Elvis Presley, "Viva Elvis - The Album"

Album Review
4

There are certainly some Elvis Presley aficionados who will choke on their peanut butter and banana sandwiches upon hearing this companion album to Cirque du Soleil's Las Vegas tribute to the King. The 12 tracks on "Viva Elvis-The Album" go even farther afield than the Beatles' "Love" in reinventing, reimagining and mashing up some of Presley's iconic work-and it's just as much of a hoot. Drawing from a variety of recorded Presley performances and samples, producer Erich van Tourneau and his crew of musicians add big rock guitars to "Blue Suede Shoes" and pair heavy metal power chords with brass for "Heartbreak Hotel." Elsewhere, new female vocals are added as counterpoints in "Love Me Tender," "King Creole" and "Can't Help Falling in Love," the last of which is turned into a soaring, rhythmic gospel ode. "That's All Right" bursts with "Lust for Life" energy, "Bossa Nova Baby" muscles up the beat and merges it with some contemporary electronic flavors, and a staccato treatment of "Burning Love" incorporates jungle noises and movie dialogue. It's all inventive and invigorating, offering proof that Presley's music can handle being all shook up.