Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Songs of love that cling to you.

  • Ani DiFranco and Jackie Chan "Unforgettable" (Nat King Cole cover)
    Yes, you read right. See, sometimes fucked-up covers just sprout up of an artist's own volition and, in the best-case scenario, the performer has no idea that people will think it's completely wack. Other times, some brilliant [?] label rep or producer gets a bee in his or her bonnet to purposely create what they believe will become a CD full of outsider art by getting artists to agree to record songs or create musical (and I use that term loosely) partnerships no one would see coming. Um, yeah. I'm not sure that's how it works, fellas. But if you can get past how much the resulting tracks smack of effort, you'll find they're pretty par for the course in Bizarre Coverland. Still, why anyone who would set out to purposely create something that's not very good is somewhat beyond me, Ryan Adams aside, of course. (What's that you say? He doesn't know he sucks? Damn, that doesn't seem possible, but I digress.) I'll let you be the judge: If this song fell in the woods, would you hear it?

  • Bl├╝mchen "Bicycle Race" (Queen cover)
    As anyone who's found themselves at a gay bar at 4 a.m. pulsating to a covered and/or remixed version of "Candle in the Wind (Goodbye England's Rose)" can tell you, nothing is sacred in the realm of dance music. This track is further evidence. Sure, "Bicycle Race" isn't an austere masterpiece beyond musical reproach, by any means, but it's always a bit disconcerting when a German-TV-host-turned-pop-star uses the work of people with considerably more talent to add a few more deutschmarks to her bank account. (This was pre-euro, you understand.) Eh, who am I kidding? I'm not bitter. I love shit like this. Why else would I be here writing about it? When I'm already in the process of doing something productive and this hits my shuffle play, I find myself happily singing along and moving significantly faster. This begs the question, of course, why hasn't Brooke Burke or Jules Asner put out a few dance cover tracks yet? Just imagine how clean my dishes would be!
  • Monday, March 29, 2004

    I hated you ... I loved you too.

  • Cinerama "All the Things She Said" (T.A.T.U. cover)
    I really don't care what anyone says, I think T.A.T.U. songs are brilliant and that they were one of the best pop acts of the whole modern bubblegum wave. Their cover of the Smiths' "How Soon is Now" (which may or may not surface here at some point) aside, of course. Man, that was bad. If you're unfamiliar with Cinerama, you should know that it's a guy from the Wedding Present and his girlfriend. If you're unfamiliar with the Wedding Present, don't worry. Lots of people are.

  • White Flag" Wuthering Heights" (Kate Bush cover)
    This one's from my favorite cover album, Freedom of Choice: Yesterday's Hits as Performed by Today's Stars. While I certianly hope the creators were using the term "stars" ironically, it's pretty solid as far as cover albums go. I stumbled on it in 1992 at The Den in Bloomington and it remained in my player for about eight months. What can I say? The '80s were only gone for two years and I was already nostalgic. Little did I know that a mere 10 years later half of the hot indie bands would be wearing bobby socks with fluorescent pumps and ripping off Gary Numan and The Cars.

  • The Softies "Together Forever" (Rick Astley cover)
    Okay, I admit it: I'm a real sucker for a couple of cute indie gals with a keyboard and a guitar harmonizing an '80s dance hit into a sad, hopeful ballad.

  • System of a Down "The Metro" (Berlin cover)
    Most '80s covers you find online are performed by industrial, ska, "punk" or alt-metal bands. Most also make me want to peel my skin off because they're so fucking terrible. This one? I can keep my skin on as long as I don't picture Serj Tankian singing it. There's just something about that guy that completely creeps me out.

  • Mary Lou Lord "Jump" (Van Halen cover)
    See the comment about Softies song above. Of course, they never sucked Kurt's cock.

  • Young Fresh Fellows "Shake Your Love" (Debbie Gibson cover)
    I read about this in a magazine in the late '80s and heard it on some radio show soon thereafter, possibly on WXRT before it started to really suck (aka pre-Poi dog Pondering and Dave Matthews Band). I hunted for the bootleg LP for years to no avail. Then I forgot about it until a month ago when I added it to my Soulseek Wishlist. About two days ago, it finally surfaced thanks to some geek somewhere who took the time to record the vinyl version and turn it into an mp3. And now here it is, nearly 15 years after I first learned of it. Was it worth the wait? Meh. It's fine.

