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Uncover Me

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Album Review

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden's star has dimmed in the United States since her Lilith Fair era heyday; like her cohorts Lisa Loeb and Jewel, she's even taken to reality television hosting gigs to help pay the bills, and 2007's Uncover Me was only released in her native Canada. That's a shame, because as all-covers records go, this is a fine example of the form. Some of Arden's song choices are perhaps a bit obvious — the Mamas & the Papas' "California" Dreamin'," Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man," and Cat Stevens' "Peace Train" were not calling for new interpretations — but throughout the album, she resists the twin urges that doom this kind of project, neither slavishly imitating the originals nor going for bizarre, forced re-interpretations that go so far out of their way not to sound like the familiar tunes that she might as well have simply written new songs. Instead, she merely approaches all ten songs as if they were new Jann Arden originals, delivered in her uncomplicated, conversational vocal style over glossy but not sterile or overfilled arrangements. There are some truly inspired song choices in the realm of familiar songs that one wouldn't expect to show up on this sort of disc, such as a kicky take on Petula Clark's "Downtown" that retains the hint of melancholy that underscores the original, a downright spooky version of Janis Ian's "At Seventeen," and a sneering version of Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" that sounds more like a lost Liz Phair track. The most inspired covers, however, are the bracing "Bring the Boys Home," Freda Payne's anti-Vietnam powerhouse that's sadly all too relevant during the Iraq war, and an inspired reworking of Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield" that strips all the cheese out of the original (including that hysterically campy video) and transforms it into a tense, haunted meditation on a toxic love affair. It's songs like those that make covers albums worthwhile, and Uncover Me, for its faults, is overall quite satisfying.

Customer Reviews


she knows it's a cover album. doesn't try to reinvent the wheel, just does her thing and treats the songs well. it's clear she respects and loves every single one. (just as i would if i released a jann arden cover album!) the cover of "california dreamin'" couldn't be better timed, with the passing of denny doherty a few weeks ago... i especially love her treatment of "love is a battlefield" i think it fits the lyrics in an entirely different - yet amazing - way than pat benatar's harder, rocker-chick singing. and "at seventeen" is probably one of the songs i would have picked for jann to cover. "hanging by a thread" got me through a lot, and i don't think i will ever understand how jann is at her musical best when she is singing about sad things - she is so funny live!! speaking of which... see you on april 21st!!! i can't wait!!!

Songs That I Used To Sing In My Basement Too!

Wow! I love the choice of cover songs for this album. Jann's very distinct voice is a perfect match to such wonderfully powerful lyrics. Highly enjoyable to listen to not to mention nostalgic... takes me back to a better place and time. Jann, you look fabulous too!

uncover me is the best

Jann I think this is the best work you have done I love it! I love "bring the boys home" I've been listening to all of your tunes on Myspace and they all rock! thanks Jann for the great music. - Ashley


Born: March 27, 1962 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Canadian singer/songwriter Jann Arden was born Jann Arden Richards in Calgary, Alberta in 1962. Two of her biggest musical influences during her childhood were John Denver and Karen Carpenter. Arden didn't have abundant dreams of stardom back then, but she did love music and began writing her own songs when she was only 13. At 17 she recorded a debut single, "Never Love a Sailor," released in 1980 under the name Jann Richards. After the single, she spent years performing at numerous clubs and festivals....
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