ALBUM REVIEW: Radio 1’s Live Lounge 2016

Radio 1’s Live Lounge has become a place for fans to hear their favourite artists put their own twists on the year’s greatest tracks or just mix up their own in the Radio 1 studios. This year marks the 11th collection of tracks and looks set to be one of the strongest yet.

2016 has been a great year for music, a theme which has carried on into the warm surroundings of the Radio 1 Live Lounge studios. This double-disc release features 38 tracks from the series hosted by Clara Amfo, making sure there’s something for every music fan out there.

We’ve picked out our favourites from each disc to inspire you to go and grab yourself a copy when it’s released tomorrow. Disc one from the onset looks set to be the strongest of the two, setting the scene for the release is Craig David’s take on the killer hit ‘Love Yourself’ by Justin Bieber. We love how this sums up exactly what Live Lounge is about, adding his own funked up twist to the track and speeding the tempo up to make it his own instead of a generic cover. 2016 saw the return of Justin Timberlake and honouring this is Olly Murs and his take on ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling!/Rock Your Body’. Olly’s tones are exceptional at the best of times, but with such a well-suited track for him, you can’t help but get up and have a boogie in your bedroom! Hitting those high notes with ease and even starting a Live Lounge clap makes this feel like it’s his own track performed at his headline show. Something a little different is Birdy’s take on Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’, hauntingly beautiful this piano-led cover highlights everything Birdy is recognised for. Simplicity is sometimes best and vocally this might steal the show for being the strongest on the first disc.

Live Lounge isn’t just about covers as shown by Shawn Mendes during his Live Lounge debut with the hit of the year ‘Stitches’. We’ve loved this track since we heard it but being slowed down, stripped back to just Shawn’s sincere, passion filled vocals and a guitar it brings a new emotive dimension to it. For his debut appearance, we can’t wait to see what Shawn’s next is set to bring after smashing his first! Live Lounge regulars Coldplay take fans on an ‘Adventure Of A Lifetime’ with their addition to this track, the upbeat anthem retains its exciting melody reminding us just why Coldplay are one of the best live bands out there.

If you need even more reasons to grab yourself a copy of this release, disc two provides them. It wouldn’t be a Live Lounge release without some boy band goodness and One Direction with their cover of Rihanna/Kanye West/Paul McCartney’s ‘FourFiveSeconds’ fits the bill perfectly. Since their hiatus we’ve been trying to get our 1D fix wherever we can and this cover does the trick with signature vocals and smooth harmonies which made us fall in love in the first place! For something totally different DNCE who’ve become one of the biggest success stories of 2016 bring their funky electro-pop sound to Selena Gomez’s ‘Hands To Myself’. Joe Jonas’ vocals reach dizzy heights which weren’t even aware were possible merged in with electro guitar lines, making one of the best covers we’ve heard in a long time. Female solo artists are making a huge return in 2016 and Dua Lipa is leading the pack with a cover of The Weeknd’s ‘The Hills’. We love her husky tinged vocals, giving a whole new take on this track showing just how to spice up a cover and make it your own. Girl power is back and here to stay!

From disc two, two great versions of the artist’s own tracks are provided by Fleur East and The Weeknd. X Factor star Fleur East performed hit single ‘Sax’ in the Live Lounge with her strong, funk-soul vocals stealing the show. With a hefty dose of the obligatory sax, there’s so much sass in this track that you can’t help but get up and have a dance along pretending you’re Fleur (we wish!). From the upbeat to the slow, emotive tones of Jamie Lawson performing his debut single ‘Wasn’t Expecting That’, the reflective lyrics of this track make it a hard-hitting emotional number but even more so when performed in the Live Lounge. Vocally Jamie Lawson stuns us during this number, this is by far a show stopper. There’s something simply loveable about this song but we just find ourselves drifting into a whole new world, singing along and being taken on an emotion rollercoaster accompanied by Jamie’s vocals and guitar lines. What more could you want?

Radio 1’s Live Lounge series never fails to impress and the 2016 effort is no different, with songs for every mood and genre you’ll find one of your favourite songs covered by an artist you’re unfamiliar with or an unfamiliar song sung by your favourite artist. The sheer talent the artists possess is highlighted through these live performances and we already can’t wait to see what the 2017 series is set to bring!

What are your favourite tracks from this year’s Live Lounge? Tweet us @CelebMix and let us know.

 

Written by Nicola Craig

Unashamedly in love with pop music and boybands. I'm always looking for new artists to check out, so send them my way and you might be able to be smug knowing you helped me find a new favourite band. You'll probably say I have long hair, most people do.