Green beads are my delight
Green beads are my favorite toy
Green beads are my favorite beads
And what other necklace than green beads?
This movie kind of stunk
Because they chose
An opera phantom who
Sang through his nose
And though he could not reach
Notes low nor high
Joel Schumacher cast him anyway
Oh why? Oh why?
Why am I picking on a 13 year old movie? Well, it hasn’t gotten any better with age, has it?
So I’ve been listening to The Veronicas lately, mostly thanks to Youtube’s suggestions.
“Untouched” is my favorite song so far, but also the most annoying … because I was sure I had heard parts of it decades before, but couldn’t figure out where.
I thought I might have been thinking puff Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer,” but when I listened to it, I couldn’t quite place it.
So I asked my wifie, a classically trained musician and educator, to listen to it.
The first thing she said was “Pachabel’s Canon,” which isn’t surprising. That song has spread its musical DNA around so much that I don’t even have an analogy I can use in good taste. Oops. Never mind me. Just listen to it.
But she also said that a lot of 80’s songs had used similar progressions. She mentioned Molly Ringwald and The Breakfast Club, and I immediately thought of this song:
And yes, The progressions are there.
Finally, I played “Boys of Summer” for her, and she explained why I had been confused. The progressions in Boys of Summer basically mirror those in Untouched, and my untrained ears hust couldn’t quite make them match.
So, mystery solved. And now I can listen in peace.
So I was listening to what I think is a pretty good cover of The Eurhythmics’ “Here Comes the Rain Again,” and it hit me:
Original recordings of songs are usually about whatever the song’s actually about. The emotion of the song is usually the artist’s focus.
Cover songs are very often about paying homage to a song the artist loves, and about doing justice to the original, as in Joss Stone’s “Here Comes the Rain Again.”
Other times, they’re about giving a new singer a quick hit by having them do a poppy, gritless version of a respected, fierce song. It often succeds in the short term, but I can only think of one case where the singer actually had any type of career afterward:
The original, for comparison:
Here’s one of the many who didn’t:
The original for comparison:
Of course there is one other kind of cover, a kind that’s amusing our clever at first but just gets shockingly smug after a few listens: ironic covers.
I’m not talking Richard Cheese parodies, but smug white indies singing rap and r&b:
Postmodern Jukebox makes probably the least obnoxious and most interesting of this type of cover. I think it’s because they explore and preserve historical musical styles, and because they keep the racial smugness out.
They still all seem to lack the emotion and sincerity of the originals, though.
Ok, for those of you who’ve made it this far, I’ll leave you with the greatest cover of all time, when the greatest pop punk metal self proclaimed martial aets master ever crossed genres to cover Wyclef Jean’s part of his duet wit Shakira. It was truly magical, as you can plainly see:
I hadn’t thought about Avalon Peacock or Can You Duet? (a short-lived American Idol wannabe from CMT) in years.
But something reminded me of her name Thursday, and a few clicks later I was listening to her tracks on Youtube, wondering why she isn’t as famous as Allison Krauss or Miranda Lambert.
I mean, listen to this!
Some of her recent solo work is available on Soundcloud.
I think it’s better than her duets. It is far less country, for what that’s worth. She sounds a bit like Kate Bush meetsMazzy Star, in my opinion.
Well, I know what I’ll be listening to for the next few days.
Apparently, this gem is from 2012. Where have I been for the last four years?
Emeli Sande, “Next to Me.”
Lindsey Stirling first broke on YouTube doing covers of video game and movie themes, like this great Legend of Zelda medley:
Or this Lord of the Rings tribute:
Since then, she’s produced albums full of original material, some with guest vocalists (like Lzzy Hale on Shatter Me):
And now she’s even spreading on soundtracks of her own, like the recent Pete’s Dragon remake:
So now you know. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite videos, the live public performance of Master of Tides: