1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear: Planet Jedward

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1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear

#74: Jedward – Planet Jedward (2010)

MATT KELLY once again ventures where many fear to tread and grapples with an album that’s far beyond redemption.

The ghost of William Hung lives on in Irish pop duo Jedward. Designed to be hated with their annoying, obliviously cheerful demeanor, profoundly mediocre performance ability and a series of haircuts that would make Mike Score say “Hang on a minute”, the identical Irish twins became ironically popular after a mind-blowingly *awful* rendition of ‘Oops I Did It Again’ on the 2009 X Factor. (Sadly, not included here.) Their rubbishness amused as much as their enthusiasm endeared and the pair found themselves being booked for shows and putting out an album of high energy pop song covers.

Planet Jedward is spoken of in hushed tones as one of the worst covers albums ever made, up there with the legendary Thank You. But Planet Jedward has an unusual problem – normally I’d tell you that the performer mauling the songs can’t sing. However, it’s not that John and Edward Grimes can’t sing – it’s that they don’t sing. They excitedly talk or yell their way through every track with little to no effort to properly vocalize.

 

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An interesting effect occurs when you compare this with, for example, Mrs Miller who sounded worse but at least justified her existence by taking the material to crazy new places. Jedward on the other hand sound exactly like any teenage boy anywhere doing karaoke and fail the “value added” test of a covers album.

Their creativity-free adherence to the original versions of these songs is especially galling when the first lyrics on the album are “Jedward’s back with a brand new invention.” And if you recognise that line, yes, the opening track is a cover of ‘Ice Ice Baby’ which also incorporates the lyrics of ‘Under Pressure’, despite them having nothing to with each other thematically. Mind you, if you play this to acquaintances it’s quite likely that you will be watching some good friends scream, “Let me out!”

The Ghostbusters theme (appearing on this list for the third time, an unexpected motif) is a particular low-light as the twins talk over the original track with irritating attempts at comic dialogue, though ‘I Want Candy’ is also likely to have you grinding your teeth down to the gum and reflecting that Aaron Carter wasn’t so bad. Just remember to make sure your hi-fi is securely anchored before pushing play on ‘I Like To Move It’, lest you attempt to throw it out the window.

I might get in trouble for saying this, but the punkier numbers such as ‘All The Small Things’ and ‘Teenage Kicks’ almost work as Jedward’s unpolished, nasal register suits the material. But then a version of ‘Pop Muzak’ which makes the original sound deeply sincere comes along to remind you that the existence of a Planet Jedward is cause to regret the recent decision to extend NASA’s funding.

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Matthew Kelly is the most important person in the music industry – the type of obsessive nerd without whom it would have no reason to produce box sets and nine-hour long documentaries.

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