Thursday, May 7, 2009

Everybody Out of My Box

Has anybody had a more uneasy slumber than Nat King Cole? First his daughter's regularly climbing into the coffin to sing a post-passing duet with him, and with Capitol Records' recent Re:Generations, another 20 or so artists join him in the box. Naturally, Natalie's there with the banal to produce a banal version of "Straighten Up and Fly Right," but the news is that much of this is entertaining and riffs on his image. Cee-Lo Green's remix of "Lush Life" affectionately situates Cole's urbanity in a contemporary context, while Salaam Remi's remix of "The Game of Love" suggests his notion of suave style is a bit corny. In the Just Blaze remix of "Pick-Up," now vs. then is the explicit theme as girls who would have loved Cole in his day find him and his pick-up lines laughable today (and in the song's only false note, they go with him anyway). When that theme is less prominent, Re:Generations presents compensatory charms such as a duet with Bebel Gilberto or a version of "Nature Boy" remade in TV on the Radio's own image. If we're going to make the dead croak out one more song, doing so this smartly makes it more palatable.

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