Tribute Albums can be tricky propositions. Too often the rightfully unknown are paying tribute to the properly unheralded, or tribute albums go to the other extreme, where superstars go through the motions covering the best known songs of one of their peers. They are often used to raise money for worthy causes, so criticizing them harshly can make you seem like a cad, but you cannot turn off your critical faculties simply because the money raised goes to saving Bosnian puppies.
To my ears, the keys to a successful tribute album are having an artist who has written good songs; those songs need to be pliable enough to work in multiple genres; the artists paying tribute should use those songs as a jumping off point and try to make the songs their own, rather than slavishly recreating the original artist’s sound; and the money raised needs to be focused on saving those Bosnian puppies. Read the rest of this entry »