It’s a few years since I’ve commented much at Popular, partly because Tom’s reviewing slowed down once he reached 2002. I broke my silence in January, not with a redundant comment about the greatness of “Freak Like Me” (I was away when that came up, and missed the boat), but with a defence of an Elvis/electronica hybrid...
Lumbering commercialized zombie it may be, but Junkie XL (to give him his full pseudonym) brings something new to the original—which was fine, but hardly one of Elvis’s best-known songs prior to 2002. This version brought a good tune to my attention, and to millions of others’ who hadn’t seen Ocean’s Eleven, and dressed it in the happier noises of the era, a welcome contrast with some of the more morose alternative sounds I was listening to in the early 2000s.
I had no problem then, or now, with hijacking old unknown songs for an electronic/big-beat makeover, having enjoyed countless lounge/electronica hybrids released in the late 1990s by EMI/Capitol as it rode that wave. There was a whole album of Shirley Bassey makeovers in this vein, after the Propellerheads snagged her for “History Repeating”. Releasing “A Little Less Conversation” in 2002 was a little late to the party, but in the absence of a second Propellerheads album, it was something. And number one in 24 countries is some something. It’s a 7 from me.
As for Junkie XL, this is the ideal place (indeed, the only relevant place) to mention his long involvement with movies, culminating in the score for the awesome Mad Max: Fury Road—which is amazing in the context of the film, but admittedly a bit of a slog on the home stereo. A little less orchestration, a little more action.