Rock Swings

Studio Album by released in 2005
Rock Swings's tracklist:
Eye of the Tiger
Jump
Everybody Hurts
Wonderwall
Black Hole Sun
It's My Life
It's a Sin
True
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Hello
Eyes Without a Face
Lovecats
The Way You Make Me Feel
Tears in Heaven

Rock Swings review

One of the biggest teen idols of the late '50s, Paul Anka moved to the adult sphere several years later and became a successful performer, songwriter, music businessman, and recording artist, remaining so well into the new millennium. Anka charted into the early '80s, continuing his many casino and international appearances while recording sparingly but continually. This year marks his 47th Anniversary in show business, which he celebrates with the Global release of his latest album, Rock Swings, a collection of contemporary standards. It is a concept that takes rock hits from the 80's and adds a swing arrangement to give them a completely different, and fresh new sound. Sonically amazing, musically impeccable, vocally superb, this album swings hard from start to finish.

Anka the songwriter chose great songs to completely re-arrange for big band. The saving grace here is that these versions sound nothing at all like the original and somehow they all work completely in this new form.... The Pet Shop Boys' It's A Sin really sounds like a mid sixties theme from a cold war movie featuring the likes of Michael Caine. A beautiful opening of Soundgarden's Blackhole Sun leads into a gentle jazz swing. The Cure's Lovecats also fits perfectly in this newfound swing arrangement. Jackson's The Way You Make me Feel with its mid tempo swing beat slips in without much trouble with its muted horns and gentle walking string bass line. They all work really well especially the wonderful Everybody Hurts by REM. Anka's voice sits perfectly over this mellowed brass version, with its space and lyrical string lines. Billy Idol's Eyes Without a Face is perhaps the most beautiful with Larry Koonse's guitar, Randy Kerber himself at the piano. Altogether expect to hear great arrangements, beautifully played, recorded, produced and perfect vocals from the legendary Paul Anka.

Not only do the songs work in a jazzy environment, they actually become more enjoyable with each successive listen. Conductor/arranger Randy Kerber – who was apparently under a court order to play keyboards on every album released during the ‘80s, from Kenny Rogers to Kenny Loggins, Corey Hart to Juice Newton – has gone out of his way to adjust the arrangements of these songs significantly, often hiding their familiar melodies in plain sight. The more you listen to these new arrangements, the more comfortable the songs feel in their new surroundings. With a little luck, Rock Swings could give Paul Anka the sort of career renaissance that Tony Bennett scored a few years ago.

(28.07.2005)
Rate review3.07
Total votes - 13


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