Much like Green Day, R.E.M. and so many other bands, hard rock act A Perfect Circle has jumped onto the political bandwagon with their latest record. Released on U.S. Election Day, only a year after their second album Thirteenth Step, Emotive is a collection of ten political and anti-war cover songs along with two new tracks. Getting political is something new for A Perfect Circle, as their last two albums were typical hard rock records with cryptic subject matter provided by lead singer Maynard James Keenan. Remaking songs is never an easy task for any band and A Perfect Circle present with some varied results on Emotive.
The album begins with the two minute long “Annihilation.” This is barely a song as it consists of muffled, incomprehensible lyrics and some weird background sounds. It’s definitely album filler and a song worth skipping. Next comes the first single off of Emotive, a remake of the John Lennon classic “Imagine.” This is without a doubt the best song off of the album and one of the best cover songs I’ve ever heard. The band completely reworked the song, making it longer and completely transforming it’s vibe. While Lennon’s version is sappy and peaceful sounding, A Perfect Circle have adjusted the song to sound angry and brooding. Keenan sings Lennon’s lyrics better than Lennon himself ever did and the band have also added an awesome drum line which was missing from the original.
A Perfect Circle keeps pace with the next few songs after “Imagine,” which are among the best tracks on the disc. Track four is a remake of the Marvin Gaye anti-war classic “What’s Going On.” Again A Perfect Circle have completely restructured the original, and the results are quite good. The song has quite a slow pace, but the band have done an excellent job with turning an R&B song into a rock song, which is by no means a simple task. Track five is the song “Passive”, one of the two original songs in the collection, which also happens to be the second single. The song is an altered version of the song “Vacant” which came out of the now defunct Tapeworm project that Keenan was working on with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails a few years ago. “Passive” is definitely one of the coolest songs off the record although I wasn’t able to get any real political or anti-war message out of it. Another standout track is “People are People,” a cover of the Depeche Mode hit. In this song, Keenan passes the microphone over to guitarist Billy Howardel, who does a surprisingly good job, making this another solid cover.
Even though Emotive contains about a half a dozen good songs, I didn’t care much for some of the others. The last few songs such as “Freedom of Choice,” “When the Levee Breaks” and “Fiddle and the Drum” are nothing special and I would be surprised if anyone actually thought they were good songs. Overall A Perfect Circle has composed a decent album of cover songs, and although big fans of the band may not like this album because it takes the band largely away from the hard rock of the previous two albums, anyone with an open mind to something a little different will probably find Emotive to be a solid album. [ END ]
03. Peace Love and Understanding
04. What’s Going On
06. Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie
07. People are People
08. Freedom of Choice
09. Let’s Have a War
10. Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drum
11. When the Levee Breaks
12. Fiddle and the Drum
Run Time: 48:12
Release Date: 2004