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Review: 'Graham J'
'Take On Me'   

-  Label: 'MREX'
-  Genre: 'Pop' -  Release Date: '8th February 2019'

Our Rating:
Graham J covers A-Ha as the second single from his forthcoming album ‘Songs My Disco Taught Me #SMD’. And so continues the debate on cover versions following my recent piece on Beauty in Chaos’ cover of ‘20th Century Boy’ with Ministry’s Al Jurgensen.

Graham apparently chose the song because, as a counter-tenor himself, finding an 80s classic also sung in a higher register made it an ‘obvious choice’. As with the covers that featured on his last album, ‘Wild Is…’, the delivery is simultaneously bold and sensitive and somewhat operatic.

Rendered as a simple piano ballad, Graham’s rendition is technically faultless. But again, do we really need it?

This fits into the bracket occupied by so many performances on ‘X Factor’ and ‘The Voice’ where judges and viewers alike are ‘wowed’ by the vocal talents of someone off the street that they perceive to be of a ‘professional’ standard. But why? Covers of well-known songs have a familiarity, so don’t challenge the audience, and while ‘making the song your own’ is usually simply a matter of substituting guitar for piano or synth, it rarely involves twisting the source material in a way that renders it radically different or unrecognisable. In other words, it’s safe. Pleasant, melodic… and safe.

This is super-safe. And for the mainstream middlebrow audiences, it’s perfect and clearly has mass appeal. But that’s where it ends.

  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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Graham J - Take On Me