RIYLSaves the Day
Taking Back Sunday
Tracklist1. Be My Baby
2. Oliver's Army
4. Wild Night
5. Movin' Out
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It seems virtually every band, once they hit a certain degree of longevity, decides to pull the “mid-career covers record” move (even some with barely one or two releases to their name at the time, like Four Year Strong and A Loss for Words, have done the same). Just this year the second half of Silverstein’s Short Songs packed in eleven covers, August Burns Red tackled many holiday standards (in so doing becoming an exception to the rule with a halfway-decent selection of covers), and there’s even been talk of a Motörhead covers album (they are well beyond mid-career, but still).
At best, most of these efforts are uneven, at worst ghastly, even if the band’s other material is excellent. Bayside, a fairly mediocre band to begin with, holds chalk with the rest of their output here, not recycling unlistenable vault selections like The Body on Anthology, nor presenting fresh, fun takes like ABR, but rather going the H2O route, just kind of staying the course.
Their first volume of covers begins with “Be My Baby,” by the Ronettes, and outside of Anthony Raneri occasionally hitting pre-op Tom Gable-esque notes, fails to transcend Patrick Swayze. Track two, “Oliver’s Army,” has a lot to live up to, not only due to my surname but because this Costello classic is one of the best songs of all time. Bayside does, as you might have suspected, okay. Just okay. Track three, “Runaway” by Del Shannon, is actually one song where changing the format by sticking to the pop punk doesn’t do the song justice. I would actually have liked to have seen Bayside try their hand at doo-wop, even if it that means failing miserably like the otherwise very-good A Loss for Words. This could actually apply to “Be My Baby” as well, with vanilla being the flavor of the day.
“Wild Night” (Van Morrison) tries to branch out not only from the source material, but also from the Bayside template, and takes some weird directions, including hair metal and reggae. It should be a wreck, but is rendered oddly flat. Being from New York, they naturally decide to conclude with Billy Joel. The song sounds gentrified, which is fitting, actually. I guess really the whole EP does. Call it the Bayside Re-Investment Plan.