Covers.

A few people have questioned my use of a cover version of a song rather than the original, and that got me thinking of songs where I prefer the cover to the original. Here’s my list:

  1. Mrs. Robinson: I prefer The Lemonheads’ version to the Simon and Garfunkel original, though I think both are good.
  2. Somebody: I think the Veruca Salt version of this song is tons better than the Depeche Mode original. The Veruca Salt version has been one of my favorite songs for the longest time.
  3. Mad World: I think few can deny that Gary Jules‘s cover of this Tears for Fears song is nothing short of wonderful. This might well be my favorite cover.
  4. The Man Who Sold The World: Nirvana played this song during their MTV Unplugged appearance. The David Bowie is a bit too 80’s for my taste.
  5. Overkill: Lazlo Bane did a cover of this Men at Work song, with Colin Hay showing up to sing along. I think it’s great… easily the best song on the album.
  6. Yeah, I got tired of writing out all those full sentances fairly quickly.. so, here’s a few more after shrinking down the list a bit:

  7. I Will Survive ( Cake over Gloria Gaynor)
  8. Higher Ground ( Red Hot Chili Peppers over Stevie Wonder)
  9. Killing Me Softly ( The Fugees over Roberta Flack)
  10. I Hung My Head ( Johnny Cash over Sting)
  11. and the worst cover I’ve ever heard:

  12. Madonna, singing American Pie, the Don Mclean classic.

18 thoughts on “Covers.

  1. After overdosing on Depeche Mode in the 80s and 90s, the Veruca Salt version of “Somebody” was a nice change. Thanks for pointing that out. Gary Jules’ “Mad World” is interesting, but not quite as urgent as the original by TfF.

    And the original song that started this conversation, if I recall correctly, was Love Spit Love’s version of “How Soon is Now?” by the Smiths. Here’s what the AMG (http://www.allmusic.com) has to say about it:

    “And out of all the mediocre music on the album [The Craft soundtrack], Love Spit Love’s utterly clueless cover of the Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now” ranks as the worst track by far, which is quite an accomplishment in itself.”

    I don’t think my view is quite as harsh, but Richard Butler’s vocals and the rigorously consistent beat they use (contrasted with Johnny Marr’s laid-back melancholy in the original) do sort of miss the point of the song.

  2. I still like the Love Spit Love version, though I won’t say that I like it more than the original. I think my favorite version of the song might be the Snake River Conspiracy version, but that may be because 1.) I haven’t heard the original in a while, 2.) I just really like the song’s lyrics, and listen to Snake River Conspiracy a lot, so I associate the two with each other

    All in all, I think when it comes to covers things get complicated. If you like a certain band, odds are you’re going to like their cover of a song (Like me and Love Spit Love, or Pearl Jam’s version of Baba O’Reilly), and if you hate a band, you’ll hate their cover versions too. What really annoys me is when a song is covered, and completely destroys the point of the song… like what’s happened to “American Woman” by the Guess Who. The fact that that song was used for Tommy Hilfiger ads with big American flags, etc.. is so maddening it’s comical.

  3. Isn’t Veruca Salt the girl from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory? I haven’t heard of half the people you mentioned, including her/him?

    oh well, here’s my hillbilly central Pennsylvania contribution to the discussion. I like Reba McEntire’s cover of The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia better than Vicki Lawrence’s.

  4. I hate it when songs get ruined, either by covers, commercials, or something else. It’s even worse when they’re pre-ruined. For instance, I grew to hate this little jingle that many different oldies stations seem to use before giving a traffic report. It pissed me off whenever I heard it.

    Then I discovered that it was taken from a Beatles song (“Ride my Car”). It took me a long time to be able to listen to that song (which is excellent) without flying into a rage. I hate that something good was runied by some stupid radio corporation.

    I suspect that local Fox 17’s “tired of waiting” jingle is taken from another Beatles’ tune, but I fear that one is simply too far gone for me to learn to appreciate. I hate local TV so much.

  5. Hey Ron,

    Next post you should discuss Adam’s email. It would be interesting to see what your geek friends like.

    You guys do prefer geeks, right? That seems to be the common phrase Ron uses.

  6. Sven -> Already on it [Re: favorite video games of all time]

    Trisha -> Veruca Salt is indeed the girl from Charlie and the Chocolate factory. That’s where the name comes from.
    [http://verucasalt.com/THEBAND/VsBio1.htm]

    Joel -> The “I’m Coming Out” song was ruined for my by an ad with singing belly buttons that still haunts me to this day.

  7. Ron — When you say the “I’m Coming Out” song, do you mean “Get the Party Started” by Pink? I hope it would have taken less than a singing navel ad to ruin that song.

    Joel — You might be thinking of “I’m So Tired” from the White Album, which is a different tune than the one the Fox News commercial uses. As for “Drive My Car”, yeah, LAV uses it too. I think Michael Jackson probably sees some cha-ching everytime it’s used.

  8. Jonathan: Sadly,
    Get the Party Started has not yet been ruined, as I still find it “catchy”. This song was a bit older, and a quick search has informed me that it’s by Diana Ross… and appears to have been covered in the Maid in Manhattan soundtrack, which just adds one more reason why I shouldn’t ever see that movie, I guess.

  9. Adam’s Email? Is that a band name?

    Re: Covers: Some are good (Crazy Mary by Pearl Jam, Heroes by The Wallflowers (I think) ), while others (Last kiss) is an abomination.

    Other covers piss me off (the cover of pink floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the wall’ by that crap band pissed me off).

    Veruca Salt? Aren’t they still talking about the Seether? That’ll be mentioned on their tombstones, for goodness’ sake…

  10. Adam = Adam Young, a friend of Sven and I, who emailed us a list of favorite video games.

    Veruca Salt did sing “Seether” which is an excellent song… but the majority of their songs are excellent. Chicks that rock…rock.

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