Various Artists, ‘Sweetheart 2014’ (Hear Music/Concord)
Created exclusively for Starbucks, “Sweetheart 2014” is a delightfully eclectic collection of classic love songs by such current artists as The Head and the Heart, Beck, Brandi Carlile, Ben Harper, Vampire Weekend, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings.
The 13-track album of all-new songs opens strongly with Jim James’ bluesy, romantic interpretation of Bob Marley’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low,” setting the tone for a collection of inspired interpretations of beloved tunes.
Each artist adds a personal touch to the wide-ranging selection of songs, from Phosphorescent’s raw, mournful interpretation of Dylan’s “Tomorrow Is a Long Time” to Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings’ robust version of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours.”
Carlile offers a powerful take on Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” while Vampire Weekend brings Andrea Bocelli’s soaring “Time to Say Goodbye (Con te partirò)” into the world of alternative rock.
Some of the album’s best songs are lovingly revived from the distant past, such as Valerie June’s plaintive version of the Carter Family’s Depression-era ballad, “Happy Or Lonesome”; and sisters Fiona Apple and Maude Maggart’s delightful, mandolin-laden take on the 1950 Anton Karas song “I’m in the Middle of a Riddle” (recorded way back when by Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae).
Available through digital music outlets or on CD at Starbucks stores, “Sweetheart 2014” is the fifth in a series of exclusive Valentine’s albums exploring the highs and lows of romantic love. With so many great songs in this collection, listeners may find it hard to pick a favorite.
Other new releases
Broken Bells, “After the Disco” (Columbia)
Pat Metheny, “Kin (<–>)” (Nonesuch)
Mary Lambert, “Welcome to the Age of My Body” (Capitol)