Review: Shameless – So Good, You Should…
Pride & Joy Music (Maay 20th, 2022)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
Shameless are back with their eighth studio release ‘So Good, You Should…‘, a covers album with a few new tracks thrown in. Coming from the perspective of someone who has never heard their previous releases, I was curious about the collection of songs they would be covered. Gotta give credit where credit is due, it’s not a typical collection. With some of these covers I had to look up the original artists because I had never heard them before. I don’t think you’ll find another album that has songs from Jerry Reid, Green Day, Tom Jones, Psychedelic Furs, and Teenage Head. This eclecticism ensures that every song has its own unique flair mixed with the stylings of a glam rock band, which makes for an interesting listen.
Like most covers albums, you get a mixed bag of strong reworkings and songs that are admirable attempts but don’t quite stick the landing. Let’s start with the good, and there’s a lot of good here. They do an absolutely phenomenal job with the Bryan Adams track ‘Hiding from Love’, a track from his debut that I had never heard before. Singer Charlotte Tybalt makes the song soar and after seeking out the original, I prefer the female touches she brings to the track. For me, the version of ‘Does Your Mother Know’ by Black Sweden will never be topped, but the Shameless version comes very close and the band sounds like they are having a blast. I always loved the track ‘Pretty In Pink’ so it’s great to hear a rocked-up version of it. I also appreciate how singer Frankie Muriel maintains the vocal stylings of the original, which is a crucial part of the integrity of the song. Metal screaming would not have worked here.
A special note to one of the best, most unique tracks on the album. Green Day’s ‘Stay The Night’ is covered here as a piano ballad with some acoustic guitar. With songs like these, the vocals are everything. If the vocals don’t work, the song falls apart. Ms. Tybalt pulls off the best vocals on the album and brings incredible emotion to a track that was originally conceived as a power punk pop song. Truly beautiful!
What I wasn’t crazy about was the cover of ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’. The tempo is sped up and makes the song feel too rushed. A song with great rhythm and tempo is Tom Jones’ ‘Get Ready’, but it relies too much on keyboards and could have used more guitar. That being said, the guitar solo on this track is terrific. Jerry Reid’s ‘Eastbound and Down’ is certainly a unique hybrid of country, rockabilly, and punk, but that doesn’t mean it works. Not a terrible cover per se, just a little too odd for me. Teenage Head’s ‘Ain’t Got No Sense’ is also an acquired taste. I could have used without the six shoutouts to band members that the singer does to open the track but appreciated the fun and rude attitude that’s conveyed by this punk and hard rock hybrid. To be clear, none of these songs are terrible and I think your enjoyment to these tracks will be based on personal tastes and your willingness to hear a glam rock band attempt something a little out of their core audience’s comfort zone.
Regarding the new Shameless tracks, ‘Shout It Out’ is the stronger of the two brand new songs. A high energy kick-ass rocker that utilizes proven sleaze rock tropes but pulls it off so well. Surely to be embraced by the fan base. The title track is unfortunately the weakest song on the album. I’m surprised they named the album after this track. The singing is too flat and the chorus uninspired. It’s suitable for listening as background music when you’re trying to get chores done, but not much more than that.
With twelve tracks (and two intros) this collection of songs has a lot to offer. Some of these covers were the first time I heard these songs and their re-workings are handled in an exciting manner, with some of the covers actually being better than the originals. Kudos to the band for taking such a daring approach covering artists that are far removed for the glam/sleaze scene. Don’t be swayed away, this is not your typical covers album. I guarantee that you will be surprised by what you hear. I implore you to check it out for yourself.