Music Reviews

String Quartet Tribute

String Quartet Tribute to Matchbox 20

String Quartet Tribute to Incubus

String Quartet Tribute to David Bowie

String Quartet Tribute to Black Sabbath

String Quartet Tribute to Madonna


OK, just what is the purpose of these things? Sounding somewhat like the middle point between Muzak and the Kronos Quartet, these “tributes” are odd beasts. While the works selected for Bowie and Black Sabbath might have the melodic qualities necessary to build a string arrangement around, certainly none of the other artists do. The Bowie disc is actually almost listenable for a second time. The version of “The Man Who Sold the World” reminds you of Kurt’s, and material such as “Ashes To Ashes” or “Changes” always had a slightly operatic sense to them anyway, so they work. The Sab’s “Sweet Leaf” or “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” are OK, “Iron Man” or “Paranoid” are teeth-grindingly bad.

The rest of it? Well, Madonna is disco, which sucks in whatever format its presented. Incubus, well, to be honest I’m not real familiar, but this doesn’t sound too good. Matchbox 20? Well, lame music for shopping malls sounds just as wimpy and derivative by a string quartet as it does by the band, but I betcha fans of the group could pop this “tribute” into the minivans CD player for long drives and have a great time. Ugh. Back in the ’60s, when Andrew Loog Oldham or George Martin did this sort of thing for Stones or Beatles songs, they were no less a cash-grab than this stuff. Only difference is, those guys wrote songs. Not beats. Songs that had melodies, things you could hum. It helped a lot. Today’s music is a pale reflection of those times, and in most cases, deserves no tribute. Certainly not this sort, anyway.

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