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BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge 2016 album review

The annual live album from Radio 1 is here.

Craig David
Credit: Speakerbox Media Limited / JEM Artists Limited
Radio 1's Live Lounge 2016

Credit: Sony Music

BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge is still one of the most talked about shows on radio today. Some of the biggest stars from the world of music arrive in the Radio 1 studios to perform their own tracks and unique versions of songs by other artists. Ahead of the festive season the 2016 collection of the year’s best Live Lounge moments has arrived and it features 38 songs across two discs by a real mix of artists from all over the globe.

Things kick off on a stellar note with Craig David’s garage take on Justin Bieber’s Ed Sheeren penned hit Love Yourself. Craig has established himself as the comeback king of 2016 and his version of Bieber’s massive hit could actually be even better than the original! As highlighted by the opening track, the best thing about the Live Lounge albums is when an artist really does something different with a well-known track.

Elsewhere on the first disc Fifth Harmony take on Elle King’s Ex’s & Oh’s, Olly Murs does a superb job on the Justin Timberlake medley Can’t Stop the Feeling/Rock Your Body, and Birdy puts a haunting spin on Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car. Among the artists performing their own tracks are Coldplay (Adventure of a Lifetime), Usher (Crash) and Charlie Puth (We Don’t Talk Anymore). The best moment on disc 1 comes on Nick Jonas’ soulful reinterpretation of Zara Larsson’s Lush Life.

Every so often a band does a terrible version of a well-known song and unfortunately that’s how disc 2 opens as The Maccabees murder Adele’s Hello. It’s pretty dreadful and not something my ears wish to ever have to endure ever again. Faring better is Karen Harding who takes on Zayn’s massive number 1 Pillowtalk, DNCE who put a laidback and funky spin on Selena Gomez’s Hands to Myself, and Kygo featuring Ella Henderson who tackle Taylor Swift’s Wildest Dreams.

Fleur East blows the cobwebs away with her monster hit Sax towards the end of the collection and Grace who puts her spinetingling vocals to good use on You Don’t Own Me.

As always with every Live Lounge collection, the best you can hope for is a mixed bag. I would say about a third of the tracks on here are stellar but for me, the rest left me wanting. It’s indicative of a music industry where one hit wonders are enjoying the most success and a lot of the songs on here are more flash in the pan than enduring hits. Still when it hits the right note, Live Lounge is a great collection but it’s all a bit too hit and miss for me.

Record Company: Sony Music Release Date: 11th November 2016

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