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Emil Bulls - Mixtape

Emil Bulls
Mixtape
by Jack Lynch at 25 June 2019, 2:46 AM

EMIL BULLS are no strangers to the music industry having been grinding away at their sound since their formation in 1995. Their newest release Mixtape is a collection of covers from various artists from different decades. The band has been down this road before having found success in 2001 by covering “Take on Me” by A-HA, perhaps the most covered song in contemporary modern mainstream music. While I enjoyed their rendition more than the most current WEEZER release, it still doesn’t touch the trumpet riddled ska execution of REEL BIG FISH from the mid-nineties. I know I might be striking a few chords with some readers of this review, especially if any of them skated as teenagers. But what made the RBF version of the song great was that it was familiar yet felt completely new. Hence what any band should do when tackling a cover song; make it their own. This was something I was hoping to see with Mixtape, but frustratingly did not.

Mixtape is comprised of 14 tracks ranging from current hit pop makers like ED SHEERAN, BRUNO MARS, and THE WEEKEND to slightly older rock jams from STARSHIP and BILLY IDOL. The lineup, while somewhat diverse, plays mostly to a handful of top radio hits we’ve all heard a million times. There is a cover of “Every You and Every Me” from PLACEBO, which is a nice colorful addition to the list, but for the most part there are no surprises. Musically, each song on the album is approached almost the same exact way, with EMIL BULLS’ alternative hard rock style and vocals that are drowning in an obnoxious amount of autotune.  The whole production does very little to highlight anything significant about the band and even more so the songs they are covering. Not to sound harsh, but I found much of it hard to listen to. This doesn’t stem from my lack of interest in the songs they picked, so much as they didn’t use their artistic ability to mold the songs into anything that made me feel any different from the original versions. It all comes off sounding kind of gimmicky. What I felt like I got was a straightforward group of singles I could easily take or leave and be completely satisfied with if I never heard again.

Now I know this is all coming off kind of harsh, but you must understand, we as a society are constantly bombarded by entertainment that is one remake or do-over after another. Some are good and some not. The pieces of entertainment that rise to the top tend to be the ones that can capture the spirit of the original yet standalone as a defined work. Perfect example? There are still people out there that think JOHNNY CASH wrote “Hurt”. Now I understand that may not have been the vision with this album. Perhaps it was nothing more than a fun project in-between a more serious album cycle. Maybe it was nothing more than a plan to pass the time, make a quick buck off the established material, and bring in new fans. If that is the case, then I’m going overboard. But I truly feel that in order to enjoy this album you must either be a diehard fan of EMIL BULLS, or really want to spend your money on a random playlist of singles, devoid of anything exciting or original.

Songwriting: 3
Originality: 3
Memorability: 3
Production: 4

1 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Survivor
2. Tell It To My Heart
3. Mr. Brightside
4. Grenade
5. River
6. Rebel Yell
7. Jesus He Knows Me
8. You Should See Me In A Crown
9. Jungle Drum
10. The Hills
11. We Built This City
12. Where Is My Mind
13. Every You Every Me
14. Kids
 
Lineup:
Christoph von Freydorf – Vocals
Stephan Karl – Guitar
Andy Bock – Guitar
James Richardson – Bass
Fabian Füß – Drums
Record Label: AFM Records
     


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Edited 18 July 2019
 

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