  • "Shock the Monkey" (Peter Gabriel cover)
    This is the only Peter Gabriel solo song that doesn't make me want to retch and it's okay, I guess. I wish Ozzy Osbourne weren't practically Howdy Doody now, it would be infinitely cooler. As much as I initially liked that show when it began, I admit I had no idea what a negative impact its success would have on my opinion of how much Ozzy rocked in the past.
  • Tuesday, March 23, 2004

    Collaborate and listen.

  • Ben Kweller "Ice Ice Baby" (Vanilla Ice cover):

  • The Movie Trailer Guy "Gin & Juice" (Snoop Dogg cover):

  • Mountain Goats "The Sign" (Ace of Base cover):
    Currently my favorite cover in my rotation. It's good to know there are other people out there who allowed the Ace of Base to infiltrate their consciousnesses, however ironically.

  • Los Hermanos Calatrava "Space Odddity" (David Bowie cover):
    Oddity, indeed.

  • William Hung vs. Outkast "She Bangs / Hey Ya" (American Idol reject covering Ricky Martin fucking Andre 3000 in the ass):
    More than a cover. More than a cover to me.

  • Dana Gould "Clown Fucker" (Morrissey parody):
    Not a cover at all, but a loving (I think) tribute nonetheless.
  • Wednesday, March 17, 2004

    I was like you.

  • The Max Raabe Orchestra "Oops, I Did it Again" (Britney Spears cover):
    A dandy fop of a German cabaret singer with an obviously great sense of humor covering Britney? You know you want it.

  • Rebecca Romijn-Stamos "Darling Nikki" (Prince cover):
    So, John Stamos produces a Prince tribute CD and decides that geek fans of his wife need a little more masturbation fodder and coaxes her into this. It neither sucks nor rules, but at least Nikki remained female. Because America loves hot-girl homosexuality, you know?

  • Feederz "Have You Never Been Mellow?" (Olivia Newton-John cover):
    When I was a teenager still deluding myself that I'd somehow become famous, I dreamed of being the first person to cover this song. A few years later, I saw some movie (involving skinheads, I think) that had a punk cover of "HYNBM" in it and my dream was shattered and now I'm a 31-year-old with a journalism degree and no job. Whatever. Anyhow, I can't remember for the life of me what the movie was ("Romper Stomper"? "No Skin Off My Ass"? Please, if you know the movie and whether this is the version or not, let me know!), but I'm pretty sure this is it. As for this version, uh, either they missed the point of the original lyrics or had a really good sense of irony or both. I'll try not to remain bitter that they killed my will.

  • Party Animal[s?] "Have You [N]Ever Been Mellow?" (Olivia Newton-John cover):
    Uh, well, at least something, uh, positive came of Alvin and the Chipmunks getting run over by the Vengabus.

  • Little Richard "I Feel Pretty" (from West Side Story):
    Yeah. He sang it, but changed the gender to suit him. As if it even matters when you're covering this song.

  • Lush "I Have the Moon" (Magnetic Fields cover):
    Have you never been mellow? Then take a cue from Lush, and slip away into dreampop. Kinda boring as covers go, but I wanted to add something a little less wacky to cleanse your palate.

  • Hassan "My Name is Luka" (Suzanne Vega cover):
    I'm all for experimental interactive covers. It's like an excerpt from a Europop version of Crank Yankers but without the puppets. You know, a Jerky Boys with a pop sensibility.

  • Uncle Outrage "Turn Off the Light (Nelly Furtado cover):
    Sometimes the only way to purge an annoyingly ubiquitous pop song is to record your own far more insane and annoying version of it. And, if you're smart and have compassion for listeners, you'll follow the trend set by Uncle Outrage and stop after 52 seconds.
  • Sunday, March 14, 2004

    Seemed like the real thing, only to find ...

  • Some guy at Hidden Cove (video) "Good Enough" (Bobby Brown cover):
    I forgot this song existed until last night, and was dumbstruck that this guy knew it inside and out. Sadly, this isn't the best part of his act, but it's the only part I taped. In general, the rest of the performance involved some pretty insane dancing. I was truly in awe.

  • Pansy Division "Flower" (Liz Phair cover):
    This sounds a lot like Buddy Holly covering Liz Phair to me. God bless Pansy Division.

  • Dannii Minogue "Coconut" (Harry Nilsson cover):
    Holy crap, I just went to Dannii's official site and saw that, in her "Bio" section, she lists "the rainbow" as her favourite colour. And she's a year older than I am. Yeah, that pretty much says it all.

  • Vitamin C "Last Nite" (Strokes cover):
    Ha! The V2 label's Vitamin C site, which was last updated about a year ago, says this about this track: "Already massive in the clubs, the cover of The Strokes 'Last Nite' produced in the style of Blondie's 'Heart and Glass' [sic] is going to be a huge hit this summer." "Heart and Glass." You just can't make this shit up. I guess it didn't take off too well, as Vitamin C is no longer listed in the "Artists" list on the current V2 site.

