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LABEL: Sheffield Tunes RELEASE DATE: January 23, 2009 GENRE: Electronic, Rock, Hip-Hop
// review by Jeff

Everybody's got their interpretation...

I know that I have way too many Scooter reviews on my website here, but there's something strange and alluring about the existence of this "hard dance" group. But apparently, I'm not the only one who seems to have a connection with Scooter: aside from their worldwide waves of fans, they have enough supporters in the music industry to warrant a cover album. There have been underground discussions of a "Hands-On Scooter" project for years, where different artists re-interpret classic Scooter hits. Well, finally, in the early days of 2009, the dream of many Scooter fans became a reality. 11 artists from the German scene each delivered their own renditions of Scooter songs in one collective package. And boy, was this long wait ever poorly spent. I could have done something with my life.

For the most part, this entire album (if you can call it one) reeks of an overall lack of ingenuity. In fact, many of the tracks featured here were probably pasted together at the very last minute, and even more plausibly, via someone's buttcheeks on a mixing board. I can't even begin to describe the overall mediocrity of what's been presented here... but I'll have to try. Admittedly, the album starts out on a decent note with a song made directly by Scooter, featuring the assistance of classic UK rock legends Status Quo. Jump That Rock (Whatever You Want) takes the Status Quo song, "Whatever You Want", and transforms it into a jumpstyle monolith. As I noted in my review of that single, it's pretty good! But that is also the highlight of the entire compilation. I guess that makes sense; it's difficult to top the original group on an album of covers, right?

It must be. Just listen to the Bloodhound Gang's cover of Weekend!... they have the enthusiasm of a garden slug. Normally known for their outrageously goofy (and tawdry) lyrics and unique pop-rock style, this song just reeks of slow-tempo, generic nothingness. I think they just cranked this out with giving a big hoot about the end result. K.I.Z.'s Was Kostet Der Fisch is an electro-trip through Scooter's 1998 hit, "How Much Is The Fish?", and it sounds like a cheesy house drinking song, but at least it has some level of energy to it. The vocals are German rapping, but it's still entertaining to listen to, especially with the strange vocal effects they stuck in there. However, it is Sido featuring Kitty Kat and Tony D. that take the cake for interesting rap-related covers. Based very vaguely on the synth melody and vocal chopped effects from "Move Your Ass", Beweg Dein Arsch is a pretty smooth-sounding hip-hop track that might even interest North American listeners if only the lyrics were in English. You won't find much of that on this disc, though. Heck, I'll rank this as one of the best covers of a Scooter track yet.

But don't even ask about Hyper Hyper, as remixed by Modeselektor featuring Otto von Schirach. I don't get it. There's a hell of a lot of pounding electric bass drums going on amidst modified vocals repeating the original lyrics from Scooter's 1994 hit of the same name. It's really experimental, and it definitely won't make everyone happy, that's for sure. In fact, it will cause many a listener to question whether they are on drugs at the time. Then, Moonbootica and the unusual vocal stylings of Jan Delay deliver their lazy-electro version of I'm Raving; unless that's the type of music you prefer, you'll probably quickly tire of this lackluster cover. However, the version of Aiii Shot the DJ by Andreas Dorau seems to try and appeal to multiple audiences. There's the acoustic guitar for the alternative crowd and the acid synths for the more electronic music fanatics. However, he used frontman H.P. Baxxter's vocals instead of his own, so it's more like a remix. Oh well, it's better than many efforts here.

Klostertaler's re-examination of the 1995 Scooter single, Friends, is a very unexpected addition to the disc, featuring a Maritime sea-side interpretation (complete with accordion entrée), plus yodeling that is never necessary. Plus the original was in English, but this version is in both English and German. I don't see why they had to do that, but I guess it's a moot point. Overall, it's fine if you are at Oktoberfest, but it's not exactly the best for home listening. Knorkator brings the goth rock vibe going with their cover of Faster Harder Scooter. All I can really say about this is that if some American group like Tool ever got their hands on this song, it would end up sounding like that. However, the funk is revived with a bit of a spacey, housey edition of I'm Raving by Turntable Rocker, which seems to have absorbed some flair from early 90s dance hits, although it never quite reaches the same level of energy they had -- it's a bit more laidback. Oh well, what did I expect?

But here's a shudder moment: the beginning of Alexander Marcus' cover version of Nessaja. He's singing the chorus of Nessaja with only "nuh nuh nuh nuh" sounds, and his vocoder is making him sound off-key. It's horrendous. Not to mention the fact that the entire production is minimalist and sounds very cheap, plus there really isn't a climax to the track either, aside from some weird pitch changes to his "nuh nuh" singing later on. This song shouldn't have been made, but I guess Scooter needed one more track to fill up space on their Hands-On project. And to conclude, there's a strange goof shouting over tweaked samples from "One (Always Hardcore)" and the bassline from "Maria (I Like It Loud)" in Sexzwerg (Ich Schwirre) by RAF & Superdefekt featuring Schorsch Kamerun. What. The. Hell? That's all I have to say about this, but it's a slightly demented way to end the disc, and that's a fact.

I don't know if this was meant to be a creative forum for German artists to express their support for Scooter's works or a commercial black hole for the money of blind consumers willing to accept second-string songs from second-string artists. You be the judge. Either way, this ended up being a hodge-podge of styles that many Scooter fans probably won't be interested in, but if you like musical stew, here it is. As for the covers themselves, they range from fairly close and identifiable to pretty damn obscure and waaaaaay out there. In the end, I don't recommend this collection, save for a few songs. You'd be better off listening to Scooter themselves. At least they know how to cover themselves the right way!


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