Album: Sound of Superman
Label: Rhino Records
Purchase: Smart Punk
Release Date: June 13, 2006
A tribute album that’s not aimed at a band that just broke the mainstream radio? Plus one point.
A novelty album paying homage to one of comics’ greatest icons? Plus one point.
An album full of subpar songs by usually above average bands? Minus two points.
That leaves us with nothing, really.
The concept of this album was simple: A nice little marketing tie-in for the summer’s biggest blockbuster(because it will be) that capitalizes on some of the best talent in the “scene” today. Throw in a couple of unknowns and what could go wrong, right? Unfortunately, plenty could go wrong.
We’re victim to some bland tracks such as an REM cover from theAcademyIs… that leads us to believe William Beckett is bored in the booth. He tries to put the emotion usually found in his vocals into the song, but I’m not buying it. An original from American Hi-Fi(remember them?) tries to act like it wasn’t written to receive radio play. Nightmare of You’s cover of The Flaming Lips’ “Waitin’ For a Superman,” despite the Lips’ greatness, seems like a step behind for the band.
A couple of middle men step in to help the album gain some redeeming qualities. Paramore’s cover of The Foo Fighters’ “My Hero” is a decent track. Paramore in acoustic mode usually tugs at a few heartstrings, but Hayley’s voice is capable of so much more than what’s delivered. Jack Mannequin’s “Meet Me At My Window” suffers from some production flaws, such as the unnecessary vocorder on some of the chorus vocals.
Then we have the better songs of the album. “The Worst Part,” a new original by Motion City Soundtrack, is probably my favorite, as I can see this song being on a new album rather than a Superman tribute. The band’s signature sound is found to be maturing, and Justin’s vocals are gorgeous as usual. Some decent rockers from Plain White T’s and Maxeen try to help save this album as well. The Receiving End of Sirens round off our list with a cover of Stereophonics’ “Superman.” It’s what you’ve come to expect from this band, with the build up to a heavy, destructive climax while retaining a spacey feel throughout.
Also included are some groups I’ve never heard of before, and probably won’t check out again. The Sun, The Films, and Royal really did nothing for me at all. The Sun fails horribly at sounding like a blend of Bloc Party and Death From Above 1979. There are too many bands trying to sound retro right now, and The Films don’t do anything to help make that group any better. I’ve never heard the original “Brainiac’s Daughter” by The Dukes of the Stratosphear, and Royal’s cover doesn’t give me the desire to. There is a track from Sarah Routh, the sister of the new Superman, Brandon Routh. This track is actually good, but the fact her style is that of a contemporary adult female artist will probably turn off the kids that this disc is obviously being aimed at.
More misses than hits, this album isn’t worth it as a whole package, but you can check out previews all over the internet if you hunt hard enough. See what you like, and if you can find those individual tracks on iTunes, pick them up there.
1. The Academy IsÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã‚¦ Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”SupermanÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? (The Clique/R.E.M. cover)
2. Plain White TÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s So EasyÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? (original)
3. The Sun Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”(Wish I Could Fly Like) SupermanÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? (The Kinks cover)
4. Motion City Soundtrack Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”The Worst PartÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã‚¦Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? (original)
5. The Films Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”Sunshine SupermanÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? (Donovan cover)
6. Maxeen Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”Save MeÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? (original)
7. Paramore Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”My HeroÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? (Foo Fighters cover)
8. American Hi-Fi Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”The RescueÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? (original)
9. The Spill Canvas Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”SavedÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? (original)
10. JackÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s Mannequin Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”Meet Me At My WindowÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? (original)
11. Nightmare Of You Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”WaitinÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢ For A SupermanÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? (The Flaming Lips cover)
12. The Receiving End Of Sirens Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”SupermanÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? (Stereophonics cover)
13. Royal Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”BrainiacÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s DaughterÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? (Dukes of Stratosphear cover)
14. Sara Routh Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”YouÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re Never GoneÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? (original)