Dune

Forever

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Covers aren't supposed to sound like the originals. While they shouldn't degrade the earlier compositions, remakes that are too faithful are essentially pointless. On Forever, the German band Dune, along with the 66-piece London Session Orchestra, cover new wave and pop songs from the '80s -- eight of them, in fact. Since there are also tracks written by Dune, Forever is not an album of remakes; however, it are the covers that quickly raise eyebrows. The opening track, a version of Queen's "Who Wants to Live Forever," strives for an epic feel, but it already exposes Dune's Achilles' heel: the thin vocals of Verena von Strenge. Lacking the charisma and emotional power of Queen's late frontman Freddie Mercury, Dune's cover seems anemic. The music on Forever is lush and cinematic; the sweeping violins cast an indelible spell. Unfortunately, Strenge's little girl voice can be hard to stomach. Depeche Mode's "Somebody" was one of the most moving new wave ballads of the '80s. On Forever, Dune interprets "Somebody" from a female perspective; however, while Strenge captures Martin L. Gore's vulnerability, she doesn't have his passion. Similarly, Dune's version of Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" is notable mainly for its instrumentation. Take away the orchestra and Forever wouldn't sound too different from a night of karaoke.

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