The BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge has always held a special place in my heart from the early days with Jo Whiley to today’s sessions with Fearne Cotton, it has never failed to leave the listener in awe. Taking some of the most current and influential artists, from a range of genres, stripping them of the usual glitz and glamour production down to their bare essentials and letting the audience hear their raw and amazing talent first-hand.
So with such high expectations already set, the question before hitting the play button was – are my standards going to be met or will I be left disappointed? Well, I can say in all honesty BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge 2012 is as strong as ever and taken me on one hell of a musical journey.
Sticking to the true Live Lounge nature of taking artists out of their usual genre comfort zone and letting them experiment with other material or having them perform their own tunes in a unique live way. Either way we as listeners are given the opportunity to see, or in this case hear, some of our favourite artists in a new light.
Split over two CDs BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge 2012 has a lot to offer for all musical ears. Opening up CD 1 is Rita Ora with her cover of Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’. This seemed quite fitting as one the biggest stars to come out of the UK this year covering one of the most memorable songs from 2012. Rita certainly made the track her own whilst preserving its loveable flow and lyrics.
CD 1 certainly has some high points including Paloma Faith’s cover of Rudimental’s ‘Feel The Love’ one of the biggest UK number ones from this year is redefined by Paloma’s distinct voice. Both Ben Howard and Conor Maynard have individually taken pop songs and brought a new level of melodic depth to Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’ and Nicki Minaj’s ‘Starships’. The acoustic twist on each makes them both a more pleasant and easier listen.
Sticking to their original sounds Alex Clare with ‘Too Close’ and Jessie J with ‘Domino’ prove even live, they can both hold their notes and make an impact – reminding you exactly why 2012 has been their year.
However, with highs there do come some lows. Most likely selected to cater for pop fans, the Tulisa, JLS and Stooshe tracks were questionable choices, mostly because it drastically changes the tone, pace and listening experience of the compilation.
The confusion is short-lived, however, as CD 2 quickly brings you back to the cream of music in 2012. Mumford and Sons ‘I Will Wait’ quickly reminds you why the wait for their return was well worth it. The second CD as a whole is a selection of the best live lounges presented in a 19 track presentation.
Teaming three of the best UK artists; Ed Sheeran, Devlin and Labrinth to cover ‘No Church In The Wild’ the compilation goes from strength to strength. Surprisingly sweet sounding covers include ‘Foster The People’ with The Stroke’s ‘Machu Picchu’, ‘Florence and The Machine’ and their unique take on Drake’s ‘Take Care’ and Labrinth’s ‘Beautiful People’ originally by Chris Brown. The only sour note is ‘Dappy’ slightly destroying Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ but as it is followed by ‘The Maccabees’ beautiful rendition of The Black Keys ‘Lonely Boy’ it can be easily forgiven.
There is one particular track that truly stands out, ‘Plan B’ bringing a whole new meaning to Cheryl Cole’s ‘Say My Name’. For me this not only showcased Plan B’s talent but also why he is one of the best artists one the UK music scene right now. The ease at which he adapted what is a pop song and gave it more complexity with raw feelings and sounds, gave me the awe factor I associate with the most amazing live lounges.
The album is one musically influenced emotional roller-coaster that leaves you feeling positive about the music industry as a whole. Right now Radio 1 is bringing through the best talent and showcasing the depth of the artist’s abilities. The Live Lounge 2012 has summed up the shining stars of this year, albeit with some choices that you may question, but without a doubt there is something for everyone. The fact is I was nowhere near ready for this journey to be over, so I pressed repeat, with my finger ready to fast forward some parts.
You can pre-order it here: https://itunes.apple.com/album/bbc-radio-1s-live-lounge-2012/id569179880?ls=1
Written by Nikita Chauhan
Twitter ::: @TheNikitaC