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Author Topic: Favorite song covers?  (Read 177 times)

Jed Groff

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Favorite song covers?
« on: September 18, 2016, 02:16:20 am »
Time to liven this board up again. I think there was a thread like this before, but I think it got deleted. Here's my list:

"Rusty Cage" by Johnny Cash
"Bad Company" by Five Finger Death Punch
"Burning Down the House" by The Used
"Behind Blue Eyes" by Limp Bizkit
"The Sound of Silence" by Disturbed
"I'm Eighteen" by Creed
"Blank Space" by I Prevail
"How I Could Just Kill a Man" by Rage Against the Machine

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Tut

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Re: Favorite song covers?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2016, 09:20:48 pm »
Led Zeppelin had a bad habit of covering songs without giving any credit or royalties to the original writers. Quite a few of their songs were either direct covers of others, or they simply took bits and pieces of other people's music and incorporated them into something new. I'm always conflicted on this... yeah, these guys were pretty big pricks, but it doesn't make their music any less fantastic. Their recordings of Babe I'm Gonna Leave You and When The Levee Breaks are certainly the definitive versions, and for good reason.

I suppose House of the Rising Sun (The Animals) and My Back Pages (The Byrds) count for this as well, but these covers are all of a very different category than the ones you just listed, Jed. Typically, I only think of a cover as successful if it truly improves upon the original song-- it's not enough to just reproduce the sound, even if you do it in a slightly different way. Kind of the same way I feel about movie remakes. I imagine it's very hard to do a truly great cover because of this; you have to have your own creative vision and then apply it to the original. That's why I kinda give Zeppelin a pass with their quasi-plagiarism. Say what you will about their song theft, but they were still artists who simply saw untapped potential in certain songs, and definitely had a desire to rework them (plus the vision and musical talent to pull it off).

The same cannot be said for that dull rendition of Aaron's favorite song, which I think I've described in the past as "what a foghorn farting would sound like." No vision. Just an attempt to capitalize off of the success of another song.

Man, the more I write here, the more I see how similar this is to remaking movies.

PORG

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Re: Favorite song covers?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2016, 10:39:19 pm »
"Hurt" - Johnny Cash

Jed Groff

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Re: Favorite song covers?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2016, 11:40:02 pm »
"Somebody's Watching Me" by Presence.

Jed Groff

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Re: Favorite song covers?
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2016, 12:34:29 am »
Led Zeppelin had a bad habit of covering songs without giving any credit or royalties to the original writers. Quite a few of their songs were either direct covers of others, or they simply took bits and pieces of other people's music and incorporated them into something new. I'm always conflicted on this... yeah, these guys were pretty big pricks, but it doesn't make their music any less fantastic. Their recordings of Babe I'm Gonna Leave You and When The Levee Breaks are certainly the definitive versions, and for good reason.

I suppose House of the Rising Sun (The Animals) and My Back Pages (The Byrds) count for this as well, but these covers are all of a very different category than the ones you just listed, Jed. Typically, I only think of a cover as successful if it truly improves upon the original song-- it's not enough to just reproduce the sound, even if you do it in a slightly different way. Kind of the same way I feel about movie remakes. I imagine it's very hard to do a truly great cover because of this; you have to have your own creative vision and then apply it to the original. That's why I kinda give Zeppelin a pass with their quasi-plagiarism. Say what you will about their song theft, but they were still artists who simply saw untapped potential in certain songs, and definitely had a desire to rework them (plus the vision and musical talent to pull it off).

The same cannot be said for that dull rendition of KinoPoisk's favorite song, which I think I've described in the past as "what a foghorn farting would sound like." No vision. Just an attempt to capitalize off of the success of another song.

Man, the more I write here, the more I see how similar this is to remaking movies.
I really can't see how you can say this about Disturbed's cover of The Sound of Silence, since it was totally different from the original and clearly had some vision going for it. But otherwise, I agree wholeheartedly with this; that's why Puddle of Mudd's cover album "Re:(Disc)overed" was so drab, because all the songs barely added anything to the originals. Johnny Cash will probably always be the best cover artist.

Tut

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Re: Favorite song covers?
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2016, 06:52:39 pm »
I really can't see how you can say this about Disturbed's cover of The Sound of Silence, since it was totally different from the original and clearly had some vision going for it. But otherwise, I agree wholeheartedly with this; that's why Puddle of Mudd's cover album "Re:(Disc)overed" was so drab, because all the songs barely added anything to the originals. Johnny Cash will probably always be the best cover artist.

I don't know about that. The best covers of songs are the ones where the musicians hear someone else's song, think "I have a different way of doing that which might actually improve upon the original," and then record it. In these cases, the original song might be the spark of inspiration, but the artist still takes it in a totally different direction. I really don't see that with that idiotic Sound of Silence cover. It's a beat-for-beat remake that adds literally nothing to the song. Plus it throws in a music video with a lot of imagery that simply doesn't jive with the music at all. It turns it into a weirdly melodramatic mess. The original was melancholy, sure, but the harmonies made parts of it sound practically upbeat. And instead of that, we've got this bald fucker who can't sing anything but tenor singing it like it's a funeral march. Sorry, but it does not work.

Catbus!

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Re: Favorite song covers?
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2016, 07:31:53 pm »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15E0swZPoQE

Special bonus: it almost sounds like he's saying "my buddy is Nick Cage".

MoviePerson

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Re: Favorite song covers?
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2016, 07:44:17 pm »
I don't think it's terribly controversial to say that Johnny Cash's cover of 'Hurt' is the big one here. Johnny's version and Trent's original are both quite fantastic, but there's obviously a lot "more" (for lack of a better word) to what Cash does with the song, I feel. A lot of what he did with Rick Rubin (for all of Rick Rubin's faults) felt like essential Johnny Cash, like what he'd wanted to do his whole life. His cover of 'I Hung My Head' is also a big improvement over the original, I feel.