  • Off the Beat (UPenn's acapella group) "Crawling in the Dark" (Hoobastank cover):
    Despite hearing it many times, I didn't know that the original "Crawling in the Dark" was by Hoobastank until I looked it up. That makes sense, I guess, because my brain likely buried it deep in the recesses of my subconscious because, as any logical person knows, Hoobastank is probably the worst name for a band ever. It almost sounds as if they signed a deal with the devil for a hit single, but the devil wrote in a clause that in order to get this one hit single, they'd have to use a terrible name of his choosing. Either that or the band was hanging out in the frat house getting high and trying to come up with their version of a clever-sounding name. That didn't work out so well now, did it boys? Oh, and college acapella groups that cover modern hits? I'm intrigued with them much in the same way as I'm intrigued by HBO's Autopsy. I don't want to look or listen, but I can't turn away.
  • Tuesday, March 09, 2004

    Will things ever be the same again?

  • Jason Loveall "I Can't Get You Out of My Head" (Kylie Minogue cover)
    Jason is a friend of mine who is in the Milwaukee/Chicago band The Danglers—not to be confused with the "punk" NYC Strokes-like Danglers, who apparently unsuspectingly stole the name a few years ago). The backstory on this is that when the Kylie hit became inescapable a month or two after its U.S. release, ol' Jason appropriately found that he couldn't get it out of his head. In order to exorcize this demon from his brain, with the help of computer recording technology, he created this, um , masterpiece. It's kinda dark and gothy, not unlike, perhaps, Bauhaus. Yeah, the beats are a little off and it kinda sounds like he's a dying cow, but it's fun nonetheless. It also predated the live Flaming Lips cover (and the many others) that began surfacing months later. Most importantly, it fucking cracks me up.

  • The Axel Boys Quartet "The Final Countdown" (Europe cover)
    Some bizarre covers you can hunt and hunt for forever and never find, while others simply fall in your lap. This one fits the latter bill. I don't know much about the Axel Boys, but I certainly wish I frequented restaurants whose mariachi bands had this as a selection. (Related fact: The ringtone on my cell phone is "The Final Countdown.")

  • Enon "White Rabbit" (Jefferson Airplane cover):
    Is it cover song? Is it art? Can you stomach it while you're sober? All it takes is a click to find out.

  • Ten Masked Men "Papa Don't Preach" (Madonna cover):
    I don't generally like death metal or speed metal. I don't like bands that cover songs and change the sex of the characters in the lyrics to suit them. And I don't generally care for or respect bands that exist solely to cover other people's stuff. Still, there's something endearing about this, even if it is performed by a bunch of masked idiot Slipknot wannabes.

  • that dog. "Midnight at the Oasis" (Maria Muldaur cover):
    I don't have much to say about this cover except that I hope Petra Haden is doing all right since her accident a while back. Oh, and that bands who don't capitalize their names and use periods in them as well are pretty pretentious.

  • Macha & Bedhead "Believe" (Cher cover):
    The original makes me wanna dance and kiss gay boys and this version makes me want to slit my wrists. Now that's a good cover!

  • Solex "Shady Lane" (Pavement cover):
    This probably adversely affects my indie cred, but Brighten the Corners is probably my favorite Pavement album. And if I ever decide to become a DIY recording artist, I hope to become just like Solex: quirky, experimental and mildly annoying.
  • Friday, March 05, 2004

    Dynamite with a laser beam.

  • Avril Lavigne (Live): "Chop Suey" (System of a Down cover)

  • Clem Snide: "Beautiful" (Christina Aguilera cover)

  • Operation: Cliff Clavin: "Dreams" (Cranberries cover)

  • Redd Kross: "Rhiannon" (Fleetwood Mac cover)

  • Scissor Sisters: "Comfortably Numb" (Pink Floyd cover)

  • Tourettes Lautrec: "Killer Queen" (Queen cover)
  • Tuesday, March 02, 2004

    I can't quench my desire.

  • We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It: "Spirit in the Sky" (Norman Greenbaum cover)

  • Polyphonic Spree: "Five Years" (David Bowie cover)

  • The Vines: "Ms. Jackson" (Outkast cover)

  • The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black: "Burning Up" (Madonna cover)

  • Lunachicks: "Heart of Glass" (Blondie cover)

  • Ian Brown (ex Stone Roses): "Billie Jean" and "Thriller" (Michael Jackson covers)