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Now in our tenth calendar year!
PCR #493  (Vol. 10, No. 36) This edition is for the week of August 31--September 6, 2009.

Halloween II  by Mike Smith
Thyme and Again with Florida's Mister Magic!  by William Moriaty
Loose in Las Vegas: 2009  by ED Tucker
Cover Songs  by Bobby Tyler
A Brief History of Jpop  by Jason Fetters
Who Is The Enemy? .... Let Me Challenge You .... .... .... .... .... ....  by Brandon Jones
End Of The Season .... Spidermouse? .... Chick-fil-mmmmmmmmmmmm .... Fingerprint File .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2...  by Mike Smith
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Cover Songs

Cover songs can be one of the hardest things to do correctly in the music business it seems. You can go about covering a song two different ways. Either you cover the song and try to sound pretty close to the original, or you go about playing the cover in a completely different style. The latter is what usually ends poorly. There have been some excellent covers, but there have also been some awful ones. These awful ones are really awful. They hurt your ears. I’ve done some searching and found some well done cover songs, and also found a bit of these awful ones. Here they are:

Blink 182 – Freak Scene
Going through my iPod the other day, I found Freak Scene listed twice; one for Dinosaur Jr., (the original artist) and one from Blink 182. I thought to myself, “Blink 182 would never cover a Dinosaur Jr. song”. So I hit play and find that they actually did cover the Dinosaur Jr. song, and they did a surprisingly well done job doing so. This would go under the “sounding close to the original” category.

Pearl Jam – Love Reign O’er Me
Pearl Jam’s cover of The Who’s Love Reign O’er Me is, in my opinion, one of the best examples of a cover song that sounds close to the original. It was featured in the movie Reign Over Me. I would not have been able to cover such a song. The original version is one of those songs that you would have thought should never be touched, but I guess the awesomeness that is Pearl Jam was able to do it.

Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah has been covered by many artists. I’ve always like Jeff Buckley’s version the best. Way better than the original in my opinion. Jeff Buckley’s vocal talents are near the top of the list. Not many singers can match how haunting his vocals can get. Even Thom Yorke claimed the Jeff Buckley’s singing influenced the way he sung on Radiohead’s album The Bends. If you want to hear some more Jeff Buckley, check out this link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zooQhWWpXX0)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AratTMGrHaQ (embedding has been disabled)

Hilary Duff – My Generation
Do I even need to tell you that this was going to be bad? This song was BUTCHERED by Hilary Duff. How she got away with this- I don’t even know. There’s not much to say here except, well, I didn’t even last 45 seconds into this. It’s just that bad. What were everyone involved thinking? They even changed one of the lines to fit the audience I guess. I hope I die before I get old" was changed to "I hope I don't die before I get old" It was indeed a sad day in the music business with this cover released.

William Shatner – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.
Again, I don’t think I need to say anything. I’m sure most of you reading have heard this before. I apologize for everyone who had to hear it now. I probably shouldn’t have even brought this up. Captain Kirk’s cover of The Beatles’s Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds just needs to be buried somewhere far, far away. People need to forget this exists, and no one should ever bring it up again. I’ve committed a crime by posting a link to the video.

CAKE – I Will Survive
Here is a cover that I know a lot of people can’t stand. CAKE’s cover of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive is different to say the least. I like it. CAKE is known for the offbeat singing. I think it translates well into this cover. Layer that with and awesome bassline and a sweet sounding trumpet, and you’ve got an OK cover in my book. I want to know what you guys think of this in the Reader’s Comments.

Reel Big Fish – Take On Me
There are PLENTY of ska cover songs out there to choose from. I went with probably the most “popular” one. Reel Big Fish’s cover of Aha’s Take On Me works well in my opinion. With the singers of Reel Big Fish hitting the high notes and the distorted guitar, I think they did an excellent job. There’s an album out there called “Mettaliska” that features several Ska bands covering 80’s rock songs. If you can find it, check it out.

Johnny Cash – Hurt
When an artist disowns a song because the coverer did a better job on it, you know something amazing just happened. Johnny Cash has covered Nine Inch Nail’s Hurt. Trent Reznor said in an interview “…that song isn't mine anymore…(Alternative Press #194)”. Cash has done a lot of cover songs. He has even covered a Soundgarden (my favorite band) song. All the cover songs are extremely well done, and just further prove that Johnny Cash is one of the greats.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Havana Affair
I’ve decided to end this article/blog/thing with my favorite cover song. Red Hot Chili Peppers have covered The Ramones’s Havana Affair. What makes this cover great is John Frusciante’s amazing guitar work and background vocals. I didn’t even know it was a Ramones cover song for the longest time when I first heard this on the Red Hot Chili Peppers’s Live at Slane Castle album.

I hope you dug into the really amazing cover songs. The other not so great ones are just there to show you how bad things can get when it comes to covering songs. Voice your opinions in the Reader’s Comments on some other good/bad cover songs.

This issue's "Musical Musings" is ©2009 by Robert Tyler.   All graphics this page, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.