Sunday, December 11, 2016

Friðrik Ómar-ELVIS (2010)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: December 11, 2016

The 'King Of Rock And Roll' rises once again! Celebrated legends on the same wavelength as Elvis Presley will never be forgotten over time; this next share of mine is even more proof to add to the endless case file. The moment I realized that Friðrik Ómar—who is fast becoming my favorite Icelandic pop star—released a collection of covers as a tribute to the late "Jailhouse Rock" idol, I had to have it! Not that I'm exactly too familiar with much of Elvis's musical accomplishments, but the cover-song lover in me is forever curious what a contemporary artist's take on golden oldies from the 'malt shop era' will be like. Indeed, the aforementioned "Jailhouse Rock" is one of the few Elvis Presley hits that readily rings a bell from just the title itself, even if I've only heard the actual song just a few times in my lifetime. Here on this "ELVIS" collection, Friðrik made that oh-yeah-I-know-that-one feeling rush back to me with his dazzling rockabilly interpretation. It's upbeat jams like that one, plus the similarly dancey, rockin' n' rollin' "Burning Love" and "Teddy Bear" ('just wanna be your teddy bear'—so simple, so sweet) that remind me of any number of those old movies where people are seen gettin' their groove on to the jukebox in their dancin' shoes. If I had a #1 all-time favorite Elvis song, it would have to be "Don't Be Cruel"; I cite the the down-to-earth truth laid out in the title lyrics delivered in the catchy chorus—' don't be cruel to a heart that's true ' as the reason. I must've been in grade school when I first heard the Elvis original (surely from watching one of those old movies from the 60's with my parents) and those exact words would just get stuck to me! Ended up playing Friðrik's 2+ minute rendition of it twice; it was the only way I'd get complete satisfaction with his terrific vocals leading the way! I'm often amazed at the number of popular classics I've heard over the years whose original performers remain a mystery until I hear the contemporary reworkings. "Can't Help Falling In Love": such a beautiful classic; I know the chords and the words to the chorus well. Remember the tender Corey Hart version from the 80's very well, and now I've become fond of Friðrik's equally charming version, his vocals taking a rather gentlemanly approach on singing title lyrics in chorus. But an Elvis song? Never knew that! Second case in point: "You've Lost That Loving Feeling". It's a timeless romantic classic that I've heard so many versions of; surely, the first was by THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS. One of those songs where the power and passion of the hook—despite the sad words of romantic feelings being lost—instantly captures the senses and moves the soul. And yes, I love hearing Friðrik perform this one as well! The Icelandic pop star impresses me further the pleasantly mellow "That's Alright Mama", "In The Ghetto", the familiar gospel-tinged number "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and the graceful offering "Love Me Tender", with the latter three concluding in epic grand fashion:

1. All Shook Up
2. Heartbreak Hotel
3. Don't Be Cruel
4. Can't Help Falling In Love (w. Björgvin Halld)
5. Return To Sender
6. Teddy Bear
7. That's Alright Mama
8. In The Ghetto
9. It's Now Or Never
10. Love Me Tender
11. Jailhouse Rock
12. You've Lost That Loving Feeling
13. Burning Love
14. Always On My Mind
15. Bridge Over Troubled Water
16. The Wonder Of You
17. Suspicious Minds
18. A Little Less Conversation

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