Boomkat Product Review:
It's finally here, the Bonnie 'Prince' Billy covers record, or as it's become known, the record where our protagonist takes on R.Kelly's 'The World's Greatest'. He does too, and what's more he comes out relatively unscathed, something that's proven quite difficult to most alternative artists in the last few years. The novelty cover has been something of a fixture in the current musical climate, what with Jose Gonzalez going head-to-head with Kylie, The Nouvelle Vague attempting to 'lighten' just about anything and Susanna Wallumrod taking on Kiss (among others) but you should know that with Will Oldham you're in safe hands. The man just has the ability to transform almost anything into a heartbreaking folk standard, and that means that even if he's singing lyrics like "I'm that star up in the sky/I'm that moutain peak up high/Hey, I made it/I'm the world´s greatest" it becomes melancholy rather than the bravado-fuelled masculine boast-fest it originally was intended to be. The most striking song for me however was the song I felt Oldham would have most trouble with, Bjork's 'I've Seen it All' from her Dancer in the Dark score. The song which was co-written by Lars Von Trier is a summation of the movie in a way, a point where everything falls together and is in this both touching and incredibly sad, but Oldham captures this perfectly without ever trying to mirror or imitate what Bjork managed in the original. And this is probably his biggest success, when he takes on Sinatra on 'Cycles' there's never a sense that Oldham is trying to out-sing the great crooner, far from it, rather Oldham is putting his fingerprint on a song he loves and in that we get an indispensable collection from an incredibly important artist of our time. This is a personal selection of secluded moments, hell even Glen Danzig is taken to another level. Maybe Will Oldham is the world's greatest after all?