Tribute albums have never really sat well with me. With each song, I usually hear every band featured saying, Hey, we can do this song better than the original artist. But its very rare that a cover will be nearly as good or enjoyable to listen to as the original. I think sometimes you should just leave a great album or great artist alone and not disgrace their abilities with a sub-par interpretation of their work. But still, I cant stay away from a collection of songs based on an album like Post, as tentative as I am coming into the first listen.
Enjoyed begins with Liars version of Army of Me. Somewhat removed from the original, the song is a slowed down, bass-heavy electronic mash of keyboards, sound effects, and slurred vocals almost to the point of being incomprehensible. This interpretation is different enough from the original to stand on its own, and feels like you should be on some mind-altering substance to fully grasp. The Dirty Projectors come next with Hyperballad, with a single guitar and minimal percussion complementing the singular vocals. This version keeps true enough to the structure of the original and the harmonized a capella part in the chorus helps keep the melody on track.
Some of the songs on this album fall very short in recreating a respectable interpretation; while the effort is admirable, the result is a mash-up of noises and awkward vocal patterns. However, I think its important to point out that even these songs carry a piece of Björks increasingly odd style, even if the end result is not as pleasing to their ears as Id like. Some of the versions, like Final Fantasys version of Possibly Maybe and Bells Its Oh So Quiet, succeed not only in respecting the originals, but also in making an adaptation that stands on its own. Bell comes the closest to Björks vocal style of any group on the album.
Despite my hesitation, this album struck me by surprise. Enjoyed is something that I would listen to in addition to the original, not just one of those albums that you buy to listen to once before it just takes up space on your hard drive. My main complaint with this, and most cover albums made in this style, is that the songs do not flow the same way as on the original. Since each band has their own style, the overall effect of a great album from start to finish is lost pretty quickly. But overall, this definitely caught my ears more than I was expecting it to, and is worth checking out for any fan of Post.
Note: Enjoyed: A Tribute to Björks Post is available in its entirety on the Stereogum website for free, with statements from each artist featured.
7.5 / 10
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