One thing that bothers me about The Cardigans‘ discography is the way that the international version of “Life” messed up the album’s concept by cherry-picking songs from the proper Swedish version of the album, and their previous long-player “Emmerdale”. The two albums have quite distinct feels (actually, all six of their studio albums have quite distinct feels): “Emmerdale” is full of gentle-sounding but quite bleak songs with cellos and woodwind and that, while “Life” is a much more “up” album full of character-driven slice-of-life songs. But the international version of “Life” just throws together a mishmash of songs from both LPs, and though “Emmerdale” was later released internationally in its original configuration, “Life” never was. So now there are two albums out there with a bunch of tracks in common, which they shouldn’t have.
Anyway, this Canadian-only EP features the re-recorded version of “Rise & Shine” from the international “Life”, along with “In The Afternoon”, also on the international “Life” but from “Emmerdale” really, plus three slowed-down cover versions of songs by Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne. Alright individually, though a bit much back-to-back, and anyway their best effort in this vein is Sabbath’s “Iron Man” from “Emmerdale”. “Mr Crowley” does offer the chance to hear the group’s menfolk doing a cappella harmonies though.
Bafflingly, on Allmusic, it says that this EP contains a unique re-recording of “Rise & Shine”, though nobody else seems to think it does. It certainly sounds like the “Life” recording to me.
Link: The Cardigans – Under The Covers EP (password: salad)
1. Rise & Shine
2. The Boys Are Back In Town
3. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
4. Mr. Crowley
5. In The Afternoon
Sharing thirteen versions of this song, is definitely overkill. I had planned to share a three-track single and then got carried away and started gathering all the versions I have. I will highlight my favourites as we go along…
The song in question is “Tokyo Wa Yoru No Shichiji” (literally “7pm in Tokyo”, but known in English as “The Night Is Still Young”), a 1993 single which was the first major release by Japanese alt-dance oddments Pizzicato Five after they’d slimmed down to a duo of Maki Nomiya and Yasuharu Konishi. It’s one of their straighter club dance tracks, rather than one of their quirky “modern retro” things like “Twiggy Twiggy” or “Baby Love Child”. At this stage they were still unknown in the West but the single would eventually appear on Matador’s second P5 compilation, The Sound Of Music, where I first heard it. The original version is still a favourite…
Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (single version) – recommended pick!
The original single also featured an instrumental version (which I don’t have) and this mellower remix by Yukihiro Fukutomi:
Then in 1994, they revisited it in two very different versions. On the EP “A Television’s Workshop”, they did it in a more disco arrangement with rhythm guitar and strings. Nice! I suspect that if P5 themselves had to choose a definitive version, this might be the one. Probably the most immediately likeable version as well.
Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (MFSB Readymade Mix) – recommended pick!
The other 1994 version was this remix (by Fukutomi again) which appeared on their album Overdose:
In 1995, during a promotional tour for The Sound Of Music, the duo did this live acoustic version for KCRW Los Angeles.
Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (KCRW acoustic session) – recommended pick!
And when P5 finally split in 2001, their farewell compilation Pizzicato Five RIP (on their Japanese label Nippon Columbia, not Matador) featured yet another remix.
Since the split, both halves of the duo have revisited the song solo. Yasuharu was first, producing this 2006 version for his protege Karia Nomoto, aka Karly. “The First Cut” is the album version (the album being Dance Music, which I will share at some point), and is somewhere between the original and the Readymade MFSB arrangements:
Maki Nomiya waited a bit longer, and then put versions of “The Night Is Still Young” on four consecutive albums! The deluge started in 2012 when she marked 30 years in the business we call show by recording an album of “self covers”, including this:
I’m not sure that really adds anything to the previous versions. However, Nomiya’s more recent takes on the song, actually do something different with it. First is the swing arrangement on her 2014 live album Miss Maki Nomiya Sings Shibuya-kei Standards:
Link: Maki Nomiya – The Night Is Still Young (live) – recommended pick!
…which she also did a studio recording of for her 2015 album What The World Needs Now Is Love.
And her most recent re-invention of the song is this distinctively Japanese “bon odori” version, tacked on as a bonus track to her 2016 album Un Homme Et Une Femme. It’s a little bit cheesy, but an interesting twist all the same.
A little gem today from trumpet-enriched, chorus-shy poetic popsters Animals That Swim, a bit of a “critic’s band” much beloved of the music press back in the 90s, but who never really broke through. In fact, this was their biggest hit, and even this only reached #198. I don’t know how many copies you had to sell to reach number 198 back in 1995, but it can’t have been many. The irony is, technically a five-track EP should have been disqualified from the charts anyway…
This EP came out a little while after their debut LP Workshy, and features an un-sweary re-recording of one of the album’s best songs, “Pink Carnations”, alongside four new tracks. “Del Fresco” and “Kandy Kars” are two of Del Crabtree’s synth-and-trumpet instrumental interludes, and are basically filler, but the other songs “Harry Dean” and “New Boots” are absolute corkers.
Workshy was reissued recently, but with the single version of “Pink Carnations” replacing the original album version. I still prefer the album version, so I’m offering it as a bonus track here.
Link: Animals That Swim – Pink Carnations (single version)
Link: Animals That Swim – Kandy Kars
Link: Animals That Swim – New Boots
Link: Animals That Swim – Harry Dean
Link: Animals That Swim – Del Fresco
Link: Animals That Swim – Pink Carnations (album version) (bonus track)
The first is Kirsty MacColl‘s string-drenched version, a duet with Evan Dando and produced by Moz-pal Boz Boorer, initially appearing as one of the new tracks on her “best of” album Galore. It was released as the collection’s second single a few months later, to widespread and frankly understandable apathy. The real replay value here lies in the three MacColl originals it’s bundled with: “Tread Lightly” from the 1989 album Kite, and non-album singles “He’s On the Beach” (from 1983) and “Terry” (1985).
A week after Galore came out, Duran Duran released their version of “Perfect Day” as the lead single from their covers album Thank You. Lou Reed apparently called it “the best cover ever completed of one of my own songs”, though he may have been joking. It took a while to decide which of the two CD singles to put up here (because damn it, I’m not letting Duran Duran have more tracks than Kirsty MacColl), but the sheer weirdness of Duran Duran doing “911 Is A Joke” swung the decision in favour of CD1. In case you’re wondering who they’re covering on “Love Voodoo”, they’re not – it’s one of their own songs from The Wedding Album, in remixed form.