Album Review: Karen Elson – Radio Redhead, Vol. 1

Album Review: Karen Elson - Radio Redhead, Vol.  1

Until we meet again

Forward Radio Redhead, Vol. 1, singer and songwriter Karen Elson transports audiences across time and space. Released on December 18, the EP is a simple yet solemn early holiday gift in its show. Elson’s latest release features the singer’s personal contributions of five classic walls, honoring the likes of Cher, Elton John and more.

Elson starts Radio Redhead, Vol. 1 boldly. In her cover of Cher’s hit on “Believe,” Elson trades the original image pop effects and autotune for a brighter, elegant instrument that excellently reflects her powerful, clear vocals. Matching Cher’s voice is a pretty high order, but Elson certainly does “Believe” justice. The result is appealing, tastefully brought back and understated, but inconsistently driven by Elson’s blocking power.

Next, Elson repeats “Lay Your Love On Me.” Away are the stunning drums, synths and bass from the 1980s, replaced by piano, acoustic guitar and close-knit rhythm. Surprisingly, Elson introduces a solo synthesizer. While far more recent both in terms of imagination and style, the inclusion is a strong homage to ABBA’s origins. Elson’s version of “Lay Your Love On Me” preserves the magic of the original, updating it for today’s audience and a more personal setting.

Consists of only five songs and only 20 minutes in length, Radio Redhead, Vol. 1 it is short, sweet and very strong. It is the strongest cover-up at the most advanced level, and there is no place bolder than Elson’s account of Elton John’s “Sacrifice”. It’s almost impossible to compete toe-to-toe with Elton John on any front, but Elson does an admirable and impressive job in managing the meditative, bitter tone of the ballad while and he is still making the journey on his own. Interestingly, Elson’s version ends up feeling a bit thinner than the original, thanks to her calm, breath-taking vocals and accompanied by piano music.

Later, what Robson called pop pop Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” was perhaps the most important style event. Radio Redhead, Vol. 1. However, the original version balancing poignant lyrics and a theme with a dance pop synth beat, Elson colors it all back. Elson’s version captures the heartbreak of breakdown and rejection through ghosting, anhedonic singing and acoustic instrumentation.

Although released as his lead single, Elson’s exclusive cover of Vera Lynn’s 1939 classic “We’ll Meet Again” is the EP’s closing track. In a recent press release, Elson spoke of the song’s lack of time. “It feels so poignant for our times: with COVID, with so many people separated from friends and family, it just felt like singing the right song at this time . ” Radio Redhead, Vol. 1 the first definitive sign that everything could – just maybe – look to 2021.