Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cover to Cover

I have received some requests for another visit into the subject of cover songs. For this playlist I've selected examples in which the cover artist has imposed their sound onto the song in a significant way. If you find yourself fascinated by the world of covers and are thirsty for more, I recommend you check out the Coverville podcast. Coverville is the "go to" place if you want to immerse yourself in covers.

  1. Crazy - Violent Femmes: To be honest, I could listen to the Gnarls Barkley original over and over and never tire of it. I think it's a perfect song, both harmonically and melodically. Gordon Gano's vocals give it a whole new feeling of mental instability.
  2. I Will Survive - Cake: All Hipster irony aside, this rocks. I believe they are are being earnest about the subject matter. Who can't relate to a good break up song? 
  3. Personal Jesus - Johnny Cash: This could have been a list of 25 Cash covers since he has recorded so many great ones. Cash captures what I always imagined Depeche Mode wanted the song to be, a dust bowl folk song dripping with spirituality. 
  4. I Fought the Law - The Clash: This song was first recorded by The Crickets, and made popular by the Bobby Fuller Four. Neither performances feel as if they come from residents of our correctional facilities. The Clash's take on the other hand ...
  5. Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinead O'Connor: This is a cover ?? Why yes it is. It was written by Prince, (the shorthand in the title is a dead giveaway), for a band named The Family in 1985. If this version doesn't give you goosebumps, you may wanna check yourself for a pulse. 
  6. Higher Ground - RHCP: Out-funk Stevie Wonder ???  Well maybe not, but the Chili Pepper's do give this track an energy all their own. 
  7. Everytime - Glen Hansard: Hansard has an amazing ability to hypnotize the listener. I hear him sing and everything else disappears. I was blissfully unaware of the Britney Spears original, and I'd like to think I've scored a few points with you for revealing that fact. 
  8. The Passenger - Kid Loco: Hey, I couldn't sing a song in French so I'm not touching the "English as a second language" aspect of this. It doesn't replace Iggy, (no one can), but it has a charming groove for you to hitch a ride on.
  9. Superstar - Sonic Youth: You may know the Carpenters version, but that wasn't the original either. It was co-written by Leon Russell, a man you may have read about in some groundbreaking blogs such as this one. It has been recorded by many others, however none sound like Sonic Youth. 
  10. Hard to Handle - The Black Crowes: Is there an Otis Redding song that hasn't been covered ? This Memphis soul classic easily saunters into the realm of southern rock.
  11. The Candy Man - Cibo Matto: Sammy Davis Jr. might roll over in his grave if he heard this. Sometimes you can get away with keeping very few aspects of the original song. This version threw out most everything except the lyrics. I can't say they are being faithful to the song's original intention, but it's a wonderfully dark and mysterious track.
  12. Tained Love/Where Did our Love Go? - Soft Cell: Here's a 2 for 1 deal for ya! Tained Love  was originally a B-side by Gloria Jones that was listened to by no one. Where Did our Love Go? was a far more successful release by The Supremes. This synth pop medley is easily one of the better musical contributions from the 80's. 
  13. Proud Mary - Ike and Tina Turner: I discovered this while digging though my mother's collection of 45's at the age of 7. They took a middle of the road Creedence Clearwater Revival song and turned it into a soul classic. I found the studio recording to be lacking the energy of this Soul Train performance. The recording quality is less than stellar, but I hope the mental image of Don Cornelius dancing makes up for that. 

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