Monday, March 16, 2009

Cover Wars: The Good, The Bad, and Madonna

As discussed in the last post, cover songs are a varied bunch. They can be awesome and better than its predecessor. They can be mediocre and not worth remarking on. More often than not, they flatline the very song they're trying to revive.

For the record, Don McLean should never be revived. I'm looking at you, Christiansen New Years Eve gathering. No more. And quit it with the Bohemian Rhapsody, while you're at it.

So here's a few good ones to keep in mind. The Fugees did a good job with "Killing Me Softly" by Roberta Flack (although they could do without Wyclef's ONE TIME! in the background). I attribute this to Lauryn Hill's voice sort of sounding like Flack's. And Fountains of Wayne earned cool points for "Baby One More Time" as mentioned in the last post (Travis too, kids). I am also a big fan of The Killers doing "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." And this one's a little more obscure, but Editors covering Gorillaz's "Feel Good Inc." And check out Cake's "I Will Survive" and Aqualung's "Somebody to Love." And sheerly because they took a Stevie Nicks song and made it sound good, The Dixie Chicks for "Landslide."

The ones I thought were average are versions that people seem to like more than me. While Michael Buble's "Fever" holds a special place in my heart, I feel like Peggy Lee's original is just as good. Frickin' A covering "Jesse's Girl" is okay, but not necessarily better than Rick Springfield's 80s anthem. This goes for The Ataris covering "Boys of Summer" too. And The Donnas made a good attempt at REO Speedwagon's power ballad "Keep On Lovin' You," but I wouldn't say it's better than the original. I want to say that Coldplay playing "Can't Get You Out of My Head" by Kylie Minogue is superior to the original, but really, it's about equal—Coldplay has the advantage of Chris Martin's voice and the band backing him, but Kylie Minogue has the advantage of synthesizers and her own voice.

As far as the bad ones go? I would vote Mariah Carey covering "Bringin' On The Heartache" by Def Leppard was a crime against my ears. Sheryl Crow covering "Sweet Child O' Mine" is also not right. Rihanna is not M.I.A. and should not sing "Paper Planes." Furthermore, the Counting Crows should not partner with Vanessa Carlton to sing Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi."

Any others?

No comments: