This Bird Has Flown: A 40th Anniversary Tribute to The Beatles Rubber Soul

This Bird Has Flown: A 40th Anniversary Tribute
to The Beatles' Rubber Soul

(Razor & Tie)

First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2005, Volume 12, #10

Written by John Metzger


Itís an impossible task to try to top what The Beatles did with its songs. Fortunately, itís just as difficult to ruin them completely, especially considering that the bandís compositions are such perfect slices of pop music that they put forth an invitation that most artists simply canít ignore. In honor of the 40th anniversary of Rubber Soul, This Bird Has Flown assembles a diverse line-up in order to recreate in its entirety what is arguably The Beatlesí finest effort. For the record, all of the albumís 14 tracks are remarkably well-played, though it certainly isnít surprising that most of those who were involved in the project took a conservative approach and add merely minor twists to The Beatlesí familiar renditions. For example, Yonder Mountain String Band applied its bluegrass-y style to Think for Yourselfís elastic groove; Dar Williams lent a slight country flavor to You Wonít See Me; and The Donnas' propelled Drive My Car with its no-frills, punk-pop oomph. However, the real fun happens when the material is dramatically reinvented: Ben Harper slips the soulful strains of Michelle into a sensuous reggae groove; Nellie McKay mutates If I Needed Someone into a breezy blast of Brazilian jazz; The Fiery Furnaces submerges Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) within a kaleidoscopic swirl of keyboards; Cowboy Junkies transforms Run for Your Life into a murderous threat; and newly coronated criticsí darling Sufjan Stevens takes the biggest risk of all by bending What Goes On into an odd concoction that blends the majesty of The Moody Blues with the blues-baked, garage-y grooves of The Kinks as well as the prog-rock of Jethro Tull. Not all of the experimentation works, of course, but it does make This Bird Has Flown more intriguing than most tribute-style compilations. starstarstar

This Bird Has Flown: A 40th Anniversary Tribute to The Beatles' Rubber Soul
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2005 The Music Box