JUDGING COVERS BY THE BOOK

11 05 2011

From this week’s DAA Column in Nightspots — With music from Fox’s Glee beating out The Beatles and Elvis for most Top 100 singles and American Idol ravaging through the American songbook weekly, you’d think that cover versions where at some sort of new trending peak, but covers have been big for years, in one way or another, and I’ve always been a bit obsessed. From my childhood listening to my parent’s recordings of Easy Listening version of 60’s pop hits by the likes of Peggy Lee, Perry Como and 101 Strings, to my 90’s fascination of finding the best super-cool  B-sides to European singles and back to my love for finding campy old vinyl of the worst 60’s covers, as well as my 00’s obsession for blog nuggets of cool cover versions, I’ve always had a soft spot.

Recently I had to compile a double CD for a club I’m a part of and chose “The Best Covers Ever”  as my theme. Sifting through a 700+ song collection and paring it down to 2.5 hours was a joyous task which left me “Sophie’s Choicing” allot of great tunes for a few simple rules when it comes to good and bad remakes:

Is it giving you good memories? Nothing is hotter than a good track from your childhood remade by a current hero (The Gossip/Careless Whisper, Under the Milky Way/Sia). Not only is it fun to hear your oldies updated to relevancy, but you then form a little bond with that artists that you may have been kindred souls if you’d only met years ago.

Is it funny, yet good? A Norwegian Death metal version of Take On Me may be funny the first time you post it on Facebook, but does it warrant further listening, no. But My Morning Jacket doing West End Girls, or Death Cab doing Thriller are unexpected gems that are tongue in check and hot too.

Is it BETTER than the original? Something I’ve harped on here before about Idol: if you can’t do it better, don’t try to imitate. If Glee’s taught us nothing, it’s that sometimes a crappy song by Bon Jovi, Ke$ha or Wheatus can be turned to gold if you have good production, inventive arrangements and auto-tune!

Come hear some killer 80’s remakes as Moose hosts Do-Over Prom at Hydrate on May 13th

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One response

11 05 2011
Gabby

Now that makes me want to make a covers mix on my pod. And “Under the Milky Way” is one of my favorite covers.




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