Release Date: Oct 28, 2008
Record label: One Little Indian
Genre(s): Rock, Pop, Alternative
Other highlights include a U2-esque guitar workout on the Lords of the New Church's "Russian Roulette," a less campy and droll version of Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side," and a tender but rocking read of Neil Young's "Looking for a Love. " There are some compelling surprises on the set as well, including a reverent and deeply moving version of Tim Hardin's "Lady from Baltimore" and a barfly with a smile's nocturnal take on Elton John's "Harmony. " Add to these a modern yet taut version of Jim Croce's "Operator" and a drum machine and distorted guitar-driven "Hungry Heart" (yes, the Bruce Springsteen hit).
Rock stars love mixtapes too. They’re just like us! Except, rather than futzing around with iTunes for an hour to create the perfect self-expression through someone else’s songs, musicians book studio time, commit a dozen or so cover tunes to tape and share them with the world. Or sometimes, they do so just to fulfill the terms of a recording contract.
Let me say one thing at the outset: if not for the fact that my words would be disregarded as knee-jerk and intentionally reactionary, I would have no qualms giving On Your Sleeve, the latest album by Brooklyn-based 'folk-rock troubadour' type Jesse Malin, a nice round zero. It is without question one of the most infuriatingly bland albums released this year; a covers album reworking songs from such luminaries as The Rolling Stones, The Kills and Harry Nilsson ('Everybody's Talking', click for the original) into identikit pieces even more soulless and middle-of-the-road than the originals. But the main problem isn't necessarily just Jesse's tendency to make every song sound near enough exactly like the ones preceding and following it, but the incessantly grating nature of his voice, which goes between Jon Bon Jovi tribute posturing on 'Russian Roulette' and overstated mouth full of oranges crooning on Lou Reed's 'Walk On The Wild Side'.