“East Side Stories” is the new album from Peter Jöback and could be the one to give him an international breakthrough.
One thing I like about Peter is you never quite know what he’s going to do mext. Will he sing in English or Swedish? Pop or show tunes? Another Christmas album? Another musical? Tour with Eva Dahlgren and release a live album? It keeps him fresh and although there’s always there’s a risk, it keeps his fans on their toes.
“East Side Stories” is a covers album, always a risk in itself, inspired by Peter’s year living in New York. The risk pays off though, giving us a brilliant album in the process. Peter has put his own stamp on these songs, often surpassing the original.
In fact, I didn’t even know most of the songs which I think is a plus since one comes in with no pre-conceived ideas. I was a little excited and scared that he was tackling two of my favourite songs of all time. I have already written about “Somebody” and how happy I am with how Peter made that his own. The other favourite of mine is “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak and once again, Peter has put his own slant on the song, making it sound more Latin and turning it into a duet with the amazing Sia. Sia is Australian giving Peter an Australian connection (apart from his crazy Australian fan that is) and her voice blends so well with Peter’s. I could cope with a whole album of Peter/Sia duets very easily. And I love the Mexican trumpet. It always makes my knees turn to jelly when it starts up!
Peter is working with some other amazing musicians. I still can’t believe that he has sung with Kate Pierson from the B-52s on the uplifting “Sing”. A dream collaboration in my mind. Another great singer is Irishman Declan O’Rourke. I hadn’t heard of him before but he has a great voice which again works really well with Peter’s. They sing “Everybody Hurts”, the REM song. A favourite track of mine on the album. Peter has also worked with the sensational group Betty who have just released an album themselves (but more about that album in a later post).
An absolute favourite of mine comes courtesy of Divine Comedy, “Our Mutual Friend”. Peter has more than a great voice, he also has the ability to tell a story with his singing (a skill no doubt honed from his experience in musicals). I always find myself caught up in “Our Mutual Friend”, the build up of joy and love followed by the crashing down of reality. It’s like a mini movie or maybe an episode of “Queer As Folk”.
Another highlight on the album is “God Loves Everyone”, a song written by Ron Sexsmith and inspired by the senseless and brutal murder of Matthew Shepard. Peter’s version gives me goosebumps.
“East Side Stories” is a very queer friendly album. Peter has worked with some great queer musicians and chosen a selection of songs that reflect where he is in his life right now and it will certainly resonate with many in the queer community. Needless to say, anyone can enjoy this album for its sheer quality and the power of Peter’s singing.
“East Side Stories” is available around the world on iTunes now. Check it out – you won’t be disappointed.
PS. You can read James’ review of the album on his blog right here.