Pegi Young, Doing the Dylan's Wrong by 1 degree of Comparative Separation.


Foul Deeds is Pegi Young's second solo album with half the guests and just as many covers as her debut.
Since I strongly feel like her originals are far superior to the set of non's that she recorded this time around I am going to have to split up the review to justify both.
When I first listened to the album in full I wasn't fully aware of every single cover yet and I was completely fooled into thinking that most of these were her own inventions. Each cover has undergone a complete makeover and even after watching a ridiculous amount of Jenny Jones From Geek to Chic episodes I still couldn't recognize them. Except in this case I was probably thrown off by the whole switcheroo she pulled by actually turning the Chic into the Geek.
Each cover -- "Pleasing to Me" (Peter Wolf), "Body Breaks" (Devendra Banhart), "Blue Sunday" (J.J. Cale), "Side of the Road" (Lucinda Williams) -- is quite brilliant in it's true form, which is probably why she picked them...unfortunately the way she rewrites them lacks enough invested emotion to ruin any connection you can feel towards them while she is singing. The J.J. Cale track is the only one I can actually stand to listen to and it's actually done quite well unlike the rest, all of which are irritatingly boring and unconvincing. Some are even borderline karaoke, though it pains me to say this considering how much respect I have for this lady. In all honesty I just can't get over the cover of "Pleasing to Me" which is a song that I hold a dear obsession to. To me the original sounds like a mix between Bob and Jakob Dylan and it makes my life every listen (it's actually been on repeat for the last half hour). And her version is so far from respectful in my mind, and as much as I love her raspy smokers voice I can't stand how much she draws it out over a chorus that is repeated way too many times.
Needless to say I'm pissed about it.
Her own shit, on the other hand, I can appreciate a lot more.
The first original, "Broken Vows" she actually reminds me of a female Leonard Cohen and it's hauntingly pretty.
The title track on the album, "Foul Deeds", is a much more upbeat haunt with the twang of the Hank Williams's and again I'm drawn to it, although I wonder if she weren't Neil Young's wife the awkward tone her voice can take at times would be as artistically accepted? Just a fleeting thought. 99% of the time I think her voice is just delicious.
The rest of the originals are just as good and are reason enough to stop you from doubting her real talent after hearing the covers, especially "Who Knew" which has replaced Peter Wolf on repeat.
Somewhere along the writing/recording process - my guess is after she poured her heart into her own masterpieces - it sounds like she got tired and worn out with the process and lost all energy required to commit emotionally to songs that weren't her own anymore.
I'd probably get tired of it too if I were her!

I'm Sarah. I do what I want.