This EP of Marshall Crenshaw covers wasn’t released until 2003, but they were recorded for a never-to-materialize album in the late 80s/early 90s. For those who know anything about Ronnie Spector’s career that would put us right around the time of the Eddie Money duet “Take Me Home Tonight,” the iconic use of “Be My Baby” in Dirty Dancing, and just after her comeback album Unfinished Business, a respectable if dated pop/rock affair.
Listening to these songs it’s obvious what drew Spector’s attention to them. Crenshaw’s retro-minded pop/rock ditties recall the sounds of Buddy Holly, Brenda Lee, and the Wall of Sound. Her voice sounds right at home on songs like “For His Love,” which gives her a chance to flex her that quiver and sensual need in her voice, and “Favorite Waste of Time,” which provides ample room for her sass.
If there’s any misstep here, it’s “Communication.” Proof that while Ronnie Spector’s voice was plenty versatile and dexterous, it’s no match for rockabilly guitar and a heavy twang. Her voice evokes the big city, of steam coming up from subway gates, of neon lights, and romantically staring off into the night sky while sitting on the fire escape. It’s just an odd matchup of singer and style, even if she does sing the hell out of it.
But one misstep cannot undue the thrill and joy of listening to Spector wrap her iconic vocal style around these songs. Handclaps, several backup singers, and a propulsive oldies beat populate Something’s Gonna Happen. It’s the title track that emerges as the best of the bunch as Crenshaw’s naughty little track sounds tailor made for Spector’s bad girl of rock and roll persona. Even Crenshaw approved, stating “Ronnie’s version of those songs are my favorite of any covers that I’ve had so far; I think they’re just beautiful.” Something’s Gonna Happen is the strongest set of solo material from Spector after her 1999’s She Talks to Rainbows.
DOWNLOAD: “Something’s Gonna Happen”