ALBUM                                 :           COVERS 80’S

ARTIST                                  :           DUNCAN SHEIK

GENRE                                   :           POP / ACOUSTIC

DATE RELEASED                 :           2011


In this album of cover version, Duncan Sheik took the opposite direction and instead of doing it like the original, he chose to make it stripped down.  If you are looking for “Barely Breathing” kind of musical arrangement, you will not find it here.  Another characteristic of this record is that, Sheik, did not follow the obvious.  He did not cover the most popular 80’s songs.  Instead, the songs in here are reflective of his moods during the “me” decade.

Here is a track by track review of the album:

  • Stripped – the acoustic version proves that Depeche Mode songs can be performed stripped down.
  • Hold Me Now – his cover version would make Thompson Twins proud as it did not deviate from the original melody. It is like listening to unplugged version of this song.

Listen to ‘Hold Me Now” in here

  • Love Vigilante’s – it is hard to imagine for this New Order song to be covered acoustically. But, Duncan Sheik made it possible though the angry passion is missing instead listeners would empathize on the narrative as the words are now easy to understand.
  • Kyoto Song – it’s good of him to keep the original hook of the song. In fact, his own version is far more superior than the original as a matter of personal opinion. The Cure’s original version is somewhat like a filler song from any album of Robert Smith’s band.
  • What Is Love – a Howard Jones original and is one song that screams “don’t make an acoustic version” of this song.

Listen to “What Is Love” in here

  • So Alive – the original version by Love and Rockets was hypnotic and upbeat. In this version, Duncan Sheik sang like it was his own song as the vocals sounds similar with that of Daniel Ash.
  • Shout – It is quite surprising that Duncan chose this song instead of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” Perhaps, he just wanted the song to himself as his acoustic version suits him perfectly well.

Listen to “Shout” in here

  • Gentlemen Take Polaroid – it’s like taking an opposite direction where the original song is lively and fun in terms of music and vocal performance. Sheik’s acoustic version is sullen and too melancholic.  It’s like listening to a new song.
  • Life’s What You Make It – An original from Talk Talk and given an eclectic treatment on this record. It is like listening to two separate tracks (one containing his own vocals and the other track is a solo of the back – up singer Holly Brooks) and played together.

Listen to “Life’s What You Make It” on this link

  • William, It Was Really Nothing – this is what Morrisey sound if he chose to make a full acoustic album.

Listen to remix version of “William, It Was Really Nothing” in here

  • Stay – in his acoustic rendition of this The Blue Nile 80’s proved once more that the decade was indeed an excellent decade musically. His version is as good as the original version.
  • The Ghost In You – what I suspected three decades ago that this song from Fiction Factory would make a good acoustic record.

Listen to “The Ghost IN You” on this link

Perhaps, it was the choice songs that made this album a love it or hate thing.  Or perhaps, taking the opposite direction would make listeners find some of his acoustic version quite repulsive to listen.  But, for those who are not familiar with the 80’s song, they will find the album a folk song album.  As a whole, the album is not that delightful especially if you are not fond of 80’s music. If you happen to be around when the original version were played on radios, you will have mixed feelings appreciating the whole album.  I rate this record 2.5 stars out of 5 stars.


1 stars = Ignore it

2 stars = risk it

3 stars = borrow or buy it

4 stars = buy it and keep it

5 stars = buy, keep, and treasure it


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