Friday, July 14, 2006

The Best Tribute Albums #1

My thrashing of the TMBG tribute got me thinking if there are any tribute albums i actually like. There are a couple, and i'll br profiling them over the next week or so. Here is the first one...

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Wig in a Box - Songs from and Inspired by Hedwig and the Angry Inch


1. The Origin Of Love - Rufus Wainwright
2. Angry Inch - Fred Schneider and Sleater-Kinney
3. The Long Grift - They Might Be Giants
4. Sugar Daddy - Frank Black
5. City Of Women - Robyn Hitchcock
6. Freaks - Imperial Teen
7. Wicked Little Town (Hedwig Version) - The Breeders
8. Nailed - Bob Mould
9. Wig In A Box - The Polyphonic Spree
10. Milford Lake - John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask
11. Ladies & Gentlemen - Stephen Colbert
12. Tear Me Down - Spoon
13. Hedwig's Lament/Exquisite Corpse - Yoko Ono and Yo La Tengo
14. Wicked Little Town (Tommy Gnosis Version) - Ben Folds, Ben Kweller, Ben Lee
15. Midnight Radio - Cyndi Lauper and the Minus Five
16. The Origin Of Love - Jonathan Richman

First off, let me say that i am a huge fan of the film (and i presume the play, although i've never seen it) version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It has great music, it is hillarious, and has very touching moments. So when i heard that there was going to be a tribute album, i was a bit skeptical but excited when i learned that Frank Black, the Breeders, Jonathan Richman, Spoon, Yo La Tengo, Sleater-Kinney, They Might Be Giants, etc. were going to be involved. It is, in my opinion, probably the best tribute album ever.

Why? Well, two reasons. First of all, like all good tribute albums, the source material is very strong. And secondly, none of the bands sound the same. Each artist really takes the track and makes it their own. So, as to be expected, Rufus Wainwright divas up "The Origin of Love," Frank Black raws up "Sugar Daddy," Spoon makes "Tear Me Down" into a song barely removed from Kill The Moonlight and Jonathan Richman takes a total 180 from Wainwright and tackles the reprise of "The Origin of Love" in a spare Spanish guitar, vocals and drums fashion.

But the highlight of the disc comes from 20-someodd member band The Polyphonic Spree tackling "Wig in a Box." It is such an overblow, dramatic version of the track, that you can't help but think somewhere in the time space contiuum, Hedwig his/herself is smiling and putting something new on her head.


At 9:32 PM, Blogger Christy Gamble said...

Thank you Brian! I just watched "Hedwig for the first time and I'm in love. I am going to check out this cd :)

At 6:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, i listened to the cd and hated it bcuz i wanted to hear hedwig not some random ppl tht arent hedwig the songs are ruined by those people in my opinion


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