"Down The Tracks" is a new feature I'm introducing to the blog. I like many more things than just Bruce Springsteen and would like to make this blog just a tad more eclectic. So in "Down The Tracks" I will review items that I think Springsteen fans might enjoy or are related to Springsteen. I promise I will try not to stretch the relationship too much.
Jesse Malin is very much linked to Springsteen. The Boss clearly has a weak spot for this, not so young anymore, New York City singer song writer with Punk and Glam sensibilities. Malin shared the stage with the Boss quite a few times and he was gracious enough to feature in Malin's "Broken Radio", one of 2007's better single releases. Malin has been struggling to get his career floating for quite a while now. The Ryan Adams produced "The Fine Art Of Self Destruction" got him a lot of press and gave him a pretty solid core audience that is quite taken with him. To me Malin has always been a mystery. A very solid and exiting live performer with a nasal tone to his voice that rubs me the wrong way after a while. I enjoy his records as long as I take them in controlled doses. "On Your Sleeve" is his latest release, a cover album. A sympathetic effort with mixed results. I've got to hand it to Malin, he doesn't go for the obvious picks. Aside from the infectious "Me & Julio Down By The School Yard", big and well known hits are few on this album. Cover albums are a rarity these days anyways and I applaud Malin for trying. The result however is not much more than entertaining. There are a few songs that come of rather nicely, but the album steers off the track just as many times. Malin's take on "Walk On The Wild Side" for example misses the perverse sexuality of Lou Reed's original and Tom Waits' "I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You" proves that being a fan doesn't always make you the right person to cover a song. Malin's wheezing and nasal voice just gets on my nerve too much in both. Neil Young's "Looking For A Love" or Harry Nilsson's "Everybody's Talkin'" are quite enjoyable. Maybe because Malin shares his nasal undertones with Young and wheezing always tends to work quite well in Country songs.
Me & Julio Down By The School Yard
3 out of 5