Over the years, there have been plenty cover songs and cover albums get released. However good or bad they’ve come out and few have been noteworthy. This is mostly because the music doesn’t translate or the songs aren’t played with the same emotional heft as the originals. Ty Segall might be one of the most prolific artists in modern music, and easily one of the best songwriters out there. His ability to release work at the pace he does alone is insane. For his latest release Segall Smeagol, he’s covering the 1971 Harry Nilsson album Nilsson Schmilisson as only he can. The results are magical to say the least.
Opening with the classic track “Coconut,” you realize that the songs won’t be in order nor will it be the whole album covered. However Segall makes the track his own. Using heavier drums as the opener while placing the vocals at the top of the mix immediately grabs your ears. It’s way better than the Fred Schneider version from twenty years ago in that he keeps the core idea while placing his own bizarro stamp on the track. In fact, that’s how the entire release sounds. While Nilsson went in a sing song manner for “Gotta Get Up,” Segall immediately brings tons of instrumentation to the song. While the original did the same, the instruments weren’t at the front nor were they this pronounced.
While Segall turns the Americanized sound of “Driving Along” into an electronica track, and he stirs things up on “The Moonbeam Song,” those aren’t the biggest gem here. His take on “Jump Into the Fire” strips away the almost Grand Funk Railroad tones of the original and makes it more into a a noise rock masterpiece. The arrangements and mixing here are noteworthy enough. However this reworked edition finds a way to add chaos while still somehow having just enough touches of the original to still sound like it did when Nilsson released it.
Segall Smeagol is available to stream all you want for FREE on Bandcamp.
Image Credits: Photo by Denee Segall.