Day 20: Mando Diao – Above and Beyond MTV Unplugged

Day 20: Mando Diao – Above and Beyond MTV Unplugged

Tracklist (all songs performed live) (2 CD Special Edition)

  1. Long Before Rock ‘n’ Roll
  2. Sheepdog
  3. Losing My Mind
  4. Chet Baker (with Lana Del Rey)
  5. Gloria (with Lana Del Rey)
  6. Song for Aberdeen
  7. All My Senses
  8. Dance With Somebody
  9. High Heels (with Juliette Lewis)
  10. Down In The Past (long version)
  11. How We Walk
  12. No More Tears
  13. You Can’t Steal My Love
  14. Ochrasy
  15. The New Boy
  16. Ringing Bells
  17. Mean Street
  18. Your Lover’s Nerve
  19. Mr. Moon
  20. Hail Your Sunny Days
  21. Victoria (with Ray Davies)
  22. Bleecker Street
  23. If I Don’t Live Today, Then I Might Be Here Tomorrow
  24. God Knows

About the Album

Above and Beyond – MTV Unplugged, is a CV/DVD recording of an unplugged show in Berlin on September 2nd 2010. The tracklist features 24 songs that are performed acoustically. The songs range from their very first album, Bring ‘Em In, to their 2009 release, Give Me Fire!, as well as new tracks. The performance features guest musicians Juliette Lewis, Ray Davies, Klaus Voormann and Lana del Rey performing as well as their former keyboarder, Daniel Haglund, who also appears as guest and additional musician.

About the Tracklist

If you’ve ever listened to these songs plugged in, you feel the energy that comes from listening to them. The voices of Björn Dixgård and Gustaf Norén sound fragile and the songs reveal a melancholic character when performed to a slowed down tempo.

That said, lets start with the two new songs from MD. “Losing My Mind” a beautiful, but rather melancholic ballad that believe it or not will have you singing along to it. The song is easy to relate to. What makes this song, even more beautiful is the string section that comes in during the bridge/solo. I couldn’t find the DVD clip of “Losing My Mind”, so here’s the Swedes performing it live…

The other new song, “No More Tears” was actually originally a demo recording from over seven years ago under the name “I Want Your Love”. They rewrote the original demo tune and called it “No More Tears”.

Here’s the original version… or as the old folks call it… a bootleg; or as the kids today call it… a YouTube Clip:

The Above and Beyond version, the “new” version is almost the direct opposite (sans the polishing). “No More Tears”, is a song that will make your day. It is one of the most perfect break up songs out there. The chemistry that Norén and Dixgård share on stage is incredible. Interesting to note, “No More Tears” sounds a wee bit like The Coral‘s “Dreaming of You”.

(I couldn’t find the actual clip from the DVD but here’s clip of them performing “No More Tears” live)

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As for the rest of the songs, take “God Knows” aka track 24 (or track 15 on the single version) for example. Gustaf asks the entire audience to join him on stage. 300 people. It’s a giant party on stage with the band. The song gets everyone dancing along to it.

Probably one of the highlights is definitely “Victoria” with Ray Davies. Ray Davies starts singing and the rest of the band, including Dixgård and Norén join in. Each of the three (Davies, Dixgård, and Norén) taking a verse and coming back together for the chorus.

“High Heels” features the vocal styling of Gustaf Norén and Juilette Lewis. It is an interesting take on the song. Lewis’ voice adds a different dynamic than Dixgård’s and makes this version completely and uniquely different from the original version.

Other two songs of note: track four, “Chet Baker” features Lana Del Rey on vocals. This is also the case on the next song, “Gloria”, but her role is more of a backing vocalist. It’s another interesting case to her a woman sing the role that usually either Gustaf or Björn sing. But it adds to the album’s experience.

Thoughts on the Album

Mando Diao took their best songs, added two new ones, added a few b-sides, added some “premier” guest musicians with this Unplugged performance/album, and turned them into great acoustic songs, which sound absolutely amazing. One of the strange things with this band is, they never get boring. Mando Diao is a band whose songs are so great and different that you can listen to it as a rock song and also as an unplugged version. If you are wondering if MTV Unplugged still exists, look no further for it does… in Europe… and Mando Diao gave them a masterpiece. It is inspired and unexpexcted arrangements of the songs, perfect sound quality; the songs are slower and more intense than ever.

Conclusion

If you are not a Mando Diao Fan, listen to it and you will love it. Then listen to the plugged in versions and hear the difference, but still experience the same thoughts from the unplugged versions. Usually I’m more a fan of the 5 Swedes plugged in versions, but this album just blew me way.

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