RMG/Today FM – 2004 – 60 minutes

The second volume of 'Even Better Than the Real Thing' picks up where its predecessor left off, taking a bunch of recent pop hits and reinventing them in aid of worthwhile causes.

Some of the tracks are as good as the originals; Juliet Turner's rendition of Britney Spears' 'Toxic', for example, is mellow and sounds great. It's a nice beginning to the album, which also features Bell X1 doing a gentler version of Justin Timberlake's 'Like I Love You' combined with Kylie's 'Slow'.

The collection's highlights, though, are Paddy Casey and the Dublin Gospel Choir performing Bill Withers' and Blackstreet's 'Grandma's Hand' and 'No Diggity', along with Casey's own 'Saints and Sinners'. These sound like really spirited impromptu jamming sessions, where the artists are having fun more than anything.

While there are some interesting interpretations - Vyvienne Long's cover of the White Stripes' 'Seven Nation Army' for instance - some of the songs are just awful. The collection is supposed to be tongue in cheek, but these tracks are taking it too far.

Mickey Harte's rendition of Eamon's expletive-ridden 'I Don't Want You Back' and Roesy's version of Beyoncé's terrible 'Naughty Girl' are cause for bewilderment. There's no denying their popularity, but there's also no getting away from the fact that better songs would raise more money for such worthy causes as the National Children's Hospital and Barretstown.

Katie Moten

Tracklisting: Juliet Turner: Toxic – Bell X1: Like I Love You/Slow – Vyvienne Long: Seven Nation Army – Glen Hansard & Colm MacConlomaire of The Frames: Everytime – The Walls: These Words – Paddy Casey feat the Dublin Gospel Choir: Grandma's Hand/No Diggity – Brian Kennedy: Dry Your Eyes – Roesy: Naughty Girl – Dublin Gospel Choir feat Paddy Casey: Saints and Sinners – Mickey Harte: I Don't Want You Back – Ann Blake: Hole in the Head – Bic Runga: Sway – Declan O'Rourke & Josh Johnson: See it in a Boy's Eyes