I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot recently, but today, I’m going to try something a little different- not much different, but different nonetheless. Today I’m going to be reviewing a youtube star- Jake Coco (and friends).
First, a little history. Jake Coco is not a (commercially) famous artist. You haven’t heard his stuff on the radio, his stuff hasn’t climbed the Billboard charts. That being said, he’s also one of the single best artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to, and especially with the latest collab cover he made, he’s becoming somewhat of an internet sensation. Jake’s first album came out in 2006, and since then has released, according to iTunes, a total of 6 albums and 25 singles (which I’ll admit are mostly in the albums). While I haven’t found any concrete timeline for this, I can take a stab at what I imagine happened- Jake’s first two albums, Broken Hearts and Fairy Tales and Re-defining Love, are solely original creations, came out in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Then, Jake Coco pretty much just dropped off the map again, probably due to bad sales, until 2011, where he comes out with a cover of a single in February and then a whole album of covers by early March, under the title “Under the Covers v. 1”. Since then he’s cranked out the covers, making four full albums in the last two years, the last of which came out a little over a week ago. He often performs with a whole bunch of his friends, notably Caitlin Hart, Sara Niemetz, Corey Gray, and Madilyn Bailey.
So what’s special about Jake Coco? First off, he’s got one hell of a range of musical talents. He sings, plays guitar, bass, drums, piano, violin (not in the videos, unfortunately) and others, and most of his youtube videos feature videos of him playing all of them. He makes all the music for his songs! Pretty cool. Second, like any reasonable cover, Jake brings his own style into the songs, changing them, adapting them, loaning his own style. Also like any reasonable cover artist, sometimes, the covers don’t match up to the original. Sometimes, the songs come out as comparable to the original, and both are good. However, what I’m most impressed with is how Jake can take some songs that I really like, and then make them better. He’s a phenomenal musician, his friends are all incredibly talented as well, and he’s clearly got a lot of passion for what he does.
If I had any criticisms of Jake, (Well, let’s face it, we’re talking about me here. I always have unwarranted criticism!) I would mention two things. First, I’d like to see some more of Jake’s original work. He hasn’t released a single original title since 2007, and I couldn’t tell you why. If you look around at his group of friends that he sings with, all of them do covers. I mean, look at how many covers of We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together I can find, just amongst the list of friends on Jakes YouTube channel! However, I’ve been able to pull out (recent) original work from any of his given friends, and I’ve liked a fair amount of it (I now subscribe to the Caitlin Hart and Sara Niemetz channel and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Corey Gray on this list not soon before long.) Jake is the only one who really seems to solely focus on covers. What happened to the original work? Where did it go?
Second, a message for Jake. Please Drop The Goddamned Autotune. I know that a lot of the songs that you’re covering use autotune to give their voice that extra special whatever, but what I like about you and what I like about your friends is that you guys are not those artists, that you’re taking their songs and doing it your way. Drop the autotune, kick it right out the window into the land of post-defenestration, abolish that practice! I can’t even begin to tell you how your version of Some Nights would have been better than the original if Caitlin Hart hadn’t autotuned her voice in that one part.
I’m hoping to see more from Jake in the future. Something that I would love to see is one of those “huge collaboration” videos of some original content! Looking forward to it.