Sunday, March 16, 2008

THE SECOND GLANCE: COVERS #2

Wow, it's been a while since I've done a proper covers post, huh? Been building up quite a nice collection here, so I'm hoping you'll like the ones I've set aside for this time around. Actually gonna give you some double shots, see how different people recreate the same song.

The Magic Numbers - Crazy in Love (covering Beyonce)
The Puppini Sisters - Crazy in Love (covering Beyonce)

This song has popped up everywhere, from the radio in its initial run back in 2003 to appearing on Dance Dance Revolution recently. It's also a pretty popular cover, and both of these take the original and do something interesting and great with it, showcasing the desperation behind Beyonce's fancy beats. The Puppini Sisters send the song back into the 1940's, keeping the fast pace but replacing the modern hiphop stylings with olden-days style background music, and harmonizing the song with three voices. Meanwhile, a recent discovery for me, The Magic Numbers' great take on the song, a more low-key indie style interpretation, deconstructing the song back to its core emotions. Far from the fast dance beats of the original, this version is a depressed male-vocal led song bemoaning the loss of a lover, despite making no lyrical changes or changing the actual mechanics of the song.

This Mortal Coil feat. Elizabeth Fraser - Song to the Siren (covering Tim Buckley)
The Czars - Song to the Siren (covering Tim Buckley)


This Mortal Coil's version has been a longtime favourite, first of my older sister Kara's and then my own. Elizabeth Fraser (of the Cocteau Twins) does an amazing job of the song, even if some of the words become a little blurred, its still completely beautiful. Little did I know, a band I recently discovered called The Czars released a covers album a couple years back that included a magnificent cover of the song as well. At an epic 7 minutes long, its a gorgeous pursuit and a real contender for the best cover version of the song.

Shannon Wright - Asleep (covering The Smiths)
Carissa's Wierd - Asleep (covering The Smiths)

I will admit I think The Smiths' "Asleep" may the the saddest song ever composed, barring none. I'm in love with it, and the intense emotions I associate with it, and I'm always intrigued by covers of it. Carissa's Wierd brings a real stripped-down, almost spoken sound to the song, with very simple instrumentation. This half-singing brings another style of sadness and desperation to the song. I find it hard, meanwhile, to properly describe Shannon Wright's version, which is also beautiful even as it sometimes comes off as a little overdramatic, a little too affected to draw out the emotions the original does. However, few songs can compare to the original "Asleep", and both of these are brave and relatively successful attempts to look at the song from a new angle.

Tricky - The Lovecats (covering The Cure)
OK Go - The Lovecats (covering The Cure)


Hearing rapper Tricky's take on the immortal song is interesting, as in his hands the song is dark, raspy and seductive. The song always had elements of sexual intrigue to it, but this takes the excitement of the original and turns it into an invitation into the darkness; Tricky's lovecats must be black cats, the avatars of a dark enchantress, drawing you away into the night. OK Go, meanwhile, are more faithful to the original but also have their own sound attached, adding a bit of crazed playfulness. The original "The Lovecats" is a rather creepy song when you get down to it, and both of these covers do that great justice.

Utada Hikaru - With or Without You (covering U2)
Scala & Kolacny Brothers - With or Without You (covering U2)


Japanese pop star Utada Hikaru takes on an old favourite, and does it very well here. Her voice is low, with the emotions clear in it; the desperation, the sadness and even the anger are evident in her rendition. The simple piano works great before more music kicks in properly. Her voice is magnificent here, taking the heights impressively. Meanwhile, a potentially even more beautiful version comes from our favourite chior Scala & Kolacny Brothers, whose version of the song is breathtaking, truly. If you've been following this blog I'm hoping you've picked up a song or two of theirs in the past, and I'd say this is one of their best.

And, as a bonus, the lonely but awesome...

Sia - Gimme More (covering Britney Spears)

Now, this doesn't have a partner, but it stands pretty well on its own. It takes Britney Spears' expensively produced and sexy song and turns it into a stripped-down piano-and-vocals performance that reeks of sadness, sleaze and sex. Sia's protagonist is a sad creature, an exhibitionist trapped in her own need for attention and sex but not, in and of herself, sexy. It's sad and yet, Sia's vocals are still wonderful and draw you into the song. Then, you begin to hear that same person in the original, trying her best to be sexy and yet coming off as desperate and self-deluded.

3 comments:

Kara said...

Okay, alright, the czars is ALMOST as good as This Mortal Coil. Wicked, and thankyou. This post has rocked, looking forward to giving these a listen, especially Utada Hikaru. Purrrrrrr. Thanks B Bot!

Demiurge said...

Both covers of With or Without You are fabulous, as are the other covers (I had a couple of'em already). Thank you muchly!

Anonymous said...

can you please reup the covers of with or without you?