I Would Rather Not . . .
Katy Goodman, veteran of Vivian Girls and La Sera, and classically-trained singer-songwriter Greta Morgan have come together to create Take it, It’s Yours, an album comprised completely of acoustic covers of classic rock, alternative rock and punk tracks from groups like Bad Brains, the Misfits and the Stooges. Stripping these hallmark tracks of their driving bass, spastic percussion and squealing electric guitar and reducing them to their acoustic skeleton is an interesting enough concept on paper, but Take it, It’s Yours turns out to be little more than a playlist of mediocre covers on a contrived YouTube channel.
This is not to say that Goodman and Morgan are not amazing and talented musicians. No matter what lyrics these ladies are singing, their voices are soothing, angelic, and downright mesmerizing. The beauty of their voices, however, just cannot capture the angst and dirty squeals that were meant to accompany these classic punk jams. In fact, even if you were to have listened to the original tracks just an hour before hand, it would be difficult to distinguish that these covers are the same tracks. Of course, Goodman and Morgan set out to reinvent these tracks, but the extent to which they adapted these tracks is kind of like claiming to reinvent the hamburger but serving a bowl of vanilla ice cream. It’s not that vanilla ice cream isn’t great, it’s just that you promised a hamburger.
Lyrics like Bad Brains’ “Pay to Cum,” “And so it’s now we choose to fight/ To stick up for our bloody right” simply do not translate well to acoustic guitar and tambourine hits. Moreover, the Replacements’ “Bastards of Young,” “Dreams unfulfilled, graduate unskilled/ It beats pickin’ cotton and waitin’ to be forgotten” just feels wrong accompanied by whole notes on the electric guitar and soft, jazzy percussion played with brushes. The fact that these are essentially the two styles of accompaniment in this album does not help to make each track seem like a unique cover, but rather another step on a staircase leading nowhere.
This cover album simply if not as good as you would expect coming from veterans like Goodman and Morgan. If you love any of the tracks covered on this album, just stick with the originals. Though don’t be deterred from checking out Goodman and Morgan’s other work – their original work is where they really shine.