Ren (obsessical) wrote,
Ren
obsessical

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Covers

Inspired by a long conversation with a professor today (that went off track of Camp and Cult into a discussion about adult swim, Kevin Smith, Futurama, and finally Matt and Trey), I listened to some good ol' DVDA on the way home. They do a mean cover of Primus' Sgt. Baker, which made me think: Fuck, I love covers. I mean, I try to "collect" them, almost, in my search for both good and bad covers. I decided, since I have so many, that I'd make a list of some of my absolute favorites, and share them with you folk. (These are in no particular order).

Sgt. Baker - DVDA
Originally by: Primus

I figured this was a good place to start. It's a shitty copy because it's from a live concert (these fuckers couldn't be bothered to get in a studio; their album is cobbled together from South Park, Team America, and live songs from one of the like, two or three concerts they did), but they gave the song such an amazing, jazzy quality. A song about gays in the military (kinda?) sounds almost...funky. I remember how disappointed I was when I found the Primus song lacking so many of the things I loved about the DVDA cover. The hooky bass line, Trey's warbling solos, Matt's sexy "Yesssahhh"...so amazing! Although you have to give Primus credit for "Steers and queers, steers and queers / Where you come from there's just steers and queers / And you ain't got no horns, boy"

Smooth Criminal - Alien Ant Farm
Originally by: Michael Jackson

After his death, it seems a little blasphemous to say, but I like this version better! It's also the first version I heard, when I was in middle school. Alien Ant Farm only had two songs that I knew, one being this cover, but shit if they weren't really good. This song was actually on the first CD I ever burned with songs from my computer. Maybe it's just because this song reminds me of the memories I have at dances in my middle school cafeteria, but I always dug this song. Not to cheapen the Michael Jackson version, because that is pretty awesome, and a little more haunting. This one just appealed more to the thirteen year-old me.

Crazy - Alanis Morissette
Originally by: Seal

Now I have to say, when I first heard that Alanis had covered one of my favorite Seal songs, I was pretty bummed. Because it really just seemed to come out of left field. It was when I was pretty unhappy with what she was doing with her music (Jagged Little Pill acoustic, really?) and I thought this would be another strange shitfest. I saw a bit of the weird video where she made herself look so overtly sexy, which was so unlike her. But when I truly gave this song a listen, I fell in love with it. Her voice is so amazing. The shouting behind the chorus in the Seal version is subtle, but she brings it to the foreground with such an intensity! She will always be one of my favorite musicians, always have such an intense and personal meaning to me, so I might be bias. I do love the Seal version, and hers is absolutely up to par with it. It's also worth mentioning that her cover of My Humps is hysterical, but not one of my favorites, so it's not on the list. You should check it out (and the video), though.

When You Were Mine - Cyndi Lauper
Originally by: Prince

I know you're probably thinking, "REN LOVES A COVER OF A PRINCE SONG BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL??" But I didn't say that. (Shhh don't tell prince). No, Prince's version is great, but since Cyndi actually released this first, I think it's okay to enjoy this version without feeling guilty, haha. One thing I've always liked about Cyndi Lauper is that she doesn't change gender pronouns when covering a song. I think that gives this love triangle song even more depth. The synth in this song is amazing, and it manages to stay upbeat while being incredibly depressing. I attribute this mostly to Cyndi's heartbreaking vocals. She sings so well about being hurt and being taken advantage of, it stings a little bit to listen to. At times she sounds close to tears, and that makes this a really amazing, powerful cover.

When You Were Mine - Tegan and Sara
Originally by: Prince

Yes, I have three different versions of this song. Hell, I'd love more. Tegan and Sara took this song and stripped it down to an angry guitar and some amazing harmonies. Their vocals are more raw than Cyndi (or Prince, for that matter), so they still lend some amazing emotion to the song. (How many times will I say 'amazing' during this post? A lot.) This version of the song is less like Prince's version, but I'm okay with that. When Cyndi sings it, she sounds victimized and hurt. Tegan and Sara sound pisssed the fuck off. It's a really great spin on an already great song. I like to think this is a cover of Cyndi's version, really. Either way, it definitely deserves to be on this list.

