Monday, May 28, 2007

The New York Times on The Sandinista Project

So there I was, on a Sunday morning, trying to get the kids ready to go to the beach, when I gave up briefly and picked up the Sunday New York Times. I saw that Jon Pareles had written a piece about a Joni Mitchell tribute record that I'm somewhat interested in. The headline made it seem like the article would have some big ideas about tribute records, which it did, and I was very pleasantly surprised to find these paragraphs within:

"Tribute albums have always been exercises in memory and continuity, mapping connections of sound and style. They trade on familiar songs or famous names, but what they promise is not an oldies experience (or for that matter, the experience provided by tribute bands that mimic name-brand acts). They aim for relevance, not nostalgia. And now, in the era of the isolated MP3 download and the randomly shuffled playlist, tribute albums aren’t just homages to musicians. They are also tributes to the vanishing idea of the album itself: that a collection of songs can still mean something as a whole. That is the strategy behind another worthwhile tribute album, “The Sandinista! Project” (00:02:59), a song-by-song remake of the Clash’s 1980 album “Sandinista!” by indie-rock and alt-country stalwarts and unknowns.

"Beyond each track’s individual thrills, a tribute album can illuminate a style and sensibility or reconsider a historical moment, as “The Sandinista! Project” does with contributions from Amy Rigby, Stew, Jon Langford and Sally Timms and dozens of others.

"The original “Sandinista!” filled three LPs with outsize ambitions: songs about violence, victims, revolution and drugs, delivered in a haze of punk, reggae, funk and glimmers of hip-hop. The remake, like most tribute albums, is hit or miss, but luckily it’s anything but reverent. A few Clash imitations show up, but so do multidirectional time warps. Songs skew toward Appalachia with banjos, plunge into psychedelic loops and echoes, unleash theremin on “The Call Up” and the Persian wail of Haale on “One More Time.” Members of the Clash wanted their songs to reverberate worldwide; “The Sandinista! Project” proclaims that they succeeded. And it not only insists that the original album hung together but goes on to take the sprawl of “Sandinista!” even further."

The full article is available here.

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Natsthename said...

That's a great review. I'm in the middle of my first listen to Sandanista! Project and have loved, so far, the countrified versions of the songs. Not your typical covers, that's for sure.

4:57 PM  

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