New clothes for old songs

Did you catch Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong's almost note-for-note remake of the Everly Brothers second album? It was great fun, though on an artistic level one had to wonder why their rendition hewed so close to the original.

Temporary Hero
Temporary Hero leaves no such questions with Chet, his reimaging of Chet Baker Sings. Rather than a band, he uses multitracked vocals and his rather sterile electronic arranging style to come at these standards from a completely different perspective. Indeed, there's no purpose to listening to the two albums back-to-back. Nothing is the same, starting with the sequencing.

Well, almost nothing. The sense of pleasure listening to an artist find something unique and amazing within well-worn tracks is always entrancing, and both Baker and Temporary Hero solve that puzzle with seeming ease. These arrangements create entirely new songs--not to mention a growing sense of wonder.

Given his track record so far, I wouldn't be surprised if Temporary Hero took a deep dive into something like Bad Religion's No Control. I can only imagine how he might approach "You." But it's the genius of an album like this that brings such flights of fancy. Right now, it seems that Temporary Hero can do almost anything. Time will tell if that turns out to be true. Until then, we have magic like this.

Jon Worley

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