Jesse Malin - Russian Roulette

Alisha Ahmed 22/06/2008

Rating: 3/5

Given that Russian Roulette comes from Jesse's latest album "On Your sleeve" (made up entirely of covers) its half faults -or merits- shouldn't really fall on him. But what has been supposedly entirely up to him (or what's the point in doing and cover album?) it's the all new arrangements.

Which, for the single, Russian Roulette, means losing the soft-ish original vocals (plus some of the slowness as well) for a vocal style which sounds so forcedly rough that got me wondering "where did the sweet shy guy who used to be opening for Couting Crows a couple of years ago go?" It sounds as like he's trying to... I don't know... sound rough and raw in a way he just isn't and the fact that he isn't makes me question what there is to like about him!

Don't get me wrong, with 'Russian Roulette' you have a fast paced catchy song, which compared to the original version by The Lords of the New Church, has a new improved catchy rhythm, but in a way that it ends up being "just another song".

What's really impressive though (strangely and unexpectedly enough) is the b-side Yoshimi. It's a good surprise that I've come round to the thought that this B-side is actually the song that deserves more attention here! Listening to Jesse's version of Yoshimi made me realize that the original version by Flaming Lips didn't give justice to the atmospheres and scenarios told by the lyrical narrative. But Jesse's does instead (Evangelion pictures in your mind? Anyone?) Besides all the cleverness that already won my heart, it sounds like a beautiful ballad, the predominant piano line- conjures up a beautifully mellow atmosphere. So it's definitely one to check out. Besides... it stands out quite naturally on its own.