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Nostalgic for Annie Lennox

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Ringo did a cover of “You Belong to Me” on Stop and Smell the Roses back in 1981 and it was a great cover.  The cynically-minded think he did so to cash in on the tune in a new era, though those who see Ringo as an artist hear it as an addition. Same can be said, pro and con, about the new tendency of previously forefront artists to renew careers through covers and duets. Annie Lennox’s Nostalgia begs that exact question. You know the one.

The Question Answered?

Lennox has a great voice and does a good job of these tunes—classics all.  Her contemporaries, in some instances, are putting out new material and that seems a lot less cynical and derivative, though. So is Lennox just doing this for the bucks? Some sound like she is renewing them  and others are filler.

Book By Its Cover?

It’s almost unfair to judge a cover album at this point; established artists are scrambling to get them released. It has to be fun and rewarding to rework tunes that have influenced you, but the audience can only handle hearing “Ain't Misbehavin’” (chosen because it is not on this album) so many ways before it decides to just return to Fats Waller's original.

The first person to arrive at your door on Halloween as a bed-sheet ghost may get oohs and aahs, but after a while you start to look for something a little more original. That’s the feeling I have when I hear “Summertime” and “Strange Fruit.” I’ve heard them done much better before.

That fact reduces Nostalgia to wallpaper music, Lennox whispering covers in the corner of an upscale steakhouse, not the place someone as talented as she should be.  It’s a nice album, but not one for someone who knows the originals or for anyone who has been faithfully buying the numerous cover albums that have been pouring forth for the last fifty years.  Now to go back and hunt up Ringo Starr’s version of “You Belong to Me” and compare it to Lennox’s....