Jero had a lot of momentum going for him as he released Covers, due to a highly successful single ("Umiyuki," not on this album) and an iconoclastic style. Jero, a young African-American from Pittsburgh, made his way into the traditional enka song form in Japan. While keeping his outward style (bling and an occasional do rag), he vocally maneuvered his way through a relatively outdated and arguably moribund style of lounge singing. On Covers, he makes the case for his choices by performing a series of classic pieces of enka, all in perfect melodramatic lounge form. His voice is just deep enough to emote in the unnecessarily grandiose manner preferred by lounge acts the world 'round. He can waver and warble just enough to show some technical abilities at the same time. He can vocally slink around a stereotypical Santana-esque electric guitar riff for melodramatic effect. Enka has a proud history, but little appeal for the younger generations in Japan. Jero stays mostly within the tradition, acting as any good 60-year-old Japanese singer would. However, he adds just the slightest touches of contemporary affectation where needed, just the slightest bits of newness, even to an album of cover songs. If anyone's got a shot at reviving enka, Jero's a good bet.
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