Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox, "The Essentials" (Concord).
God bless the Internet. We owe this delightful and hilariously hallucinatory record to its sudden ability to propagate viral nuttiness to millions of online ironists everywhere. What pianist Scott Bradlee said about his Postmodern Jukebox is that it's a "musical time machine...today's hits as they would have sounded if they were recorded many decades ago by the stars of yesteryear." This is what happens when nostalgia runs amok.
Are you ready for Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" turned into doo-wop.? Or Meghan Trainor's "All About the Bass" transformed into a rinkydink '50s novelty record by Robin Adele Anderson and the Tee Tones? How about The Darkness' "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" full of cheeseball pseudo-Dixieland. Let's say, just for purposes of argument, that you are. Anyone who can listen to Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" of "Titanic" fame turned into rocket-tempoed doo-wop without guffawing at least once before it's over may be made of limestone. What these people do to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' "Thrift Shop," Lorde's "Royals," Fountains of Wayne's "Stacy's Mom," Beyonce's "Halo" and Justin Bieber's "Sorry" is a glorious nutty anachronism hearkening to the '50s and earlier.
This, you should understand, is not without precedent. Subtract the irony and what you've got is as far-fetched as what TV's "Your Hit Parade" did to rock hits when you would watch songs like "Jailhouse Rock" or "Sweet Little Sixteen" sung to pastiches of 1930s and '40s arrangements by Snooky Lanson and Gisele MacKenzie over a band conducted by Raymond Scott (a specialist, elsewhere, in cartoon music).
Just because this is such inspired craziness doesn't mean that these singers and musicians are kidding. They're not. Listen, say, to Miche Braden singing "Sweet Child O'Mine" and, especially Morgan James' version of Maroon 5's "Maps." James' vocal professionalism is to the virtuosic max and it's really something. The whole thing is quite nutty but, accordingly, it's a lot of fun.
3 1/2 stars (out of four)