As a Tony-award winning and Grammy-nominated songwriter, Duncan Sheik could do pretty much anything he wanted and it would be not just good, but great. Which is why I was a little surprised to see that his latest album is nothing but ’80s covers. Appropriately titled Covers 80’s proves that Sheik really can turn anything into singer/songwriter gold.
Sheik does a great job of interspersing major hits and lost classics throughout the album, but the one that really sticks with me is New Order’s “Love Vigilante.” Sheik’s hushed vocals combined with the song’s solid writing sound make this sound like an original, not a remake. Tears for Fears’ “Shout” is another one where Sheik caresses the melody into submission and makes you (almost) completely forget the power that the original embraced.
It’s also interesting to hear The Cure’s depressing lyrics of “Kyoto” and The Smiths’ “William, It Was Really Nothing” played with such peaceful intensity.
That’s what Duncan Sheik can do. He can write an award-winning song sitting on the crapper, but here he proves that he can also completely change the scope of what a song can mean and essentially make it his own and still pay tribute to the originals. Sheik is the best singer/songwriter of this generation and Covers 80’s is just more proof — as if we needed any more.
Duncan Sheik: www.duncansheik.com