See the rest

Everybody's Happy Nowadays - Ash (ft. Chris Martin)
Originally by: The Buzzcocks

This song plays during the credits of Shaun of the Dead, which could attribute to my love for it. Edgar used to date the guitarist from Ash (Charlotte Hatherley), and Simon Pegg's the godfather for Chris Martin's daughter Apple. All that aside, this is such an amazing cover. To be fair, I heard it and fell in love with it before listening to the original, but I stand by my statement. Listen to this song and not dance. Or not think about dancing. It's near impossible. And Chris Martin's high-pitched chorus sounds so sad while singing about how happy everyone is, it's pretty impressive. I also absolutely adore the "Life is a dream" whispers. But it really does stand alone as a fucking awesome, danceable, happytime song. And I have to warn you, the version I uploaded contains some Shaun of the Dead dialogue at the end. Although that may make it more enjoyable for some of you.

Solid Gold Easy Action - The Fratellis
Originally by: T-Rex

This song is featured in the credits of Hot Fuzz! The Hot Fuzz soundtrack introduced me to the Fratellis (their song "Baby Fratelli" was also featured in the movie) and I'm so glad it did. They're such a sexy, high energy, gritty band. And they took T-Rex's excellent glam rock song and made it a little dirtier. Although it doesn't get much more gritty than "All I want is easy action," haha. Again, I heard this version before the T.Rex one, but they're both really excellent. And if you haven't already heard me harping about how amazing the Fratellis are, hopefully this song will inspire you to check them out (I recommend the album "Costello Music" over "Here We Stand," though the latter's not bad). And don't worry, folks, no "Fuzz" dialogue on this track.

Dancing With Myself - blink-182
Originally by: David Bowie

Now I know a lot of Bowie fans who would consider this absolutely horrible, and it kinda is. I have to say, this is one of my favorite covers, but not necessarily one of the BEST. And embarrassingly enough, I also heard this one before the Bowie version because I lived under a rock apparently. And I'm absolutely bias, because my love for blink-182 is deep. I believe any song can be improved by having Tom Delonge sing it. And this is very early blink, so musically, it's nothing special. But again, this is one of the first songs I downloaded on Napster (god, remember Napster?) so it's special to me. And I love Mark screaming "Sweat!" in the background, and talking about circumcisions at the end. Priceless. Shut up.

Starman - Mates of State
Originally by: David Bowie

I have nothing against Bowie songs, I swear! I just don't know much of his catalog, so I hear songs and am like "This is excellent! Is this new?" and then the Britt and Joe roll their eyes at me say, "It's a Bowie cover, duh." And again, I'm bias because I adore Mates of State. Their harmonies are so beautiful together, and the synth and drums combo is really fitting for this song. A beautifully crafted cover by an amazing band. And you gotta dig they way they sing "And all the children boo-gay." Again, if you haven't heard Mates of State yet, I urge you to pick up this song, and then get all of their albums, because I swear, there aren't any bad ones.

I Want You To Want Me - Letters 2 Cleo
Originally by: Cheap Trick

This is from the 10 Things I Hate About You soundtrack, and if you were my age (or around) when that movie came out, you probably think it's the bomb-diggity just as much as I do. It had a really great grrl!band soundtrack (because Kat is feisty!) and Letters 2 Cleo took this Cheap Trick song and totally 90s'd the fuck out of it. Or early naughties. Whatever, you get the point I'm trying to make here. There's not much to this Cheap Trick song, even Cheap Trick fans gotta admit that. Repetitive lyrics, pretty simple guitar, incredibly catchy. But it's got a lot of energy, and Letters 2 Cleo really packed it in there. Again, this is one of those covers that's special to me because of what era with which I associate it.

