Why bands release full-length cover albums is beyond mysterious. You’d think something would have been learned from the enormous failure that was The Spaghetti Incident. What does a band hope to achieve? Do they think that something will stick if they throw a bunch of shit out there? And it’s so rare that covers actually exceed the original, and only a couple of examples come to mind: Joe Cocker’s version of The Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends,” Stone Sour’s cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game,” Jeff Buckley’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” Hendrix doing Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” anddoing Diamond Head’s “Am I Evil?” OK, so the list could go on, but the point is that few bands are good enough to pull off a complete album of covers.
Usually it’s best if a band tries to make a song their own, but that can go two ways: it can, even if it’s a bit pretentious or it can suck because it is pretentious – or it just flat out sucks. Then again (I know it’s a bit wishy-washy here), straight up covers can work because the band can actually express the sentiments of the song (vocally and musically) or they can flop because, again, they suck.
The relatively unknown – scratch that – the unknown Vains of Jenna have done just what’s been criticized here; this little sleaze metal outfit from Sweden released an album of covers, Reverse Tripped, on April 5th. It’s not necessarily that the band sounds bad, but they are highly produced and bar-band caliber at best. Aren’t sleaze metal bands supposed to sound like they want to dominate an arena? Even as produced as this album is, Vains of Jenna will never compare to the explosiveness of such sleaze greats as G ‘N’ R or Motley Crue – hell, Warrant had more fire in their pinky fingers.
It makes no sense that Vains of Jenna have released an album of covers; they should be hungry enough to write, rock out on, and promote their own shit, not paying homage to their influences for a career that hasn’t happened yet. That’s like building a case against a country for having weapons of mass destruction after you’ve invaded it.
The bulk of Vains of Jenna’s Reverse Tripped includes songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s (highlights include “Mississippi Queen,” “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Sound of Silence” and the really low lights include “Smoke on the Water,” “Get Back,” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” There is a pretty cool Southern Louisiana-sounding version of the island-inspired ‘80s hit “Electric Avenue.” But, what really sinks this ship is the piggybacking attempt with Cee Lo’s hit, “Fuck You.” And what’s with the little slip into Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May”? Vains of Jenna even went so far as to include a radio edit version.
Vains of Jenna – Fuck You
Some of these songs could have served well on an album compiled of mostly original material, but Vains of Jenna chose to waste some pretty decent filler. There’s nothing wrong with covers; David Lee Roth once said something along the lines that: if covers are good enough for The Beatles, then they’re good enough for Van Halen. But I don’t think the majority of us want an entire album of ‘em.
- Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
- Vains of Jenna
- Reverse Tripped
- Year Released:
- 5 April 2011
- Deadline Cleopatra Records
- Sleaze Metal
- Official URL:
- Vains of Jenna