Sunday, October 18, 2009

Willis - "Take You High" (LP Review)

Willis (aka Hayley Willis) is a little-known UK alt-folk singer that has released one LP (2003's "Come Get Some") along with several singles and EPs. In support of that LP, the 2003 4-track EP "Take You High" was released, featuring "Take You High" from the LP as well as 3 non-LP tracks.

The Willis originals "Take You High" and "Haunt You" are forgettable tracks, with the latter being slightly better than the former. What makes this EP interesting at all are the two covers. Her cover of "Old Time Religion" is interesting and upbeat, but her sparse & slow cover of Cameo's "Word Up" steals the show.

I have to admit that I never liked Cameo, and I hated "Word Up" when it originally came out in 1986. And while "Word Up" has been covered numerous times (e.g., Korn's version), Willis performs the definitive version; far better than the original in my opinion. But it is not just me: Danette loved Cameo back in the day and she thinks the cover is inspired.

CSI often features engaging music selections during the episodes (although Danette and I agree that the last couple of seasons have not featured the music as prominently), and I first heard this song in the CSI episode "Post Mortem" (video). I often know most of the music featured in the episodes, but this is one of my favorite discoveries (the other being Sigur Ros with the song "Svefn-g-englar" (video)).

I'm not sure how active Willis is currently -- at the time of this writing her website's "news" section has a last entry of 2007. Although her covers are good, the two originals here are not impressive.

Stand out tracks: "Word Up", "Old Time Religion"

Skip 'em tracks: "Take You High", "Haunt You"

Final score: 5/10. "Word Up" is amazing and "Old Time Religion" is interesting, but the originals only serve to drag down the final score. Skip the EP and get just "Word Up" on iTunes or elsewhere.

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