It’s often an ambitious idea to release an entire album of covers. It can work if an artist adds their own spin to the material (e.g. Johnny Cash’s American Recordings), but that’s not always the case. Artists try to give a faithful rendition of each song, but this fails because there’s a reason the original artists played the songs the way they did, and you can’t mimic that. Singer/songwriter Lissie’s EP, Covered Up With Flowers, unfortunately doesn’t work and is a pockmark on an otherwise solid start to her career.
Originally put together in 2009, the EP features covers that would have been relevant and topical had they been released in that year. Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” is a shining spot on the album. A live staple, Lissie’s version of the tune is energetic and solid. The live recording here, cheerily, starts with Lissie laughing with the crowd as she says, “I think I’m gonna take a shot of tequila before I do it.”
Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”—the “Hallelujah” of our time in terms of covers—gets a shot as well, and her take on the guitar and drums, while not electronic, sticks fairly close to the original and doesn’t make it much better (perhaps pushing it further into obnoxious). Add that to a stomach-turning cover of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”, and your ears should thank you that there are only five songs on this EP.
Lissie has a bright future in her own work and should find her way into plenty of record collections. But like that bowl cut you used to have, you might want to erase any evidence of this one from the archive.
Essential Tracks: “Pursuit of Happiness”, “Games People Play”