Grant-Lee Phillips Nineteeneighties

When an artist falls out of fashion, despite continually making quality music, it’s understandable they’d want to get back into the spotlight at least once before they give up entirely. Though he never made a permanent impact on music history, Grant-Lee Phillips has been an upstanding songwriter since he first made a name for himself as the front-man for Grant Lee Buffalo. Well, those days are behind him, and what better way for him to resuscitate his career then by recording 11 beloved anthems from the decade of decadence — the ’80s. Phillips has used good caution too in selecting his track list. Opting to choose familiars but certainly not all of the retro hits we’re all sick of, there’s nary a song most schooled on that decade of music can’t join Phillips in singing. A lackadaisical run through of the Pixies’ "Wave of Mutilation” basically speaks for this compilation, giving you the sense that he’s doing it as much out of fun than he is for attention. Choosing New Order’s "Age of Consent” over the obvious favourites is a splendid idea, as is following it by depressing Joy Division’s "The Eternal” even more. Tackling Morrissey and Marr is often a job for careless emo hacks, but if his stab at "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me” isn’t as lovely as the original then my ears are no longer useful. For good measure, the Cure, the Bunnymen and Nick Cave, among others, are also subjects of Phillips’s desire. It’s a well-performed stunt that will hopefully find this inimitably voiced troubadour back in fashion some day soon. (Zoë)