Friday, November 16, 2007

I Get All the Songs, I Get All the Songs...

If you read the opening post and downloaded the Intro package, you should have a pretty good grasp of my most-listened to music. Now, I have another passion: cover songs. Not only are they a great way to uncover new musicians, but they give a delicious new view of a song you've heard a thousand times or even only once. Whether it disgraces the original or surpasses it, it's an interesting experiment that can yield true gems.

So, 6 of my favourite covers off the top of my head:

Tori Amos - She's Leaving Home (The Beatles cover) (Sendspace link)
I must admit something: though I once loved them, I cannot stand listening to the Beatles nowadays. Maybe it was too much in my youth, but there's something about them I can no longer stand. That said, their songs are often fantastic, and this is no different. Dropping the overly bouncy tone and dozy chorus of the original, Tori makes this song work to her style - her version is a beautiful, piano-driven tale. Live cover.

Dragonette - The Boys (Calvin Harris cover) (link)
The original, 'The Girls', is an amusing but forgettable ode to the straight male's sexuality. Dragonette, the queen of fun, sexually-charged songs, takes the same song, but doesn't merely switch the pronouns. This version has an additional section in the middle and adds a bit to the chorus, vital edits that help make it a song that dares you not to dance, or at least bop in your seat. It sounds joyful without falling into 'The Girls' trap of sounding vaguely lecherous, which is a victory in my book.

Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright - Careless Whisper (George Michael cover) (link)
I've never heard the original, but this live rendition of a strangely popular, cover-wise, song is probably the best I've heard. These two interpret the song into a heartbreaking plea for impossible forgiveness, and their voices work surprisingly well. The piano works well as well, as I think it's only behind possibly the violin in perfect atmosphere for sad songs.

Bettie Serveert - Love I Don't Have to Love (Bright Eyes cover) (link)
A song about ignoring pain through mindless, anonymous sex, it works perfectly with an intense sound behind BS lead singer Carol van Dijk's tragic version of an already-bleak song. It's loud, it's dark and its painful in a good way. I spent a couple days after discovering it just playing it almost constantly, because it's that good.

Westlife - Total Eclipse of the Heart (Bonnie Tyler cover) (link)
Looking at the ever-popular song through a male perspective, this song is sometimes hilarious, which is a sobering reminder of gender roles and how, if this weren't a cover, the singers would be decried as 'gay whiners'. That said, it's an extremely well-done cover, with appropriate piano and two guys filling in for Bonnie Tyler alone.

Vienna Teng - Cannonball (Damien Rice cover) (link)
The original, while gorgeous, began to grate after a number of listens. This version is a fresh and equally gorgeous take on the song. Vienna Teng's voice here is on top form, soaring, an arctic wing blowing through your heart and covering your skin in chills. Breathtakingly beautiful.

Now, there are far from the only covers I love. I have a collection of dozens, so you'll be pleased to know they'll probably pop up quite a bit on this blog.

And for easy downloading en masse...


Now, though I'm not planning on uploading them right now (maybe later if you ask nicely), here are some covers I also love that you might want to keep an eye out for:

CAKE - I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor cover)
Alanis Morissette - My Humps (Fergie cover)
Final Fantasy - Cliquot (Beirut cover)
The Cranberries - Go Your Own Way (The Cardigans cover)
Jonna Lee - The District Sleeps Alone Tonight (The Postal Service cover)
MDL - Naked As We Came (Iron & Wine cover)

And ANYTHING by Scala and Kolacny Brothers. If I don't devote a whole post to them later, that is.

Thus concludes our momentary dip into the world of covers. Trust me, there's an ocean out there, just waiting...

[** Title paraphrases a line from 'The Boys'.]


Wendy77 said...

Love that Tori cover.

Some of mine:

1)Between the Bars - Elliot Smith (Madeline Peyroux cover)
2)Since U Been Gone/Maps - Ted Leo
3)Seven Nation Army - The BossHoss (White Stripes)

I LOVE covers too, just don't have my iTunes with me right now to check. Maybe we'll have to do a battle.

ALSO, we should do a post featuring songs titles/album titles/band names featuring the word Wolf/Wolves. Wolves are fucking trendy right now.

The Alden said...

Battle of the covers! I would so beat your ass, I have so goddamn many. :D

Heh, they are. Good wolves are finally getting some respect, even if it's from the indie music community and not the hunters who kill them. Might be an interesting post, though.