let it die

in my copious free time, i’ve started writing abstracts for brijit.com. this way, i get exposed to new things i would like to read anyway, and sometimes, i even get paid for summarizing them.

yesterday, i came upon an article i enjoyed a bit: Let It Die: 23 Songs That Should Never Be Covered Again. and i figured there would be others out there (ATTENTION PHILFREE AS WELL AS MURPHY, IF YOU’RE OUT THERE, THIS MEANS YOU) who would probably have an interesting take on the subject. as i wrote in my incredibly pithy (::insert back pat here::) (::insert sarcasm here::) abstract:

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but does anyone need to hear another American Idol contestant belting out “Respect”? That question, among others, is pondered by the snarky authors, who share 23 abused rock, R&B, and country tracks that should enter retirement, barring seriously novel interpretation. The Smith’s “How Soon Is Now” tops a list of familiars, among them works by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Patsy Cline, and Van Morrison (“Brown-Eyed Girl” is “the only song on this list that’s in President Bush’s iPod”).

there are so many songs i cannot stand to hear covered. seldom do you top the original artist (All Along the Watchtower jumps to mind as one of the few covers that betters the original), and usually, you get something that makes you cry out for mercy. i can think of very few beatles or stones covers that are terribly good (though i am a sucker for siouxie and the banshee’s dear prudence, but only because i love that song so much that i’d probably enjoy it if it were sung by paris hilton. plus i love siouxie’s hair.)

so anyone out there have songs to add to the list?

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8 Responses to “let it die”

  1. from wayne’s world, tthe sign up on the wall at the guitar store: “Please NO Stairway to Heaven”.

  2. ::waving hands wildly:: Please, PLEASE, do not allow any more covers of Julie Gold’s “From A Distance”. I have had enough, thankyouverymuch.

  3. I have to admit that in general i love covers. And the further an artist veers from the original the more i usually like it. Johnny Cash is the King of the Art of the cover song, always making them sound like he wrote ’em himself. As far as hideous covers….Axl Rose and company butchered Live and Let Die in much the same way as they butcher they’re own originals. Ironic? Post ironic? Hmmmm.

  4. btw lovin your new blog makover, wreke!

  5. Oh wow, I had no idea “All Along the Watchtower” wasn’t originally by Hendrix! That song blows my mind, so I always assumed it was originally his.

    I’m with Todd, in general I love covers. When I hear a favorite song covered with a new twist (I’m thinking of “California Uber Alles” by Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy), I swoon. And speaking of the big JC, I love his cover of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song,” but it took me a while to warm up to it because he sings it (with Joe Strummer) in a the original Jamaican dialect. Joe apparently asked Johnny Cash if he was sure he didn’t want to change the words a little, for example from “pirates, yes they rob I.” JC replied, “That’s Bob Marley, man. You don’t change Bob Marley’s words.”

    Wait, I just thought of a cover that makes my skin crawl: Whitney Houston’s version of “I will always love you.” She took this beautiful little song about loss and turned it into a vocal exercise.

  6. (Wordy much? Sorry!)

  7. true — cash always has a way of making songs his own. i am thinking about his way with NIN’s Hurt. love that cover, to the point where i really need to check and see whether i possess that CD.

    i like covers when they add something new to the song. houston’s cover of parton is spot-on as a cover i cannot stand. i still remember when i was little and dolly ended her TV show — yes, she had one, boys and girls — with a very simple version of “i will always love you” and it was a stunner, each and every time.

    and thanks for the compliments. would that i could make cool banners like kellyo!!!

  8. Well, I used to say that I was not a big fan of covers, although there were always exceptions. In general I tolerated covers of anything except the Beatles, as it was hard for me to hear anyone but them sing the songs (with perhaps the exception of Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help From My Friends”.

    Well, then came along the movie Across the Universe. I have to say at first that I have not yet seen the movie, because with three children 7 and under, it is very hard to see movies (but we are going out to see one this Sat night. YAY!) I do have the soundtrack though. I WAS BLOWN AWAY!

    My ipod has a playlist which is a mix of my favorite Beatles songs. It is (at this point) 117 songs long. This was my most listened to playlist (Billy Joel, Elton John, Springsteen and Simon and Garfunkel come next). Now I listen to Across the Universe a lot as well.

    Why? Well, I was giving this a bit of thought the other day, and I think it is because they really put a lot of thought into how to use the music to tell a coherent story. I have not seen the movie, but listening to the soundtrack I can pretty much get the story. Some songs have not been changed, but some have been “redesigned” so to speak. For example, “Let It Be” is a beautiful gospel number (which actually makes some sense), “I want to Hold Your Hand” becomes a slow love song sung by a girl who is unsure of her sexuality pining for the touch of a girl she knows she will never have, and finally “If I Fell” is slowed down a bit and is sung by the lead female trying to decide if she wants to be with the lead male. There are also beautiful covers of “Blackbird” and “Because” both sung by women.

    Anyway, I am rambling (and I do not work for the record company haha). But this album opened my eyes to the beauty of covers and I am now really a fan of this sort of thing.

    Sorry this was so long.

    Phil

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