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Various Artists: Nat King Cole: Re: Generations

Re: Generations finds modern popular artists injecting their brand of contemporary relevance into the Nat King Cole canon. The results range from the hysterical “Pick-Up” by Just Blaze to eerie, almost Stockhausen-like mash-ups of “Lush Life” by Cee-Lo Green (the “Crazy” voice of Gnarls Barkley) and “Nature Boy” by TV on the Radio. Some tracks, like Cut Chemist’s remix of “Day In-Day Out,” will.i.am and Natalie Cole’s Duets redux “Straighten Up and Fly Right” and the Roots’ “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home” actually swing, in a new-jack way. Souldiggaz’s loop-laden “Hit That Jive, Jack” and the Bebel Gilberto/Michaelangelo L’Acqua samba-esque acid-jazz version of “Brazilian Love Song” feature more of the guest artist than Cole, while Stephen and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s “Calypso Blues” qualifies as a cover more than a “reimagining.” These artists are all over the modern music map, making the album a hit-or-miss affair. People who like Brazilian Girls’ neo-tango or the Marleys’ one-drop might be put off by Just Blaze’s and Souldiggaz’s looping samples.

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