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Jesse Malin – On Your Sleeve (2008)

Jesse Malin – On Your Sleeve (2008)

Hurrah. Ryan Adams best pal is back!

Recorded over seven days this album features interpretations of classic singer-songwriters by Mr Malin.

With tracks by Tom Waits and Neil Young, contemporary greats such as The Hold Steady and The Kills, punk icons The Ramones and The Clash, Lou Reed and even a Sam Cooke standard – Jesse tips his hat to a small collection of writers that inform his unique musical identity and appeal. However, the vile Elton John is here too!

As a performing songwriter, Jesse appreciated the challenge of covering unique melodies not of his own design. Or, as Jesse puts it: “seven days of crazy fun, trying on other peoples’ clothes in my own apartment.

Here’s a strange review from UK that mentions Martine McCutcheon? One word …. why the fuck?

Cover albums are always a bit of a contentious thing. On the one hand they can be hailed as inspired reworkings of classic songs. On the other hand they can upset an artist’s fanbase and ruin the memory of a decent song. Some have succeeded (Mandy Moore, Herbie Hancock) whilst many have failed (Martine McCutcheon, Bette Midler) but nevertheless Jesse Malin is having a go with new album On Your Sleeve.

Looking over the tracklisting for On Your Sleeve, we didn’t recognise many of the tracks on there. After some digging we’ve discovered that Malin’s covers consist of songs from Neil Young (Looking For A Love), Paul Simon (Me and Julio Down By The School Yard) and Elton John (Harmony) to name a few.

Unlike many artists, Malin hasn’t tried to re-record the songs in the same way as the original artists. His take is unique and fresh as exemplified by his version of Sam Cooke’s Wonderful World. The song is retold through acoustic riffs and a gentle beat whilst still being identifiable as the classic it is. He even makes Elton John listenable on Harmony, and that is no easy feat!

Out of the 14 tracks here the highlight is cover of Harry Nilsson’s Everybody’s Talking. Even though this song has been covered to death Malin brings something new to the table. His interpretation of the song is laid back and the famous riff from the song is played down. It’s an interesting version of a much-loved song.

On Your Sleeve is a covers album that actually works. Malin’s careful reworking of these classic songs is enjoyable and refreshing. If more artists took Malin’s approach then we wouldn’t need to endure so many awful cover versions (yes we are looking at you Britney Spears!). You may not know all of the songs by their titles but once you listen to the record you’ll likely discover you know more of these songs than you thought you did.

-Music Focus UK


01. Looking For A Love (Neil Young)
02. Rock And Roll Radio (Ramones)
03. Sway (Rolling Stones)
04. Russian Roulette (Slime)
05. Gates Of The West (Clash)
06. Me And Julio Down By The School Yard (Paul Simon)
07. You Can Make Them Like You (The Hold Steady)
08. Walk On The Wild Side (Lou Reed)
09. Harmony (Elton John)
10. Rodeo Town (The Kills)
11. Wonderful World (Sam Cooke)
12. Operator (Jim Croce)
13. I Hope I Don’t Fall In Love (Tom Waits)
14. Everybody’s Talking (Harry Nilsson)

Here be Jesse!

Thanks belubettlo

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May 3, 2008 Posted by | Jesse Malin, Music_Alternative, _MUSIC | Leave a comment