3.20.2006

i'm quite a slut when it comes to musical taste, but...

i am definitely not a purist when it comes to bands covering songs. in fact, i am not a purist about music at all. (i like me some madonna, radiohead, abba, barbara streisand, elliot smith, and even some black-eyes peas. i am currently plaguing m' man to buy me the latest gorrillaz album for my birthay, simply because i like that tune what they play on the ipod ad)

my favorite covers actually surpass (and even make me like) the original. these include greg dulli's version of mary j. blige's loathsome "real love." peter mulvey's live version of jungle book's "I want to be like you" is just swingin' smokey monkey fun. and perhaps my favorite cover of all time is elbow's version of destiny child's "independent woman" (which can be heard here, complete with xylophone playing cats) . (and yes, I know rathergood is so, like, "2002," but my son is addicted to it. especially the spongemonkeys).

oh, and lest i forget. as a diehard depeche mode fan, i am also quite haunted by johnny cash's quivering version of "my own personal jesus" (even as it adds a distinctly evangelical gospel stance to what, in its original form, is a highly twisted and ironic ditty).

actually i do discern a pattern here: "cover song" + "singer who smokes 4 packs a day" = "good times."

i think i can attribute this somewhat lax attitude to musical "authenticity" to my childhood. for a period in the late seventies (when I was about 8 or 9) each year for christmas i would ask for albums by abba or the beegees, or the grease soundtrack. And each year i would rip open that big flat square package, place the album on my princess turntable and listen excitedly and then think "hang on a minute.... something's not right..."
I would then look closely at the cover, and realize that Father Christmas had bought me a cheap knockoff: "a tribute to abba" or the ubiquitous and uninspired knockoff title "Sounds Like....[insert title of seventies band here]" and so forth.

anyway--this brings me to my main point. i am not a purist about music, but as i listen to accuradio's listening post throughout the day, i am plagued by this bird has flown, a 40th anniversary tribute album to the beatle's "rubber soul." and it is sacrilage, i tell you, SACRILAGE!
(note, i have not heard the tracks by surfjan stevens and cowboy junkies, who i like big time, so my diatribe is based on only partial and therefore incomplete knowledge. sooo?)

anyone who knows me and the fam' also knows that we exist in a beatles vortex ( i grew up in one, and then i married one--and given what i have told you about my own musical proclivities, you might say you don't blame him at all).

ask my boy what noise a walrus makes, and he will reply "goo goo ga joob."

in some ways, this might make me welcome a little respite from the liverpudlian onslaught in our house and in our car, at least something a little different.... but no. there are some things that should just be left well alone, especially when it comes to the "tribute" genre. beatles is one of them. hitchcock's psycho is another. oh, and if anyone ever does a cover of talking head's psycho killer. well. let me say. "i will cut you.."

6 comments:

themikestand said...

Hee, I love the independent woman cover with the cats. Golden.

For more fun, find Ted Leo's cover of Since U Been Gone -- seriously, it's awesome. ;)

weaker vessel said...

Okay, agreed about the sacrosanctness of the Beatles, but have you ever heard Cornershop's punjabi version of "Norwegian Wood"? Sounds good AND offers a clever critique of the West's India fetish at the same time!

I love covers that aren't spot-on karaoke imitations, but that bring something original to the mix, like practically all of Johnny Cash's later stuff.

gingajoy said...

these covers sound great--and punjabi *anything* has got my vote;-)

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