Mojo Covers Yellow Submarine
The U.K. music magazine Mojo has always managed to throw together interesting projects for the cd’s that accompany each issue. One month after covering the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, the magazine appropriately turned to The Beatles, collecting various artists to cover the fifteen songs of Yellow Submarine.
The record, originally released as an accompanying soundtrack to the 1969 film of the same name, contained songs from the albums Revolver, Rubber Soul, and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, as well as four original tracks. While Long After Dark realizes the daunting task that it can be to cover a Beatles’ song, many of the covers felt more like missed opportunities than intriguing interpretations of a classic. Interestingly enough, some of the lesser-known Beatles’ tracks made for the best listens.
Among the best covers on Yellow Submarine was London’s Bevis Frond, who ripped through a great, semi-faithful take on “Hey Bulldog.” Natalie Duncan reconstructed “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” to sound much less psychedelic and more like a ballad, shining in the process. The Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley followed with a louder, vibrant cover of “Think for Yourself,” perhaps benefiting from following the mellower track from Duncan. British Country group My Darling Clementine capped the record with a fantastic reinvented version of “It’s All Too Much,” seemingly channeling Tammy, Dolly, Johnny, and June more than John, Paul, George, and Ringo.
Some of the covers that seemed a little off were Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat’s martial-beat cover of the title track “Yellow Submarine.” An odd placement in the album was Michele Stodart’s “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which completely retooled the track but missed the mark with the varied arrangement. The Wooden Wand doubled the original length of “Baby You’re a Rich Man,” likely extending it with a very repetitive ending that was three minutes far too long. Thea Gilmore was close with certain aspects of “All You Need Is Love,” although the reinterpreted phrasing of the song’s lyrics was a bit tedious at times.
Kudos to Mojofor their ambitious undertaking, listening to the different covers of each song from rock’s most revered canon was a fun addition to their collection of interesting project.