Friday, January 20, 2012

The Peer Press on The Castros


The Castros

We sent our Peer Press their cover of Michal Jackson's "Billy Jean" from the EP,
The Tiny Airplane.

Give it a listen below while you read...

Michael Jackson, in death, left us on our own -- whether we choose to wander in the wilderness, or to build a culture atop his records so magnificent it transcends them. We've had a couple years to process the man's complex legacy. We've all loved, lost, and lived a little since then -- and we probably will continue to do so. I didn't like this performance when I first heard it. My initial thought was "wow, you could walk into any coffee shop in America and not wait too long before hearing a folky interpretation of something by Michael Jackson." But that first impression may not be true. Just like New York and Los Angeles became familiar with electric lights decades before the Tennessee Valley ever did -- the internet accelerates the percolation and texture of our culture to level the playing field. Ohio's not a backwater. The Castros are doing meaningful work to further a cultural conversation. The next time you find yourself in central Ohio you might walk into a coffee shop or other venue and hear The Castros. I hope you do. Because they know what Michael's values were -- to inspire everyone. And you never know where you might find it. Who are any of us to argue with that??

Released from the tyranny of Quincy Jones' timeless production, we can finally understand every word to Michael Jackson's testimonial from that paternity hearing.


What a beautiful rendition of Billie Jean.  Knowing the words and then listening to a song at a completely different pace in like playing a mind game.  Her voice is soothing and slightly haunting.  It would have been a welcome change to my ears if the song had been slowed down even more as there are parts when it sounds like she is trying to catch up to the instrumentals and to my ears it would have been that much more enchanting.  I actually had more fun listening to "Pumpkin Pie."  I am a sucker for original songs and a hoarder of the holiday Pumpkin Pie.
I agree with my peers on this one.  There is something that differentiates this from the "coffee house" crowd.  The haunting & beautiful voice, the simplicity of the music, and the sincere delivery shines a light on an amazing composition of a pop legend.  Well done.

For the size of his songbook, MJ has not been covered as often we would think.  A few keepers stand out: Chris Cornell, Fallout Boy, J-May.  It's tough to compete with a Chris Cornell acoustic powerhouse rendition of Billy Jean, and unfortunately, because of the arrangement, the Castros' version here does.  I say unfortunately because although I love the arrangement, the beautiful voice of the female lead, I don't believe a word she's saying.  Her delivery doesn't make me feel like she knows 'Billie Jean' this figure that was more 'like a beauty queen', or any of the other elements of the loose narrative of the song.  When Phil Collins cranks out 'Tonight's the Night' I don't have a single doubt in my mind that 'Tonight IS THE NIGHT'', and I hold on for the ride.  Make us believe it and I won't be losing interest half-way through this performance.  It's not a result of the arrangement - the recording is really well done.  It's in the attitude that this one lacks for me.

Please support The Castros and buy their EP, The Tiny Airplane Here.

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