Friday, November 10, 2006

Bad Cover Version

I have nothing against cover versions per se. Sometimes they can remind you of a song you’ve forgotten about. Sometimes they can take a mediocre track and actually improve on it. And sometimes they can be downright hilarious. Take, for example, we Are Scientists’ recent cover of Boyz II Men’s End of the Road. Nothing short of genius.

But what I do object to is when a perfectly good song is destroyed by a bad cover version. And it’s not just that it’s technically bad, it’s also about ruining what the song represents. Specifically, I’m talking about Gnarls Barclay’s cover of the brilliant Violent Femmes track Gone Daddy Gone. Dreadful. I love The Violent Femmes. I was introduced to them at 15 when I stayed with my Californian penpal one summer. (I’m ashamed to admit that she was also instrumental in starting off my long-term love affair with The Smiths.) The Violent Femmes have classic tracks which have endured over the years and even now don’t sound dated. A cert at the indie clubs I frequented as a student, I am instantly transported back to being 19 when I hear the opening strains of Blister in the Sun or Add it Up. And they’ve appeared on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Long before the days of bands guesting on the OC or other teen dramas. How cool is that?

Now, I don’t know who Gnarls Barclay is/are. I don’t really want to. That Crazy record drove me, frankly, crazy over the summer. But I do know that I hate this record, and that it’s spoilt a great track for me. Every tune I hear is subconsciously linked to a specific time, event, person or feeling, and now this one is linked to wanting to me scream at the television each time I hear the opening bars. And that makes me sad.

Bad Cover Version - Pulp

6 Discussions:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

scissor sisters covering Comfortably numb by pink floyd did it for me...

10:31 AM  
Blogger bedshaped said...

Bad cover versions huh?
How about....

American Pie by Madonna
Kiss by Tom Jones
Wonderwall by Mike Flowers Pops
The Tide Is High by Atomic Kitten
And every track on Duran Duran's "Thank You" album.
And those are just reeled off without even having to think too hard.

I'm quite partial to a cover version myself, but surely it goes without saying that it should have a certain 'purpose'.
If an artist is just gonna do a straight-forward remake of the original, then quite frankly, what's the point?! At the very least, they should leave their own artistic 'stamp' on the cover.
Makes more sense, no?

I'm afraid I have to admit to not knowing the Violent Femmes track. I knew the Gnarls track was a cover, but to be honest I thought it was just a shit song.

8:45 PM  
Blogger Cat said...

Bedshaped, you need to get you some Violent Femmes. Classic. I think (given my knowledge of what you do like) that you'd like 'em.

8:18 PM  
Blogger bedshaped said...

Some recomendations then please cat.
That's what this place is for.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Cat said...

Bedshaped, check out the imaginatively titled "Violent Femmes" which has all the classic tracks on it. The new re-vamped version (I was forced to re-purchase when I ceased to have a record player) has a stack of bonus stuff on it. I'm afraid I'm not clued up enough to send you it online or anything - sorry!

6:47 PM  
Blogger LB said...

I really like the Mike Flowers version of Wonderwall, actually....

5:10 PM  

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