Sunday, November 2, 2008

5: Covering Up

I can't quite explain my love of cover songs. The best I can do is point to how it makes it possible for anyone to at least put their own spin on an amazing song, even if they didn't write it themselves. One of my favorite things about listening to music is picking out songs I think deserve, need, cry to be covered and imagine who would do the best job of doing so.

I'm a nerd.

My top five?

Final Fantasy- Song Song Song by Broken Social Scene
I love how this song starts with a disjointed drum beat, that's really just a bow on strings. This song just sounds like someone breaking down and building themselves up, only to fall back apart. If there's anyone who can capture that, it's the collective voices behind Broken Social Scene. I'd be intrigued to see how the could take what's a fairly expansive song and blow it up.

the Rolling Stones- Gimmer Shelter by Kevin Devine
God bless Merry Clayton. Her scream makes the song. As for Mr. Devine, his scream turns songs like 'Just Stay' and 'Cotton Crush' from plaintive to heart breaking. Kevin, make it happen.

Broken Social Scene- It's All Gonna Break by Pedro the Lion OR Jose Gonzalez
Favorite Broken Social Scene song? Yes. Do I love all 10 minutes of it? Yes. Do I want to see what would happen if you brought it down to just one voice? Hell YES. Why the split between artists?
A. Pedro the Lion is no more. So even in theory, chances of this are unlikely. But should for some reason, the PtL gentlemen see fit to reunite for a single cover song, chose this one! Oh please, chose this one!
B. Jose Gonzalez can do a mean cover. I have full faith that he would do a (dare I say?) righteous job. But I'd love to see someone a little more unexpected or underplayed behind the healm on this one.

MGMT- Kids by Regina Spektor
Strip this down to the synth and the lyrics, and you have a decent song. Spektor could bring the heartbreak, and the hipsters would bring the standing there with their arms folded. Which is normal; I hear if hipsters break a sweat, an angel loses its wings. They're so considerate, those elf ears kids.

Van Morrison- And It Stoned Me by Kristoffer Ragnstam. (My favorite Van Morrison song. Of all time. And, I love this Sweede. Seriously, he has some great Van Morrison -eque instances on his albums, and I think he could do this baby justice. Or else. And by or else, I mean I tie him up in my bedroom and force him to be adorable and Sweedish for me only. Warned!)

Top Covers:
  • "Kid A" (Radiohead)- John Mayer (I hate myself for saying this, but he does a really strong job. don't know if I give him more credit on basis of the other shit he's released, or because it's a strong cover, but this song somewhat redeems the waste of tabloid space he has become)
  • "Yeh Jo Halka Halka Saroor Hai" (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) -Jeff Buckley (I love Jeff Buckley. I do, I really do. But I can openly admit that the man spends way too much time sometimes blowing songs out of proportion. However, sometimes that works (his cover of "Je n'en connais pas la fin" is another fantastic example of this). The way his voice soars and breaks totally makes up for an eight (8!!) minute cover of 'If You See Her, Say Hello")
  • Knocking on Heaven's Door(Bob Dylan) - Antony and the Johnsons (heartbreak. pure. simple)
  • 'Hand on Your Heart' (Kylie Minogue)- Jose Gonzalez (like I said, he knows his covers)
  • 'Jump into the Fire' (Harry Nilsson)- LCD Soundsystem (try not to dance. I dare you)

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