Bad Day - The Chipmunks
Originally by: Daniel Powter (yes, I had to look that up)

Okay, shut up, shut up, I'm a dork and I absolutely know it. But this was on my Top 50 Most Played iTunes list for quite some time. The complete accapella version in the film is actually better than this one with some cheap guitar chucked underneath it, but that makes me even dorkier still. I love me some sped up, pitched up Chipmunk songs. And I think anyone would admit that the song's not that great, so Chipmunking it improves it. Although I think that about most songs, in this case I think I'm right. This song is also on my guilty pleasure playlist, if that makes y'all feel any better.

Jingle Bell Rock - Corey Feldman
Originally by: Bobby Helms (yes, I had to look that up too)

While I'm being dorky, I'm gonna mention this atrocity. Again, a favorite of mine doesn't mean it's any good. In fact, this is pretty painful to listen to. It's not as bad as his cover of Lennon's Imagine, which I can't even link you to because it's so awful I can't bring myself to subject you to it. I think my favorite part is that the first few chords of the song sound so pained, as if Corey forgot he was singing a Christmas song. His whole first album sounds like this (except with more creepy wind sound effect), and it's absolutely tortured. Like, he really shouldn't have covered a Christmas song. He sounds absolutely miserable, he's half-shouting, half-crooning to no good effect. He's overly gutteral in the strangest places, and it comes off a bit like what a pedophile would sing drunkenly at a block party. I totally love the CRAP out of it. As I do his entire two albums worth of schlock. Well, I like one of the songs but this is not the time for me to troll his albums (although maybe I should sometime, that'd be fun). Stick to your day job, Feld-dog. And that doesn't include A&E series, mister.

River - Robert Downey Jr.
Originally by: Joni Mitchell

I put these songs back to back because they're both Christmas songs, but now I realize they're both Christmas songs covered by "musicians" (and I use that term loosely in Corey's case) who are normally just actors. Now RDJ's music is a WORLD of difference compared to Corey's. His voice is so pretty, and he's a talent pianist (heh heh) as well, although I don't know if he's playing on this recording. Now, I love the Joni Mitchell version of this song so much it's ridiculous. I actually tried to teach myself how to play it on the piano, but I didn't get very far because I haven't played the piano seriously in like, eight years (although I used to be good enough to win ribbons at State competitions, did y'all know that?). This song was recorded for the Ally McBeal soundtrack, because RDJ's character hates Christmas (it reminds him he can't be with his son) and plays only this Christmas song, because it's terribly horribly sad. But he sings so beautifully, and is so moving. And that's really saying something, since Joni's original version is so hauntingly beautiful and incredible (as she is). If you feel like crying at Christmas, this is the way to do it. (The lady background vocals in this song, I think, are Vonda Shepard, because she played in like, every damn episode of Ally McBeal and actually scored a title credit.) The only thing I don't like about this song is that RDJ changes the pronouns to suit his gender. I totally hate that. But it's very subtle and almost unnoticeable so I'll give him that one.

Everyday - Rogue Wave
Originally by: Buddy Holly

This is probably my favorite Buddy Holly song, and was covered by Rogue Wave for the Stubbs the Zombie video game soundtrack, which was a bunch of indie bands covering old 50s songs. (Sadly, Death Cab for Cutie's Earth Angel and Cake's Strangers in the Night don't make this list...) I've actually never heard any of Rogue Wave's original music, as the only other song I have of theirs is a cover of the Pixies' Debaser. But this song is absolutely one of my favorite covers because it does what every truly good cover should; it takes the original song, enhances the good bits and strengthens it in a new and interesting way. Rogue Wave adds this background melody that's so beautiful, and it takes the sweet parts of the original and really makes it its own. It slows it down and emphasizes the "hey hey"s so that the song really makes a new point, and it's just so fucking amazingly beautiful that you just need to listen to it already. It's hard to describe, and you really need to experience it for yourselves. Go forth!

Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps - Cake
Originally by: like, a million people. Doris Day was first, I think.

You gotta love Cake. Really, you do. They do a lot of good covers, and really just Cake-i-fy the original song. The version of this song used for the theme of Coupling was really great as well, but this one just screams awesome and trumpets and the deep, sexy voice of John McCrea. There's not much else to say, really. More songs needs trumpets and John McCrea, I think.

