What does it sound like?:
The concept: take a bunch of pretty well known Punk tunes and re-arrange them for performance by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and singers from the English National Opera
The result: In the main, it all works – Pretty Vacant, No More Heroes and Neat Neat Neat sound like they were made for this sort of re-arrangement, and Love Will Tear Us Apart gains an air of the sea about it – almost like it could be used for a Sunday Night BBC Drama about Shipping Line in the mid-1800s.
The atonal saxophone squawk on Oh Bondage Up Yours is “fixed”, and Ca Plane Pour Moi is just not a strong enough tune for this treatment, and stripped of it’s over eager vocal and high pitch Oo-oo-oo-oo (which is here, but just sounds too tuneful), it loses a lot of it’s “Europunk fun”
Teenage Kicks also loses some energy and urgency, but remains listenable. And Should I Stay Or Should I Go just about squeezes into the “OK” bracket
The thing that lets it down for me is the singing over the orchestral backing (Disk 2 of the Deluxe Edition is the instrumental tracks only, which is a more enjoyable listen).
Let’s not get into arguments about “authenticity” or “sounds from the street” here, but I do have trouble believing an ENO singer when he talks of his old man out washing the car, Heathrow jets crashing over his home or Babylon Burning with anxiety
(but, hey, they’re only words so maybe I should just stop examining it too deeply)
Maybe I should’ve paid more attention to the memory of Classic Quadrophenia where the singing (for it is in the same styl-ee) turned one of my favourite albums into a not so enjoyable experience.
If the singer had said “Some people say Opera Singers should be seen and not heard, but I say Oh Bondage Up Yours” at the start, it may have raised a wry smile, but it is all done very straight and conservative (which, I suppose, is the point)
An interesting curio showing (proving) that many of the “simple 3 chord punk thrashes” may have had a little more about them then first thought.
I may return to this, but more likely through the medium of Spotify or YouTube rather than the physical CD
What does it all *mean*?
Punk continues it middle age dotage by occupying another area of the “establishment” that, according to mass media headlines, it was supposed to destroy.
Give it another 30 to 40 years and we may find Anarchy In The UK being sung around campfires and/or Pub pianos, and old punk tunes being committed to record/CD/MP3 and identifying the writer as “Trad Arr”
Goes well with…
When it’s too hot (or too old) to jump around like a loony, but you want to hear your favourite tunes.
A sort of Sunday Morning Sharpener that can be listened to without waking the rest of the house up
Might suit people who like…
Those who enjoy, or seek, music of one style performed in it’s virtual polar opposite style.
Lovers of Beethoven and Mozart, as well as The Sex Pistols and The Clash