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Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp - 18

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 8 / 9 / 2022

Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp - 18
Label: Rhino
Format: CD


Well-crafted and credible collection of mainly covers from British guitarist Jeff Beck and controversial Hollywood star Johnny Depp

Having won his recent defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard, controversial Hollywood star Johnny Depp's first career move is not a major movie but a duet album with British guitar icon Jeff Beck. Depp has always been passionate about music and is a good friend and admirer of Beck. Their new record is dominated by covers and it has been three years in the making - so work on it had begun long before this year's brutal marital courtroom drama. Both performers seem genuinely serious about their project, too. They originally bonded over a shared love of exotic cars and guitars and have already released a lockdown-inspired cover of John Lennon's ‘Isolation’ to considerable critical acclaim. “When Johnny and I started playing together, it seemed to ignite a youthful spirit and creativity in both of us. We'd laugh about how we suddenly felt full of energy like we were 18 again, so that became the album's title,” 78 year-old Beck explains. “I just hope people will take Johnny seriously as a musician, because he is a seriously good musician! For the last decade, he's been a member of LA supergroup, the Hollywood Vampires, alongside Alice Cooper and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry – and those guys are very accomplished players! Yet some people find it hard to accept Johnny can actually sing rock and roll and play guitar...but he is really very, very good!” Depp fans should enjoy their idol's unexpected return - and it is also possible that ’18; will win Beck some new followers too. Beck's guitar work is as fresh, expressive and adaptable as it has ever been - and he clearly remains as brilliantly talented as he was back in 1965 when he succeeded Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds and helped redefine the role of the guitar in rock music. He deploys atmospheric effects galore and shimmers majestically on the three instrumental numbers on ‘18’, including two tracks from the Beach Boys' ‘Pet Sounds’. Depp performs solidly throughout. His rhythm guitar work is flawless and the first of his two original songs on ‘18’ is well-crafted. “’his Is A Song For Miss Hedy Lamarr’ is a decent ballad about the Viennese-born American screen goddess who had a strange double-life as the inventor of a radio guidance system that ultimately led to the technology behind Bluetooth and GPS. Depp's second song, ‘Sad Motherf***in' Parade’ is a rant about a toxic relationship which might or might not have been aimed at Amber Heard. It is rather petulant and less palatable. There is a reasonable cover of Marvin Gaye's ‘What's Going On’ and Depp dovetails well with Beck on a tender version of former Beach Boy Dennis Wilson's ‘Time’. A particularly insightful moment is when, singing in hushed tones, Depp is self-aware enough to confront his demons in ‘Stars’, a lacerating Janis Ian song from 1974 about how fame doesn't guarantee happiness. ‘18’ is far more than just a vanity project for a troubled Hollywood star who is seeking to live out his pop or rock fantasies. And the presence of the evergreen Jeff Beck certainly gives the album true rock and roll credibility!

Track Listing:-
1 Midnight Walker
2 The Death And Resurrection Show
3 Time
4 Sad Motherfuckin' Parade
5 Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)
6 This Is A Song For Miss Hedy Lamarr
7 Caroline, No
8 Ooo Baby Baby
9 What's Going On
10 Venus In Furs
11 Let It Be Me
12 Stars
13 Isolation

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