average material, meanwhile, from the likes of The Saturdays, who remain content to perform their hit Ego in acoustic form (likewise Ellie Goulding with Starry Eyed), and Travie McCoy, who delivers a polished but unspectacular and radio friendly version of Billionaire (which is also covered in OK fashion by Professor Green).

All in all, then, this Live Lounge compilation is a mixed bag. Interesting, diverse, sometimes fascinating, sometimes forgettable… but crucially nowhere near as essential as earlier volumes.

Download picks: My Hero (Dave Grohl), Wonderful Life (Kylie Minogue), Alejandro (All Time Low), Sweet Disposition (The Temper Trap), New York(Paloma Faith), The Cave (Mumford & Sons), Sweet Dreams (The Big Pink), Hollywood (Kids In Glass Houses), Bang Bang Bang (Mark Ronson), Many of Horror (Biffy Clyro)

Track listing:
CD1

  1. Plan B – Pass Out (ORIGINALLY BY TINIE TEMPAH)
  2. Kylie Minogue – Wonderful Life (ORIGINALLY BY HURTS)
  3. Tinie Tempah – Frisky
  4. Example – Teenage Dream (ORIGINALLY BY KATY PERRY)
  5. Mumford & Sons – The Cave
  6. N-Dubz – The Man Who Can’t Be Moved / Breakeven (ORIGINALLY BY THE SCRIPT)
  7. The Saturdays – Ego
  8. Pixie Lott – When Love Takes Over (ORIGINALLY BY DAVID GUETTA)
  9. Professor Green – Billionaire (ORIGINALLY BY TRAVIE MCCOY)
  10. Scissor Sisters – All The Lovers (ORIGINALLY BY KYLIE MINOGUE)
  11. Kelis – Acapella
  12. The Big Pink – Sweet Dreams (ORIGINALLY BY BEYONCE)
  13. Paloma Faith – New York
  14. Marina & The Diamonds – Starstrukk (ORIGINALLY BY 3OH!3)
  15. Kids In Glass Houses – Hollywood (ORIGINALLY BY MARINA & THE DIAMONDS)
  16. The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition
  17. Miike Snow – In For The Kill (ORIGINALLY BY LA ROUX)
  18. You Me At Six – Starry Eyed (ORIGINALLY BY ELLIE GOULDING)
  19. McFly – Dynamite (ORIGINALLY BY TAIO CRUZ

CD2

  1. Dave Grohl – My Hero
  2. Taio Cruz – Little Lion Man (ORIGINALLY BY MUMFORD & SONS)
  3. Jason Derulo – She Said (ORIGINALLY BY PLAN B)
  4. Travie McCoy – Billionaire
  5. Biffy Clyro – Many Of Horrors
  6. Mark Ronson – Bang Bang Bang
  7. Roll Deep – Telephone (ORIGINALLY BY LADY GAGA)
  8. 3Oh!3 – Guns And Horses (ORIGINALLY BY ELLIE GOULDING)
  9. Ellie Goulding – Starry Eyed
  10. Hurts – Better Than Love
  11. Kelly Rowland – Underdog (ORIGINALLY BY KASABIAN)
  12. Alesha Dixon – Drummer Boy
  13. Jordin Sparks – Fallin’ (ORIGINALLY BY ALICIA KEYS)
  14. Robyn – Dancing On My Own
  15. Chipmunk – I’m Not Alone (ORIGINALLY BY CALVIN HARRIS)
  16. Jay Sean – I Gotta Feeling (ORIGINALLY BY BLACK EYED PEAS)
  17. Tinchy Stryder – Kickstarts (ORIGINALLY BY EXAMPLE)
  18. All Time Low – Alejandro (ORIGINALLY BY LADY GAGA)
  19. Scouting For Girls – Don’t Stop Believin’ (Glee Cast Version) (ORIGINALLY BY JOURNEY)