Beatles songs get worthy
By Jason C. Consolacion
Daily Cougar Staff
When artists attempt to cover anything
from the classic Beatles catalogue, they almost always try to find ways
to make those
songs their own. As a result, these renditions
usually fail to be something worth listening to, and what was supposed
to be a
tribute becomes almost blasphemous.
The soundtrack for New Line Cinema's I
Am Sam features contemporary artists covering 17 Beatles classics. However,
what's different about this compilation
is that most of the artists stay true to the Beatles' original arrangement.
Jessie Nelson, director of I Am Sam, filmed
the movie using the original Beatles songs as her mental soundtrack. Therefore,
when it was time to bring in the artists
to cover the songs, she requested that they keep the same tempos and melodies
The result is wonderful. This soundtrack
is possibly the best compilation of Beatles music ever assembled, rival
George Martin's (the Beatles' studio producer)
One of the best songs on the album is Eddie
Vedder's rendition of "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away." Complete with
12-string guitar and percussion limited
to a tambourine, the only change Vedder made to the beautiful John Lennon
was replacing the flute solo at the end
with a harmonica solo.
Rufus Wainwright contributes with a sweet
version of "Across The Universe," another Lennon composition. Wainwright
performed his rendition with Sean Lennon
at the John Lennon Tribute in October of last year. Again, the accompaniment
almost an exact replica of the original,
keeping the serenity of the song.
Sarah McLachlan sings Paul McCartney's
White Album ballad "Blackbird." The Canadian-born Lilith Fair diva does
the sweet tune, adding only her signature
vocals to the guitar and foot-tap accompaniment.
Also included are The Wallflowers' giddy
rendition of "I'm Looking Through You," Ben Folds' solemn McCartney tribute
"Golden Slumbers" and The Black Crowes'
rocking version of "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds."
Michael Penn and Aimee Mann duet in "Two
of Us," while Chocolate Genius transforms the ballad "Julia" into a funky
However, it is a lesser-known group that
contributes the best song on the album. Stereophonics' unplugged rendition
"Don't Let Me Down" is, well, immaculate.
Two-part harmonies, an acoustic guitar and an electric piano make up most
covered Lennon ode to his wife Yoko Ono.
The Stereophonics version is, dare I say,
almost better than the original. (It's really not, but it's so good that
I'm almost forced
to say that.)
The album doesn't go without some forgettable
tracks. Ben Harper's "Strawberry Fields Forever" is played beautifully,
sung terribly. Heather Nova does her best
Lisa Loeb impression while singing "We Can Work It Out" and miserably fails.
And the worst recording, unfortunately,
is Nick Cave's attempt at the McCartney epic "Let It Be." A beautiful light
introduction precedes a horrible, Lou
Reed-like vocal offering. That's too bad because it's such a beautiful
I Am Sam Soundtrack
**** (out of five stars)