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Artist: Ben Harper
Label: V2 Ada
Genre: Rock
Release: Jan 2002   My Rating: 0
Duration: 4:27
Summary: Jessie Nelson's poignant tale of a mentally challenged man named Sam (Sean Penn) who recruits a lawyer to help him regain custody of his young daughter leans heavily on the lead character's obsession with Beatles songs, and his innocent trust in their wisdom and emotional truth. It's an artistic gambit that shrewdly lends itself to this mostly rewarding collection of Beatles covers by a wide range of contemporary artists, many of whom no doubt leapt at the chance to record a treasured song by their own musical heroes. The renditions are by and large faithful, and inform the elemental genius of the originals by the strength and variety of the artist's voices alone. The husband-wife team of Aimee Mann and Michael Penn (Sean's brother) can't help but find resonance in "Two of Us," just as Nick Cave's latter-day, heart-on-his-sleeve crooner infatuation makes "Let It Be" all his own. It's the reinterpretations that are riskier. While Paul Westerberg's stripped-down, nasal reading of "Nowhere Man" perceptively underscores Lennon's inherent Dylan fetish and Howie Day turns "Help!" from anxious plea to desperate dirge, Grandaddy smugly alt-rocks the energy right out of "Revolution." The Beatles hardly need anyone to burnish their reputation, but this album goes a long way toward underscoring their most undersung legacy as rock's most transcendent melting pot. "-Jerry McCulley"