Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Urban Renewal" Featuring the Songs of Phil Collins

Now here is an album that I completely missed out on at the time it was released, so stumbling across it in the bargain bin was quite the surprise (although some time later I did recall that I had heard, at some point in the last couple of years, the semi-legendary* ODB version of "Sussudio", and yet somehow I failed to ask myself the obvious follow-up questions such as "why the shit is ODB covering 'Sussudio??', etc.) So there you have it: years before notable rap and R&B artists couldn't help but get choked up at the mention of Coldplay, some of the biggest stars of the day took a crack at modernizing the music of one of the whitest solo artists in recent chart history.

Seven years on, it's little more than a curio, and undoubtedly a missed opportunity to make true to the album's title and transform these songs into something refreshingly different. Only ODB, by virtue of being himself, and Kelis' warped take on "I Don't Care Anymore" stand out, but most of the album consists of slightly more soulful rehashes of the same shmaltz that Phil Collins already mastered with the originals. "Against All Odds" is just begging for the R. Kelly "I Believe I Can Fly" treatment", but rather than grant the song the histrionics that are more than warranted in this specific case, Montell Jordan tries to play it smooth and robs the song of its all-important climax.

* Why is it semi-legendary? Because it's ODB. Performing "Sussudio". The Phil Collins song. Any more questions?

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