Tuesday, March 17, 2009

THE SHINING LIGHT AT THE END OF THE DARK ROAD


Annie Lennox is back where she belongs. This week, her current single, "Shining Light," one of two new songs on her new The Annie Lennox Collection compilation CD, jumps from 50 to 39 on the UK singles chart, becoming her first Top 40 solo hit there since 1995. It joins Leona Lewis's "Run," a recent UK chart-topping remake of Snow Patrol's first big hit (No. 5 in 2004), as a soulful cover of a rock band's track that improves on the source material. Unfortunately, the video is not yet available on YouTube in Argentina, so for now I'll have to do with various live performances on UK TV. Below check out videos of Annie singing her version on ITV This Morning and Ash's 2001 original, a No. 8 single, and see which one you prefer.

Five other excellent Annie Lennox covers (all from Medusa, her 1995 album of remakes):

  • "Something So Right" The story of my life. Anyone who's been singed by love and made reluctant to jump back into the water can no doubt relate. I never heard Paul Simon's original until long after Annie's version touched my soul, so for me, Annie will always own the song. My friend Nancy, who was visiting me in BA this weekend from L.A., said at lunch on Saturday afternoon that she couldn't imagine me ever crying. It's true: As an adult, I've rarely shed tears, but the first time I listened to this closing track on Medusa, I bawled like a baby.
  • "Don't Let It Bring You Down" A dreamy and dramatic production that's part dirge, part lullaby. I've always wondered what Neil Young thinks of it.
  • "Train In Vain" Annie brings the Clash to church. Not that the band's 1979 classic needed saving, but I think Annie improved on what was already a near flawless track. And yes, I realize that I'm going to get crucified for saying that.
  • "Waiting In Vain" A Bob Marley reggae jam reconstructed as a lilt-free torch song. Simply beautiful.
  • "Thin Line Between Love And Hate" Only in Annie's hands did this Persuaders classic, previously remade by the great Chrissie Hynde, finally reveal itself to me as a pitch-black murder ballad.

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