||DANCING ABOUT ARCHITECTURE
JUDGING COVERS BY THE BOOK
by Marc “Moose” Moder
This article shared 810 times since Wed May 11, 2011
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 were 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 parents' recordings of Easy Listening version of '60s pop hits by the likes of Peggy Lee, Perry Como and 101 Strings, to my '90s fascination with finding the best super-cool B-sides to European singles, and back to my love for finding campy old vinyl of the worst '60s covers, as well as my '00s 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 a lot of great tunes according to a few simple rules about 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 and conclude 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 '80s remakes as Moose hosts Do-Over Prom at Hydrate, May 13.
This article shared 810 times since Wed May 11, 2011
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