Another year, another Patent Pending album… this time with a twist. Other People’s Greatest Hits is just that – a collection of cover songs that you’ve probably heard of. Don’t expect them to be all pop-punk, either. Long Island’s favourite sons have spread their wings wide into the realms of [gasp] pop…
The downside to this is that if it’s a pop track any younger than, say, the early 90’s then I’m highly unlikely to know it, which makes this record a bit like any Weird Al-bum released in the last 15 years. I don’t know which of his songs are parodies and which are originals any more. Similarly with Other People’s Greatest Hits I only know the originals of half of them, and of the other tracks I’ve not even heard of two of the artists.
Given that I a) love cover songs and b) hate contemporary pop music, this should make for an interesting experience…
The first thing to say is that regardless of the choice of songs themselves (culled from a “short”list of 173), Patent Pending have done a great job in recording and producing this collection. Each track sounds something unlike them, they’re pretty much all way out of the comfort zone and yet they still sound like Patent Pending. This, to me, is doing covers right. Not a note-for-note reproduction, but a twist and a squeeze to get the song to fit into your own band’s mould.
There’s variety from the all-out chaos of “Spice Up Your Life” to the haunting echoes of “All Time Low”, the cheese of “Livin’ La Vida Loco” to the party bounce of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”‘s chorus. So, theoretically, there should be something to appeal to everyone. The question is – is everyone going to like every track?
I have to say… no. But I only really dislike one, sadly the one song they picked to do live on the recent UK tour. I’ll be brutally frank – I hate the Spice Girls. Hated them at the time, continue to loathe them and their fake “girl power” marketing nonsense, and I can’t listen to one of their songs (or a cover) without wanting to ram knitting needles into my ears. Utter over-hyped, talentless, manufactured shite.
So let’s pretend this album has nine tracks on it.
I like it. There are songs on here that I would likely never even consider listening to the originals of. They’re by artists I don’t know or care about, so to me they’re going to be Patent Pending numbers (“Shape Of You”, “See You Again”, “Shout Out To My Ex”, “All Time Low” and “Wasted Wake Me Up”), but the tracks which make the album for me are Rick Astley’s classic “Never Gonna Give You Up” and The Killers’ “Mr Brightside”.
Mainly as I’m very familiar with both of the originals, I can really appreciate what Patent Pending have done with them. The former has been made that bit more bombastic, with some extra drums and rhythm guitar. However, with all the layers present it’s no surprise that Joe said at the Glasgow gig that they’ve not figured out a way to play it live yet. Work on it guys… please. This is a song that needs to be pogo’d to.
“Mr Brightside”, though… the originals stripped-bare approach has been taken aboard and a dose of “heavy” added. I could be wrong, but I don’t think it’s Joe on vocals for this one (I don’t have an album inlay to check). The angst and melody of The Killers is there in spades, but it’s both peppier and pounds more. Definitely my favourite track on the album and one which really does the original proud.
Essentially, this is like any collection of cover tracks in that how much you enjoy it is going to be partly down to how much you like the originals and/or how open minded you are. You can’t fault Patent Pending’s sense of adventure for trying it and the quality of the finished product. However, as Joe said in our recent interview, they don’t mind if people don’t like it. After all, Patent Pending didn’t write it!
Other People’s Greatest Hits is out on May 26th if you didn’t grab it when the band were on tour recently!