Because I love you, my readers, I figured it’d give you your time to shine.
First up is Kris K. who writes;
Can I tell you how jealous I am that you actually have a nice little record
store to goto. In my area, all we have is FYE, Best Buy, etc. I have to drive an hour to just find this little store, and even then they carry more East Coast rap than anything else.
Which brings up an even bigger question: Is it worse to listen to Tupac over and over again or Puff Dad….Puffy…um…Diddy over and over again while you search for a cd.
Truthfully, it would depend. If we’re talking Now Way Out Puff, I could probably tolerate it because my friends and I were throwing college parties around that time and Puff packed the dancefloor. So if that’s the Puff that’s on I could deal with it, because at least I could take myself back to “good times.”
However anything after Puff’s first joint is cringe-inducing, and I’d really have to wonder why I was going to give money to people who a) would torture their patrons with that garbage and b) had the notion that they’d actually want to hear that.
Pac is bad, but at least I could kind of analyze why his lyrics connect with people. But Puff has few (if any) redeeming qualities.
And Kris, thanks for writing.
The Column Proper
Continuing with my theme of revisiting past columns, the next one up dealt with the aftermath of the controversy that I unleashed. But more importantly it dealt with artists covering other songs. (You can check it out here.)
Now recently Gloomchen addressed the topic of covers, and what makes a good cover. I pretty much agree with how she broke it down.
And with now further delay, I present to you: (More) Covers That I Love
Seu Jorge – Rebel Rebel
I’ll offer complete honestly; this whole column could have been composed entirely of Seu Jorge covering David Bowie. Jorge’s performances were a touching part of The Life Aquatic and when they released an entire album of his covers I was slayed. Still this one remains my favorite, because Jorge seems to have a tender quality that translates this song very well.
Death Cab For Cutie – All is Full of Love
I’m a fan of Bjork’s original, so I was skeptical when I found out that DCFC covered it. They managed both to remain faithful to the original and to put their own stamp on it. An added bonus is that Gibbard’s lyrics are decipherable.
Caesars – Don’t Fear the Reaper
The original is a classic, but I’ve got to give points to Caesars for not hamming this cover up, as many would do in a post “Will Ferrell/SNL” way. They play the song like a band that actually respects the original. In fact it’s almost too timid, but in the end they pull the song off.
Ryan Adams – Wonderwall
I know that by now everyone loves this version, so much so that it’s probably played out. Still, the first time I heard this rendition I found myself completely absorbed in my ears. This version is both lush and simple at the same time. And Adam’s vulnerable vocal quiver really adds much to the lyrics. This is truly an amazing cover.
Feist – Inside and Out
Inside and Out is so linked to an era in my mind that the first time I heard this version I was shocked. Feist creates a sleazy yet sultry vibe (the former an homage to the era, and the latter her own invention) the result is a song that clamors for you attention, while putting you, kind of, in the mood.
White Stripes – Walking With a Ghost
Generally, I’m not a fan of covers the come on the heels of the originals. That said I dig the White Stripes and I love Tegan & Sara’s original. Jack White really does manage to make the song sound like it’s a White Stripes original (or at least a song introduced to the current music public by the White Stripes.) It’s almost as though the song were meant to be covered by the White Stripes.
Jenny Lewis – Handle With Care
Sadly, I’m old enough to actually remember the Traveling Wilburys (not old enough to have actually purchased an albums, but old enough to remember my aunts and uncles talking about how this was a “super group.” I mean really, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne should never be considered members of a “super group.” Clearly this is an example of the poor standards of the Boomers.) Lewis and her friends do a very good job of updating this song for a new generation. This song really does sound like few friends having a good time, which is the spirit of the original.
Foo Fighters – Darling Nikki
I’m a sucker for Prince. And I’m a fan of the Foo. So when you put them together, you’ve got a great track. Darling Nikki is the song that dug up Tipper Gore’s ass, and is directly responsible for the “Parental Advisory” stickers that everyone ignores, and the Foo Fighters keep it grimy while adding a bit of rock edge to the track. This song rocks.
Von Bondies – Try a Little Tenderness
When white bands cover Black songs the results are either disastrous (see; Dynamite Hack) or marvelous. This song is the latter. Jason Stollsteimer really pours his heart into Otis Redding’s words and the result is a song that’s impossible to ignore. But it is the bonus track on their second album, so some folks might have missed it. Still, it’s quite the rendition.
The Roots – Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa
A Hip Hop cover is rare (and they should be, Snoop, I’m looking at you), so when they occur you tend to take notice. The Roots really pay homage to De La Soul with this song. It’s pretty much a note by note remake, but with the Roots’ added flair. And ?uestlove’s vocal presence is an added bonus.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard & Macy Gray – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
I wouldn’t feel right covering covers and excluding ODB. He could make any song his own and he did just with this one. Elton John and Kiki Dee being covered by ODB and Macy Gray. What’s crazy is how normal and logical that sounds.
And there you have it eleven more covers that are music to my ears.
Phonte as a Blogger
Tom continues to impress with his classics.
Greg slays me with his breakdown of anthems.
KDP is as thoughtful as always.
Gloomchen has important news items.
Phone as an MC
Ian has great Weezer news, or bad Weezer news, depending on you opinion. He also gives me hope that I can make Sufjan’s show in Chicago.
Five Songs I Can’t Get Enough of Right Now
1. Thom Yorke – The Eracer
2. Sufjan Stevens – Springfield, or Bobby Got a Shadfly Caught in his Hair
3. Busta Rhymes – New York S***
4. Johnny Cash – If You Could Read My Mind
5. John Coltrane – Blue Train