Sunday, January 22, 2012


One of my favourite trends in recent years is the multi artist tribute album in honour of a specific album, often including the same track sequencing as the original LP.   There have been some great LP tribute compilations circulating on a number of sites, the most notable and prolific being on Stereogum.

Often there are a few missteps, but in general these compilations offer a chance to appreciate the totality of a classic album, filtered through the many artists who have been indelibly influenced or inspired by it.

In the age of digital abundance and quick access to music files the idea of a complete album may seem like an anachronism to many people. It is refreshing therefore to see artists paying homage to this form and perhaps inadvertently encouraging others to experience an album as a complete piece of art, with the songs being considered in relation to each other rather than in isolation.

As an added bonus many of these tribute comps are available as legitimately sanctioned and free downloads. This in my mind increases the significance of these; while there is certainly some promotional benefits for the artists and publications involved it also speaks to the pure joy of an artist sharing their personal love of a recording that shaped their own musical journey.

These tributes often work best when they have a more diverse range of artists and include a healthy balance between reinvention and stripped down simplicity. A degree of playfulness with the source material that enhances it's core elements is also welcomed as well. In my mind, a successful tribute comp will inspire me to delve back into the original album with a renewed sense of wonder.

A few recent offerings I have enjoyed lately are the Stereogum tribute to Radiohead's "OK Computer", and the Q Magazine tribute to U2's "Achtung Baby" (with the phonetically enhanced title "AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered").  I am also eager to get my hands on a tribute to New Order's classic album "Power, Corruption & Lies" once the latest issue of Mojo makes it's way across the pond (worth the cover price of the mag).

Have any tribute albums inspired your imagination? Most importantly, what classic album in your mind deserves a fitting tribute? Kudos to anyone inspired enough to name which artists they would like to see covering a specific track. Personally, I would love to hear Cat Power cover The Cure's "Disintegration" on the tribute LP of the same name.


Allison said...

I have missed this series on Stereogum! Thank-you for pointing it out. My first answer was going to be New Order. ;) Has anyone done a Talking Heads one?

Westcoast Walker said...

Talking Heads would be great! Have fun exploring the Stereogum series, quite a few gems there (the Bjork "Post" tribute is fun)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I guess a Pixies tribute album has been done, hasn't it?

I'd like to hear a Weakerthan's Left and Leaving tribute. Bry Webb would be a natural to cover Pamphleteer.