Thursday, August 23, 2007

Here we are now: entertain us

Here’s a bulleted list:

  • Apparently I’m getting behind on my blog posting quota.

  • I feel like I should make a music related post.


Conclusion drawn from the bulleted list:

I’m going to make a post about cover songs.

One cover of notable interest is ‘Paul Anka - Smells Like Teen Spirit’, which is obviously a Nirvana cover. It has a kind of swing beat with some trumpets and other horn type instruments. The contrast to the original is so huge that I highly recommend getting a copy to listen to (legally of course) - the change in genre of the original to the cover is really quite remarkable*. However, while being an extremely interesting cover version and well worth listening too, I found it quite quickly became annoying. If you’re familiar with Nirvana’s lyrics then you probably wouldn’t lynch me if I was to label them as somewhat complicated (replace complicated with nonsensical). Now, no disrespect to Kurt, but if you can actually HEAR his lyrics, as you can in a swing cover, then the stupidity of the lyrics becomes readily apparent and largely difficult to ignore.

“With the lights out its less dangerous
Here we are now
Entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
Entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido
Yea”

Hmmm. Thanks for messing up future covers of your songs Kurt.

So anyway, who’s a Nick Cave fan? Yeah, me neither. And quite frankly his song ‘The Mercy Seat’ blows. Apparently it’s his signature song, and if that’s his signature then he needs to work on his handwriting skills (you see what I did there, I don’t even know what you call that kind of genius). There’s so much going on (noisy guitars and drums and some sort of string instruments (violins?) along with various sound effects) that’s it a bit hard to listen too. There’s no doubt it’s a powerful song though, telling the story of a man on death row waiting to be executed on the electric chair, detailing his final thoughts and worries. What would really make this song something special would be if an old-school country singer with a deep & powerful voice did a version. Well, thankfully, Johnny Cash gave us just that in 2000 on his American III: Solitary Man album. Go buy it. Or borrow it off DJ Haszari, I’m sure he has a copy.

Now, I like ‘back’ as much as the next man, unless of course that man is Sir Mix-a-Lot. According to his 1992 track ‘Baby Got Back’ he is a big fan of the ladies that have big butts (“I like big butts and I cannot lie”). I’m not here to question the validity of the statement of whether or not he can lie, perhaps he has a very serious moral code that he strictly adheres to. I’m here to tell you that the Jonathan Coulton version of the song is very entertaining. It’s an acoustic, easy to listen to version of the song that might appeal even if you didn’t like Sir Mix-a-lot’s original (what? do you have the fear of the black man or something?)

This writing in a serious manner is hard work. Screw it - I have to eat my lunch - also check out these:

Green Day – Working Class Hero (cover of John Lennon)
Easy Star All-Stars – Let Down (cover of Radiohead)
some rock band covering Army of Me by Bjork (note DJ Hazsari added this bit about Bjork when he edited my post and destroyed my artist intent)
any cover of Britney Spears (ditto about destroying artist intent yadda yadda)

* see I can talk like a cock if I want.

5 comments:

Haszari said...

1. Aha! I always wondered who Paul Anka was, cos they named a dog after him on Gilmore Girls. So cheers for that.

2. I just had MY lunch, and it was in a cafe, and the album that was playing was... I dunno what it was but it was Johnny Cash doing covers. I can't tell if he did a few of those cover albums or if they were just spread evenly amongst his other albums but it's a good enough coincidence.

All in all a good post, hear hear.

PS I did not mention the numerous things I disagree with..

afraid said...

Cash's last few albums - called something like American Recordings I-IV - were about 70% covers as far as I can recall. I'm particularly enamoured with his versions of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', 'Hurt' and 'I Hung My Head'.

Yeah good stuff, but you ought to give Nick Cave another try. Start with the album 'No More Shall We Part'.

Also, Paul Anka sung the 'Just Don't Look!' song on The Simpsons when all the mascots were running amok.

Haszari said...

That'd be artistic intent?

The time has come, Nick Cave is great, The Ship Song, Where the Wild Roses Grow, etc etc. (Don't ask me I just have the greatest hits.)

Slag said...

Here is Dr. Slag to complete the Brothers Morris triumvirate.

Nice post, Mr -ve - Army of Me was covered by Helmet.

What about those covers that are totally different to the orig., but seem perfect for the cover artist?

e.g.

Marilyn Manson - "Sweet Dreams"
Jizzer Hendrix - "All Along the Watchtower"
Manfred Mann - "Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)"

MishtaNegativity said...

Yeah, fair enough, all good points. It's hard to cover everything though.

I use to be a Nick Cave fan in university but I think now his music is just a bit slow to hold my attention. I might blame TV for that lack of attention span.