Later this year, the veteran super-producer Trevor Horn will release his new all-star covers album Echoes – Ancient & Modern. Horn has teamed up with a bunch of famous singers, most of whom are past collaborators, to cover a bunch of big songs, some of which were originally produced by Horn. The LP will feature some real wild oddities like Tori Amos taking on Kendrick Lamar. We’ve already posted Lady Blackbird’s take on Grace Jones’ “Slave To The Rhythm” and Seal’s version of Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out.” Today, it’s Marc Almond doing Pat Benatar.
There’s a real contrast baked into this song. Pat Benatar comes from the same early-’80s synthpop era as both Trevor Horn and Marc Almond, but she’s one of that moment’s great bluesy growlers. Marc Almond, most famous as one half of Soft Cell, is more of a louche, decadent crooner. It’s fun to hear Horn and Almond turn “Love Is A Battlefield,” Benatar’s immortal 1983 smash into sleek, pulsing dance-pop. In a press release, Almond says:
When Trevor messaged me out of the blue about recording the song “Love is A Battlefield,” I was immediately intrigued. Firstly, I was excited about working with Trevor again after so long, we had last worked together in the early 90´s on the Tenement Symphony record, from which I had a string of Trevor-produced hits, and secondly I knew it was going to be an adventure. He is such a phenomenal talent…
I was intrigued by the song, as it wasn’t one I would have chosen for myself. People all too often pick obvious songs for me they think I would like and so often get it wrong. But this was something else. I like a challenge and to do the unexpected. Trevor knows how to bring out the best in a vocal performance, and the final result I was absolutely thrilled with. Every record he makes is a pop opera with his inimitable stamp on it. Trevor was right in his song choice.
This Pat Benatar song is a great example of a simple-seeming love song that says so much. It’s perfect for Marc to get inside because that’s what he does so well. He sings his heart out telling a dramatic, emotional story — love, and living itself, has been a battlefield all through his life. You can hear it in his voice, wounded but undefeated, and it seemed a song that should be one of his staples.
Below, listen to Trevor Horn and Marc Almond’s version of “Love Is A Battlefield” and check out the classic video for the Pat Benatar original.
Echoes – Ancient & Modern is out 12/1 on Deutsche Grammophon.