Meiko – Playing Favorites
In the 90s, the female singer-songwriter explosion brought a wave of significant alternative artists who helped re-shape the decade.
By the mid-90s, Sarah McLachlan and Jewel found themselves on the cover of Time magazine and the Lilith Fair summer tour brought the emerging wave of female artists to huge amphitheaters. It was an exciting time in music and its impact on the next generation of female musicians has been significant. On her latest album, Playing Favorites, Meiko pays tribute to some of these artists with a collection of cover songs that stretch far beyond that influential decade.
Released as a single in January, the opening cover of The Cranberries’ “Zombie” feels more haunting in the wake of Dolores’ passing. Stripped back and slowed down, Meiko scratches at the urgency found at the heart of the iconic original. From there, the album stretches out across decades of music but retains a live feeling. Recorded in an abandoned church, Meiko’s album captures the magic of walking into a coffee house in 1996 and stumbling upon a gifted musician who adds a unique twist to songs you’ve been hearing your entire life. Such is the case of the gentle whisper of “Stand By Me” and the subtle plucks that carry “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”.
Playing Favorites always finds it’s way back to the 90s, a decade that found Meiko discovering music through her older sister. The selections here represent a passion for the music rather than a calculated attempt to align influences that would be considered “essential” and “hip” in 2018. How else to explain the playful cover of Jennifer Paige’s lone pop hit “Crush” or the enchanted “Come Undone” by Duran Duran? The most challenging cover on the album, Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”, wisely sidesteps trying to capture the ethereal atmosphere of the original and replaces it with twitchy electronics and a steady organ drone. Maintaining a consistently throughout, Playing Favorites offers the perfect playlist for a quiet morning alone with coffee.