Nirvana's cover of 'The Man Who Sold The World' is probably of a similar status. Both are excellent, obviously, but I'd say the majority of favour goes to Nirvana over Bowie on that one. As a bit of a hot take, I really like the Red Hot Chili Peppers' cover of 'Havana Affair.' It's just a unique, surprising little cover that really changes the tone of the song, I feel. It's nice and moody and atmospheric, and it's especially neat to hear the original sound of 'Californication' reused for the cover. Frusciante himself has also performed a notably cool cover of Radiohead's 'Lucky,' though it's not particularly regarded as an improvement so much as a neat reference.


Jed Groff

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Re: Favorite song covers?
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2016, 09:39:38 pm »
I really can't see how you can say this about Disturbed's cover of The Sound of Silence, since it was totally different from the original and clearly had some vision going for it. But otherwise, I agree wholeheartedly with this; that's why Puddle of Mudd's cover album "Re:(Disc)overed" was so drab, because all the songs barely added anything to the originals. Johnny Cash will probably always be the best cover artist.

I don't know about that. The best covers of songs are the ones where the musicians hear someone else's song, think "I have a different way of doing that which might actually improve upon the original," and then record it. In these cases, the original song might be the spark of inspiration, but the artist still takes it in a totally different direction. I really don't see that with that idiotic Sound of Silence cover. It's a beat-for-beat remake that adds literally nothing to the song. Plus it throws in a music video with a lot of imagery that simply doesn't jive with the music at all. It turns it into a weirdly melodramatic mess. The original was melancholy, sure, but the harmonies made parts of it sound practically upbeat. And instead of that, we've got this bald fucker who can't sing anything but tenor singing it like it's a funeral march. Sorry, but it does not work.
I'm just not seeing how this argument adds up. How can you call the Sound of Silence cover a "beat-for-beat" remake? I can understand you not liking the song, but this just isn't accurate.

Listen to this cover of Gimme Shelter:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4CN5q2X1Ujs

This cover doesn't work for the reason that you just said, because it follows the exact tone, feel, and chords of the original, except with faux-Kurt Cobain vocals and a slightly heavier guitar. The Sound of Silence cover is so great because it does something totally new to the original. The original was a simple but excellent duo of acoustic guitars. The cover uses totally different instruments and a totally different tone. It uses dark piano, a string arrangement, and a lightly strumming guitar for a chilling, melancholy effect.

I've stated this before, but it's like comparing the old and new Mad World: the original is musically upbeat but lyrically somber, whereas the cover abandons the contrast of the original for an unironic, somber, and depressing song. As I said, I can understand you not liking the Sound of Silence cover, but I just don't see how it follows your argument.

Tut

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Re: Favorite song covers?
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2016, 09:52:36 pm »
This cover doesn't work for the reason that you just said, because it follows the exact tone, feel, and chords of the original, except with faux-Kurt Cobain vocals and a slightly heavier guitar. The Sound of Silence cover is so great because it does something totally new to the original. The original was a simple but excellent duo of acoustic guitars. The cover uses totally different instruments and a totally different tone. It uses dark piano, a string arrangement, and a lightly strumming guitar for a chilling, melancholy effect.

I've stated this before, but it's like comparing the old and new Mad World: the original is musically upbeat but lyrically somber, whereas the cover abandons the contrast of the original for an unironic, somber, and depressing song. As I said, I can understand you not liking the Sound of Silence cover, but I just don't see how it follows your argument.

Again, when I say "adds something," I mean something artistic. With those Led Zeppelin songs I referred to, they took pieces of the originals, but clearly had their own vision when it came to re-imagining the songs. That was back in the day when musicians actually had, like, you know... talent. Why did that bald guy remake The Sound of Silence? Is it because he heard the original and thought he could do it better? No. Here's the thought process behind the Sound of Silence cover:

1) We need a new single. Our manager wants us to do a cover because it'll save us time and energy, and also it'll allow us to update the song for retarded young people so they don't feel like they're listening to baby boomer music. It's a win-win.
2) Decide to do The Sound of Silence. People know that song, so we can probably make some money off of people who accidentally buy it off of iTunes instead of the original.
3) Fuck around with the song. Settle on a darker tone, because if Zack Snyder has taught us anything it's that that's easier. Put all artistic energy towards producing the music video.
4) Record the cover. Use minimal vocal range and instrumentals; the goal here is to make the new version less complicated than the old.
5) We now have our new song. Despite how uncreative our cover is, it's still better than most of our music. Minimal effort was put in, and the product shows it. Ta-daa!

Gold Jeffblum

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Re: Favorite song covers?
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2016, 07:51:01 pm »
I sometimes wonder if ah Smash Mouth has turned into a self parody.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdseN1Irbp8

cupcake

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Re: Favorite song covers?
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2016, 08:01:33 pm »
I sometimes wonder if ah Smash Mouth has turned into a self parody.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdseN1Irbp8

How dare they rip off Vanilla Ice!!!
goodbye!

Catbus!

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Re: Favorite song covers?
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2016, 09:00:32 pm »
I sometimes wonder if ah Smash Mouth has turned into a self parody.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdseN1Irbp8

Queen? Parody? Hold on one sec.



Oh, OK - here it is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb3D7SfgKm4

Jed Groff

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Re: Favorite song covers?
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2016, 09:18:17 pm »

Tho Master Fie

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Flounder Prefers Browntown

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Re: Favorite song covers?
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2017, 04:14:52 pm »
Everything is terrible.

 

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