There aren’t many groups that would be trusted with the responsibility of releasing covers of classic hits from artists like Ben E. King, The Righteous Brothers or The Drifters. As someone who hails from the camp of believers that nothing beats the original, I’m always going to be listening to a cover with a skeptical ear. Unless that is, the band in question is Human Nature. Human Nature, or Alvin and The Chipmunks. With their Motown makeover and Christmas classics blown through the roof, the furry little guys have well and truly earned the right to be trusted with this sampling of 50’s and 60’s classics on new album, Jukebox. Human Nature, not Alvin. Are you following?
Looking dapper as always, and arguably nicer in their matching suits than the Chipmunks could pull off, Human Nature transport us back to a time of pocket combs, poodle skirts and classic doo-wop. The golden age of pop music, Human Nature tackle some of the greatest songs of all time – many acknowledged as such with their originals making Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.
The nostalgic effects are immediate with a nasally vocal on Will You Love Me Tomorrow seemingly plucked right out of 1960. Complete with backing “sha-la-la’s” and rife falsetto. Classics Twist and Shout, Unchained Melody and Under The Boardwalk are given a spin, as is the amply covered Stand By Me – a song that has been recorded over 400 times. It’s no easy task, pulling off such well known and well loved hits, but Human Nature freshen them up with their loveable demeanour and vocal performance that is never anything less than perfect.
The boys really have some fun with Runaround Sue, opening with an awesome acapella bit that few but Human Nature could pull off, as well as versions of Stay and Little Bitty Pretty One that I couldn’t be happier to hear on this record. While some of the tracks may be a little cliche and overdone, songs like these definitely deserve another go around, and the quartet pull it off with the kind of style that would rival the Jersey Boys.
There is a nice little surprise on the album as well, with Human Nature’s original song End Of Days making the final cut. It’s oddly familiar and fitting on this record for a brand new track, with the bluesy, soulful, barber-shop ballad feeling right at home.
If I’m being honest, I would be okay if I never heard another rendition of Stand By Me or Unchained Melody ever again, but Human Nature truly breath new life into them. Mixed with gems like Good Lovin’, the boys have once again made a fan out of me. What I love most about Andrew, Michael, Toby and Phil is their unwavering dedication not to out-do the classics, but pay tribute to them. This kind of project in anyone else’s hands may not be worth it, but with Human Nature, we have a winner.