BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge is a bit of an institution these days. The radio show sees Clara Amfo introducing artists into the studio to perform cover versions of their favourite charts hits or live renditions of their own hits. The 2015 compilation release features 39 songs spread across 2 discs with the brightest stars of the music world performing them.
The compilation kicks off with Ed Sheeran tackling Hozier’s worldwide hit Take Me to Church putting his own soulful take on the song. It’s a great way to start the album with Ed being one of the biggest stars in the world right now and he sounds fantastic. Across the first disc of the collection Little Mix perform their number 1 smash Black Magic, Nick Jonas wraps his silky vocals around Years & Years’ number one King, and Jungle do a rowdy version of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ global hit Uptown Funk.
The second disc leans more towards indie and alt bands rather than the pop of the first disc. Highlights on the disc include Hozier’s soulful and gritty take on Sam Smith’s Lay Me Down, The Vaccines unusual take on Omi’s Cheerleader, and Imagine Dragons’ mash-up of Taylor Swift’s Blank Space and Ben E. King’s Stand By Me.
As always with Live Lounge releases there’s a real mix in terms of standard. Florence + The Machine fail to impress with a live version of their own song Ship to Wreck, James Bay’s take on Rihanna, Kanye West and Sir Paul McCartney’s FourFiveSeconds doesn’t really add anything to the original, and Lucy Rose’s tentative Bad Blood sounds a little weak compared to other tracks included here.
If the Top 40 is what you’re into then you’ll likely find plenty to enjoy on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge 2015. If you prefer your music away from the mainstream then you’ll likely struggle to find much worth getting excited about. We’d say there was about a 50/50 split on here in terms of impressive performances and underwhelming ones.