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CD Review: No Matter Your Preference, New O.C. CD is Bad Choice

Terrible Rock Covers Make Me Want to Shatter the CD

By Sarah Dupuis
ASSOCIATE ARTS EDITOR

Music From the O.C.:

Mix 6, Covering Our Tracks

Produced by Alexandra Patsavas

Warner Bros.

Everyone’s got her own preference. To-may-to or to-mah-to? Ashlee or Jessica? Decaf or espresso? Winter or Spring? Questions and decisions like these plague everyday existence. But when faced with a choice between seventies English punk band The Sex Pistols and Lady Sovereign, a young white female rapper who also hails Britannia, I’d unflinchingly select the former, and I suspect most rational humans with any auditory ability would agree with me; Music from The O.C.: Mix 6, Covering Our Tracks was apparently produced by irrational humans. Irrationality (or perhaps temporary insanity) is the only reason anyone could have allowed Lady Sovereign to record such a hideous cover of the Sex Pistol’s “Pretty Vacant” and then put that same cover on a major-label studio release. Irresponsibility is the only reason I can cite for letting all of these terrible recordings come together on one offensively bad disc.

The new “album,” if that noun is even applicable, consists of covers of past O.C. soundtrack singles. I generally respect the show’s playlist and so when I saw the new mix’s track order I was hesitantly hopeful for a fun new addition to my music library. In my years of making mix tapes, I’ve learned that a well-done cover of a recognizable song can add personality to a playlist, but the key words are “well-done” and “recognizable.” Try an experiment: put together an entire collection split between poor versions of rock standards and indie covers of obscure and uninteresting songs. I guarantee you’ll come somewhat close to this new O.C. mix.

Covering Our Tracks opens with the umpteenth bad pop cover of Modest Mouse’s “Float On.” This version is performed by Goldspot, a Los Angeles band known for … wait a minute. Scratch that. Goldspot is known for nothing. They’ve made no positive or known contributions to the world of music other than playing a Modest Mouse cover on the O.C., and I’m not sure I’d describe that accomplishment as positive, either. This cover is the kind of song I’d expect to hear in a credit card commercial. Annoying. Bubbly. Shut up already!

Rock Kills Kid’s cover of Spoon’s “I Turn My Camera On” sounds like a groan-inducing dance remix. Pixies’ indie rock song “Debaser,” famous for inspiring Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” is covered on this album as well, but the cover excludes all of the raw shouts and catchy guitars that made the original tune grunge-inspiring. Tally Hall does an acceptable cover of The Killers’ “Smile Like You Mean It,” but I just can’t shake the feeling that covers of songs released in the past two years deserve to be performed exclusively in teen centers and local bars. First the O.C. killed off Mischa Barton, and now they’re promoting this crap extravaganza. Enough is enough. Shame on the show’s producers for reaching a new low.

“These are the happiest versions of some of the angstiest songs ever written,” said Josh Schwartz, creator of the O.C., about Covering Our Tracks. No offense intended to Schwartz — scratch that, offense very much intended — but sometimes angsty is just meant to stay angsty. I had a very hard time listening to this album all the way through, and as soon as it was done I immediately had to listen to the originals again to remind myself that they didn’t suck. Everyone has her own preference, but some preferences are just plain wrong. You buying this record would be just plain wrong. You’ve been warned.