Australia has been generally unaware of the musical stylings of the Irish twins "Jedward". Those that follow Eurovision might recognise them as the rather impressive water feature from this year’s contest.
I myself became aware of them a while ago, through various UK people retweeting some of their more bizarre and koan-like tweets (e.g. “You know what we want? We want to go to the Super Bowel we hear that it's the biggest bowel in the world and we have a lot of Cereal!”). You’re never quite sure if they are taking the piss, are quite daft or are really very deep.
Jedward gained prominence on the UK version of the talent show X-Factor by, like many talent show acts, singing covers. Their first single was a cover. In fact, of the eleven songs on their debut album Planet Jedward, all eleven of them are covers.
All of them.
While I could choose any of these, I have decided to look at their second single: a cover of Blink 182’s All the Small Things.
This song was a huge hit for Blink 182, being their first song to take the number one spot. It was itself the second single from 1999’s Enema of the State which marked a small but significant change of direction for the band. Much like Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik, or even Nirvana’s Nevermind, it was musically similar to earlier albums by the band, however was produced with a wider radio audience in mind. The guitars were crisp and clear, the voices and harmonies polished. You could tell it was well rehearsed. There were also a couple of slower, more thoughtful songs. It was, therefore, seen by their fans as something of a sell-out. This was reflected in the clip for this song. The band are seen dressed as members of various 90s boy bands - complete with slow motion wind machine shots and screaming (mainly) girly fans. But if you listen, without watching the clip, it still a 90s California punk-rock song at heart.
So how would a 21st century pop duo interpret this song? Quite simply, they don’t.
Jedward’s cover of All the Small Things is a note for note identical version of the song. The music and arrangement is exactly the same as the original (with the addition of some keyboards). The major difference is in the vocals and that is because Jedward can’t actually sing very well. (Other acts with Jedward’s level of talent would rely heavily on auto-tuning, and it is a testament that, from all available evidence, they don’t.)
This track epitomises the pointless cover. There is no artistic value in it whatsoever. It is purely a money making venture - an easy way to get these twins on the radio and into people heads. Blink 182 (or at the very least Tom DeLonge) would have received some income from the sales and there is some argument that a cover will make people aware of the original artist, but I would be surprised if any Jedward fans would be snatching up Blink’s back catalogue just because of this track.
Having said that, I would love to see an Irish teeny bopper’s face the first time she heard Family Reunion (warning, contains rude words).