Bic Runga

Close Your Eyes

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Close Your Eyes is the realization of a long-standing dream of Bic Runga: to record a collection of covers. That she adds two new original songs -- "Close Your Eyes" and "Dream a Dream" -- doesn't detract from the covers concept; it winds up enhancing it as it emphasizes the idiosyncrasies of Runga's vision. She's created a cool, sensual sound for Close Your Eyes, spinning off of her signature subdued adult alternative pop but adding in significant elements of electronica, particularly an echo of trip-hop past. Appropriately, her choice of covers falls along these lines, relying heavily on classic singer/songwriters like Nick Drake and Neil Young, but finding space for the baroque pop of Love and the Beach Boys, Fran├žoise Hardy, cult sophsti-pop icons the Blue Nile, and Roberta Flack's standard "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." The head-turning covers are the Meters' "What'cha Say" and Kanye West's "Wolves," but both of these are given classy, bustling electronic arrangements that mimic the rest of the record, so they don't feel like attention-grabbers. Rather, they're part of a tapestry that says a lot about Runga's cool, collected, and slyly provocative world-view: underneath her glossy veneer, she takes a lot of risks, as Close Your Eyes illustrates.

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