What makes Blackbird bizarre is the attempt to pass it off as a Black Lives Matter soundtrack. The cover art surrounds the couple’s faces with names such as “Trayvon,” “Breonna,” “George,” “Emmett,” “Martin,” and “Malcolm,” implying connections that are tenuous at best, non-existent at worst, and misleading in either case. Strangest of all, the video for “Ticket to Ride” grafts the song onto Rosa Park’s Montgomery bus protest. Dedicating “The Fool on the Hill” to Maxine Waters would’ve been less of a stretch.
Friday, October 29, 2021
MARILYN MCCOO & BILLY DAVIS JR.: BLACKBIRD: LENNON-McCARTNEY ICONS (BMG)
The weirdest all-covers album of 2021 (so far) comes from the Fifth Dimension alumni and perennial pop power couple Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. What makes Blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons strange isn’t its contents—eight Beatles favorites plus one apiece from solo Lennon and McCartney hardly qualifies as eccentric—or its quality. Serious thought has gone into the arrangements, especially the gospel one that enables Davis to turn “Help!” into a prayer.
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