An album comprised entirely of covers is a tricky thing. Sometimes it can work extremely well, like with David Bowie’s Pin Ups, John Lennon’s Rock ‘n’ Roll and Def Leppard’s overlooked 2006 offering Yeah! And then sometimes, rather most of the time, they can fall quite flat, such as Duran Duran’s severely misguided Thank You from 1995, Rod Stewart’s recent Still the Same and Guns N’ Roses’ The Spaghetti Incident? (which now litters the bargain bins of used CD stores worldwide).
Jann Arden’s attempt is somewhat closer to the likes of Pin Ups and Rock ‘n’ Roll, a loving tribute to music she loved growing up. And that’s what makes an album like this work. One can hear how much Arden loves these songs while she’s singing; a listen to “Downtown” can attest to that.
Uncover Me presents some of pop’s surefire classics, with the likes of Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man”, The Mama’s and the Papa’s “California Dreamin’” and the aforementioned “Downtown” originally by Petula Clark. Arden manages to put her own spin on these classics, without tarnishing the integrity of the originals; the production and sound has been updated, but the song is essentially the same.
The most radical departure of all the tracks is her interpretation of Pat Benetar’s “Love is a Battlefield”. Arden and her production team strip the slick production of the original, and slow the tempo slightly to give the track a darker and moodier feel. It’s easily a highlight. “Counterfeit Heart” is another standout, the only original to appear on the record, it’s a short and sweet song that compliments the rest of the set.
At ten tracks, the album is a little light on content, and the fact that most of these songs are staples in pop culture, Uncover Me is not an album likely to make a lasting impression in the artist’s catalogue, but it is certainly a fun and interesting look into Jann Arden’s influences.