Album Review :
Joy Electric - Favorites at Play

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Band: Joy Electric

Album: Favorites At Play
Label:
Tooth & Nail

Release Date: 11/3/2009

Reviewed By: Chris W

Tracks:

01.  1 2 3 4 (Feist)

02.  Viva La Vida (Coldplay)

03.  I Miss You (Blink 182)

04.  Falling Slowly (Once Soundtrack)

05.  When You Were Young (The Killers)

06.  Somewhere Only We Know (Keane)

07.  It Ends Tonite ( The All American Rejects)

08.  Decode (Paramore)

09.  Say It Right (Nelly Furtado)

Alright so as you may have guessed or known, Favorites At Play is a covers album. For some this will immediately make you ignore it. For others you may pick it up because you see a song or two you enjoy and are curious. Others (like me) will immediately buy it simply because it is a Joy Electric album.

The first thing you may notice is that all these songs are from recent years. For me that simply meant that with the exception of 2 songs, I had no clue what these songs were until I listened to the album and recognized them from hearing them in stores or commercials (I don’t have a radio, even in my car). I’ve heard some complaints that there was no inspiration behind these songs, that they just sounded like the same songs with an electronic background. In reading recent Joy Electric interviews you’ll find that was his goal all along, to stick as much as possible to the original arrangements.

The album opens with “1 2 3 4” by Feist, it’s a great start to the album with lots of energy and lush vocals, all while still retaining the playfulness of the original track. It’s followed up by Viva La Vida, which has ironically become one of my favorite tracks on Favorites (I cannot stand Coldplay).Viva La Vida is a straight up dance number with a low thumping bass line and arpeggiators making for a spinning chorus. I Miss You is a classic Blink 182 track that really needs little discussion other than to say that it’s done in Joy Electric style while still retaining that Blink 182 feeling.  Falling Slowly is from an Irish movie called Once that revolves around 2 street musicians. The song is gorgeous and by far one of the best on the album with flowing synth pads filling in the background behind Ronnie’s signature blippy electronics style. When You Were Young is a driving dance number as well and despite being a fan of The Killers I had never heard it (probably because Sam’s Town received poor reviews so I just skipped it). Ronnie nailed the vocals and I actually enjoy it much more than the original. Somewhere Only We Know is one of the weakest tracks by far. Now I’ve never heard another song by Keane except this one, but it just doesn’t play right without their singer’s lilting falsetto and drifting voice. It Ends Tonite was originally a sad sounding whiney song courtesy of The All American Rejects.  Somehow in redoing it Joy Electric style it became a playful and dance laden electro-pop song and I love how it turned out. Decode… A song I felt was poorly written and rushed to begin with, received no help in being re-done. By far this is one of Paramore’s weakest songs and also a weak cover. Say It Right is a Nelly Furtado cover, and I’m at a loss for words for this one. It’s weird, and in covering it Ronnie brought some of that darker feel from the Curiosities and Such EP into the mix. It has a haunted house feel and reminds me of the ghost house levels from Super Mario.

Overall: This is a covers album. By definition that means some songs are hit or miss. There are way more hits than misses for sure. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of the artists covered it’s worth giving this disc a spin (hey, if it made me like a Coldplay song, anything can happen.)

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