The great thing about unexpected Summer pop hits is that, like piping hot fast food, they are deliciously bad for you. You know there's no substance to them, and that they'll soon begin to bore you if you have too much of either of them, but at the time it doesn't matter. You also know that, just like day old Steers burgers, old pop hits belong in only one place - the bin.
Sadly record companies can rarely resist the urge to resurrect these once great earners and squeeze the last few drops of profit out of them. What could be worse than fishing these hits out of the bin, brushing off the coffee grounds and eggs shells, and serving them up to us again? How about "jazzing" them up with some "funky" new cover versions? That'll make 'em sell, for sure!
Born out of this brilliant idea we have "Under Cover" - a nauseating mess of recycled hits, all remixed with the sort of amateurish backing beats you would expect to hear at a school disco. "Under Cover" is the cheap polony of popular music - a motley collection of musical snouts and hooves that have been indiscriminately blended together into a uniform pink mess and their taste disguised with MSG.
The really sad thing about "Under Cover" is that it has a handful of what were once great songs. But tracks like the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" and Robert Miles' "Children" have been minced up with the rest of the slop and their fine points drowned out by clumsy techno beats.
Tracks that haven't been tampered with are, unsurprisingly, the only ones worth listening to. DJ Sammy's "California Dreaming" may be dreadfully cheesy, but at least it's catchy and professionally produced. The Boogie Pimps psychedelic remix of the Jefferson Airplane hit "Somebody to Love" is the shining star of this dungheap.
As for the rest of the tracks, I doubt even the most ardent fans will be able to muster enthusiasm for the mutilated remains of "classics" like "Dee-O", "Build Me Up Buttercup" and "Video Killed the Radio Star". It's hard to believe that the producers weren't actually trying the ruin these once catchy songs.
Disposable pop hits have their place - we all enjoy some of them, even the snobs who pretend they don't. But what should never have a place in any realm of music is lazy, greedy, slapdash rubbish like "Under Cover". Please don't buy this CD - you'll only encourage them to make more.
- Alistair Fairweather
Hear the horror yourself! Check out selected clips fromt the CD in the box on the Left Hand Side
WHAT OTHER CRITICS THOUGHT
"The (un)originally titled 'Undercover' is a collection of familiar pop songs given dance treatment. The results are decidedly hit and miss."- Sparky for Shisa! Entertainmnet
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