Thursday 23 April 2020

Album Review: DANZIG - Danzig Sings Elvis

01. Is It So Strange
02. One Night
03. Lonely Blue Boy
04. First In Line
05. Baby Let's Play House
06. Love Me
07. Pocket Full Of Rainbows
08. Fever
09. When It Rains It Really Pours
10. Always On My Mind
11. Loving Arms
12. Like A Baby
13. Girl Of My Best Friend
14. Young And Beautiful

Glenn Danzig has been talking about releasing a covers album of Elvis Presley songs for what feels like forever, and now the imaginatively titled Danzig Sings Elvis is finally here.

Glenn's life-long love of Elvis is well documented. His vocal style is similar, earning him the title of 'The Evil Elvis' many moons ago. He also covered Trouble on his 1993 EP Thrall-Demonsweatlive, and recorded a version of Let Yourself Go for his first covers album Skeletons which came out in 2015.

Over the last few years, the quality of Danzig's output has declined a bit, mostly in terms of production. The sound of Skeletons was so bad that I felt almost angry that he was expecting people to pay full price for it as though it was in a similar calibre to his early work. I'm sure he thinks it sounds raw, honest, and live, unlike most of today's modern, overly-compressed, soul-less output. It actually sounds like he recorded it into a cassette four-track from the 90's. Most local band demos sound better.

After the disappointing Skeletons came his last studio album, Black Laden Crown (read my review here), which is a vast improvement but still way below par in the production department, especially compared to his early classics, which incidentally are some of the best albums ever made. So from the start, I didn't have high hopes for Danzig Sings Elvis based on his recent releases. And let's not talk about his creative standards when it comes to movie making either! (read my review of his movie Verotika here).

Danzig Sings Elvis is not the train wreck I thought it might be. It's actually pretty cool. A lot of that is down to the timeless source material, which is classic even though Glenn has gone for some of Elvis' deeper cuts and missed out some of his most famous tracks. I'm pretty sure that the majority of these tracks are from the 1950's, and lend themselves well to Glenn's sorrowful crooning. There are no upbeat Pop songs here, except arguably the vintage Rock N' Roll number Baby Let's Play House.

The covers are fairly faithful to the originals, so any Elvis fans who were concerned that he had done Blackacidevil-esque Industrial interpretations can relax. This is all very stripped-back and chilled. Some fans will be into this and some won't. It is a departure from the norm, but that's part of the charm of a project like this.

My personal favourites are Fever (what a tune!), Always On My Mind, Is It So Strange, and One Night.

Danzig Sings Elvis is a blatant vanity project, but why can't Glenn have one of those at this stage in his career? He's not a character that one would associate with the word 'fun', but there's a genuine feeling that's he had a great time making this record and it's rubbed off on the final product. Yes, his voice was much stronger when he was younger, but whose wasn't? I've read people on the internet describing it as "shot", but that's just not true. For a man of his age, his voice still sounds impressive and he has a lot to offer. Let's face it, Glenn Danzig is a living legend and one of the last true Rock stars. Bat shit crazy and full of creativity, the world would be considerably less interesting without him. I just wish he'd hire a decent producer.


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