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Rhythm & Views

Various Artists


The last time I played video games, they inspired novelty songs like "Pac Man Fever," but, here we are in the 21st century, where games apparently warrant full-on soundtrack albums, like this one.

The theme here--the musical one, anyway--is to get modern indie-rockers to cover well-known songs that have been radio staples since the '50s and early '60s.

Ben Kweller's youthful exuberance translates well to a faithful version of "Lollipop," which is followed by The Raveonettes' "My Boyfriend's Back," the template of which they've pretty much based their entire career around. Death Cab for Cutie turn in a nifty, reverb-drenched "Earth Angel," while Cake treats "Strangers in the Night" to their usual camp sincerity.

The real highlights, though, are Rogue Wave's slight reimagining of Buddy Holly's "Everyday," which in its own cascading way is as pastoral as a Nick Drake song, and The Walkmen's take on "There Goes My Baby," which is all sloppy, dirty soul--the only way to really do it justice after The Drifters got hold of it.

Points are subtracted for (surprise!) The Dandy Warhols' destruction of the Everly Brothers masterpiece "All I Have to Do Is Dream," and The Flaming Lips' piss-take of "If I Only Had a Dream.

Other anomalies include Rose Hill Drive's (who?) "Shakin' All Over," which sounds distinctly out of place as the lone garage-rock track among the mostly love songs, and Phantom Planet's composed-just-for-this-soundtrack "The Living Dead," which is the only original song here, and should have been skipped entirely. Quibbles aside, though, the bulk of the covers make this a worthwhile listen.

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