B-side of May What He Lived For Live
The A-side of this record, May What He Lived For Live, had been unexpectedly superb, a lament for President Kennedy which drew much of its power from the uncharacteristically tasteful and restrained approach taken to the song by Liz Lands.
Of course, it doesn’t take a lot to undo such magnificent work, and so for the B-side – not featured on the copies of May What He Lived For Live Motown sent to the White House and the DNC – we find this, which shows off everything bad about Liz Lands, taking the faults of her début We Shall Overcome and multiplying them by a factor of about a dozen.
A shrieking, warbling, directionless bossa nova cover of a song that was already teetering on the precipice of first-grade singalong territory, this is just about as bad as it gets.
All the requisite boxes are ticked – tacky new arrangment, complete abandonment of said arrangement by “operatic” vocalist instead using song as vehicle to show off vocal range, ear-splitting high notes in strange places, wanton and repeated use of the phrase itty bitty baby, shrill, staccato backing vocals, backing music that sounds like piped muzak from a convenience store circa 1979… it’s just not very good.
Even when it comes close to being vaguely affecting, either Liz or the backing musicians contrive to mess it up by throwing in some freeform noodling where it doesn’t belong, resulting in pockets of horrendous noise that make the rest of the record impossible to enjoy.
Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.
MOTOWN JUNKIES VERDICT
(I’ve had MY say, now it’s your turn. Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment, or click the thumbs at the bottom there. Dissent is encouraged!)
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“May What He Lived For Live”
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