These Days - Mates of State
Originally by: Nico

I have tons of versions of this song because everyone really loves to cover it. And it's a great song, and to say any version is better than Nico's version is pretty shameful. But certain versions can come close, and I believe this is one of them. Again, my Mates of State bias is true, but this song is so simple and pretty. A little organ, a little piano, some two part harmony that sounds like it was recorded on a waxy old disc...pretty damn great. Mates of State is really great at making a great song sound so simple and beautiful and pure. They really pack some punch on the last line of the song, as well. This song always used to make me tear up on nighttime drives around lame little Perkasie. Truly beautiful.

Can you tell I'm getting tired? My descriptions are getting shorter and shorter. Which is probably great for some of you.

Do You Realize?? - The Postal Service
Originally by: The Flaming Lips

It would be hard to make a song more amazing and more beautiful than the Flaming Lips' Do You Realize?? The Postal Service, like Rogue Wave did with Everyday, really take this song and make it their own, replicating the great parts of the original and enhancing it. What's so great is you can instantly tell you're listening to the Postal Service, but you can also tell they're covering the Flaming Lips, even if you weren't familiar with the song (but really, who isn't?) The Lips version is a little more booming, and this version is a bit more stripped down and simple, which makes it more quaint and cute, I think. They've very much capture the spirit of the Flaming Lips in their own style, which is pretty fucking impressive if you think about it. Way to go, Ben Gibbard and that other guy!

Dead - Steve Burns
Originally by: They Might Be Giants

TMBG's Dead is one of my favorite songs. It is so special to me and so beautiful and important all on its own that I was mortified when I heard Steve Burns would be covering it. But I also really love Steve Burns music, so I figured I'd give him the benefit of the doubt and give this a listen. Thank god I did, because it's absolutely incredible. It gives the song even more depth, and a softer edge, because Steve's voice is so much softer than Linnell's ever could be. The lilting guitar almost fades into the background, but really keeps the song going. It's quieter and more childlike. Steve gives the song a bit more wonder, which is really in keeping with his excellent garbly space rock style. And his little whistling at the end is super adorable. I was afraid he'd ruin something so important to me, and he managed to make his version almost as important to me as TMBG's (which is REALLY, REALLY saying something if you know me at all).

A Little Respect - Wheatus
Originally by: ERASURE

This song is the first song I heard of Wheatus' since Teenage Dirtbag, and really made me want to listen to everything Wheatus has ever done ever. And since they're one of my favorite, FAVORITE bands, I really owe this song a lot. And I guess, I owe Erasure a lot too. But mostly pipry23, because she put it on a CD for me, re-exposing me to the awesomeness of Wheatus. Wheatus takes the original song and essentially plays it on the guitar, making it a little more "real" and pulling all the synthy 80s out of it. Which might not always be a good thing, but absolutely is in this case. Sometimes I listen to this song and tear up, sometimes I get goosebumps, somtimes I wanna jump around or sing or plead with someone. I definitely saved the best for last, because this song is so incredible and so amazing, and really, if you only listen to one of these covers, let it be this one. Brendan Brown's voice is so incredible and unique and engaging, that it will absolutely pull you in. Maybe, like me, you'll download their first album, and then their second and third, and then purchase a special edition of their EP, and a t-shirt, and so on and so on. God damn I love Wheatus. If only they'd tour around me, I'd pay so fucking much to see that. So fucking much.




So yeah! Those are my favorite covers. Please, take them so you can enjoy them at your leisure! Spread 'em around! Let me know if any of the links are broken! And please, if you have any awesome covers of your own to share, leave 'em in the comments! I'm always on board for some new, exciting covers.

I know it's not a substantial life update, but music posts are fun. My life's kinda boring at the moment. But tomorrow's my birthday! I'ma be 22, dear god. I'm graduating in December. I am so not ready for this shit. I'm still immature and ridiculous. Guess everybody's gotta grow up sometime. But not tonight. Tonight I'm gonna listen to Wheatus and eat Doritos in bed and maybe get some work done if I really put my mind to it. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll grow up.
Tags: meme, music
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