Close Your Eyes
Bic Runga’s never seeemed like a prolific writer – to date, she’s released four albums of original songs over her twenty year career. So what’s essentially a covers album, with two original songs, isn’t necessarily a surprise. There’s certainly an element of showing off her cool record collection on Close Your Eyes, as a music geek it’s easy to become excited over the idiosyncratic selection of songs, which includes critical darlings like The Blue Nile, Love, and Nick Drake and left field choices like Kanye West. Runga has explained her choices, saying: “The songs that all made it on the record specifically say something about where I’m at in my life, better than if I’d written it myself. It was a challenging process, I’m really proud of the singing and the production and the statement”.
Runga has a unique perspective to bring to these songs – she’s a female singing predominantly male written songs, but her takes aren’t meant to be provocative, it’s simply her usual crystalline sound applied to a fascinating sampler of songs. Of the original compositions, the excellent ‘Dream A Dream’ has a timeless torch song quality that allows it to sit comfortably next to ‘The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face’. The most effective cover is perhaps The Beach Boys’ early song ‘The Lonely Sea’, where the austerity captures a feeling of hopelessness.
Like a lot of covers albums, Close Your Eyes is more a modest pleasure more than a major statement, but it’s enjoyable all the same.