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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Twee lords The Bird and The Bee muddle a classic

    Ladies and gentlemen, for your consideration, courtesy of the Oxford English Dictionary: Twee (twi), a. (and n.): 1. Originally: ‘sweet,’ dainty, chic. Now only in depreciatory use: affectedly dainty or quaint; over-nice, over-refined, precious, mawkish.

    This is the one word that wholly describes The Bird and The Bee’s new album Interpreting the Masters Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates. There’s a lot of people who will love this album … and all of them love, or embody, twee. Examples: 10-year-old girls. Soccer moms. Fluffy bunnies. I can see this music on the set of a photoshoot for Limited Too. Or part of a soundtrack for the next big children’s feature film. 

    But then, let’s just get it out on the table. I don’t like twee that much. Or at least … not to this level. It’s bubblegum, it’s poppy, but it’s overly saccharine. So, I’ll put aside my desire to staple my ears shut for a moment and listen at this album seriously — or at least fairly. 

    The first track, “”Heard it on the Radio,”” is actually a really catchy song. It’s the only original on the album, the rest being covers of Hall and Oates, one of the most popular bands from the 1970s with notable hits such as “”Rich Girl,”” “”Sarah Smiles”” and “”Maneater,”” all of which are on the album along with five tracks from the band. 

    “”Heard it On the Radio”” appropriates everything from Hall and Oates’ oeuvre that The Bird and The Bee find useful: heavy, driving baselines, instrumental interludes, and power-chord vocal refrains. Vocalist Inara George croons, “”When we first kissed / it made it to my list / And I couldn’t stop myself, / think of nothing else,”” as we journey with her into the happy, unstoppable bebop of a new love. It’s catchy and delightful, like a juicy bite of watermelon on a summer day — it’s super sweet, and you can’t help but want more. 

    The rest of album takes a similarly poppy and synth-laden approach to the hits. Compared to the originals, several tracks sound strangely vacuous, such as “”Sarah Smiles.”” George has a great voice, but the vibe is completely changed. But then, it’s a tribute album, not a direct reproduction. 

    “”Maneater”” is an interesting track. What was once obviously a cautionary tune has turned into something more poppy and bubbly than anything else. It almost sounds Cyndi Lauper-esque. Well, I guess it’s fun.

    I’m not sure how Hall and Oates feel about this album, but their music definitely has been injected with a new kind of energy, to say the least. This album isn’t for me. But for those who like the poppiest of pop, they’ll probably find themselves bouncing against the walls in saccharine glee. 

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