It may be controversial, to the point of being nearly heretical, to compare anyone to David Bowie. In the weeks since Bowie’s passing, there has been a near-universal outpouring of emotion – not only of grief, but of inspiration and joy and freedom that Bowie brought to people’s lives. And, despite certainly being a very different artist, Amanda Palmer has roused very similar feelings in her fans ever since debuting as one half of the Dresden Dolls in 2000 and exploding into the spotlight with her massively successful Theatre is Evil Kickstarter. To her fans, Palmer has been a beacon of originality, artistic freedom, and rebellion for over fifteen years, and now she’s joined with Grand Theft Orchestra bandmate Jherek Bischoff (along with an incredible string quartet and additional vocals from Anna Calvi, John Cameron Mitchell, and Palmer’s husband Neil Gaiman) to record a benefit tribute to Bowie himself.
As a songwriter, Stephin Merritt doesn’t need any testaments to his prolificness or originality – the sheer scope of his sweeping, three-disc Magnetic Fields album, “69 Love Songs,” on top of the rest of his discography, is testament enough. And yet, other artists continuously remind us of the enormous scope and degree of his influence with covers from throughout his oeuvre. Recently, Bully and FIDLAR demonstrated this with a cheery take on “Absolutely Cuckoo,” the opener to the aforementioned triple-album.
In retrospect, it feels like it was only a matter of time before an Adele cover launched a talented young person to viral mega-sensation status – and that time has come. While Adele is always eminently coverable, “Hello” has been a blend of hype machine and vocal power showcase since before it was even released, and it seems a student from Seoul Music High School in Korea has covered just the right song at just the right moment to ride that wave into her own spotlight.
Sons of Anarchy is a show that has always been subtly marked by its music. The soundtrack is always there, an active presence, to the extent that it’s become a trope of the show in how subdued music is so often juxtaposed against montages of deviance and brutality. (That presence was most poignantly felt in the most recent episode, which was devoid of soundtrack altogether.) Lucky for us, even when its effect within the show can be inconsistent, the music is reliably beautiful and is predominated by covers.
These days, it seems that every band or artist puts out tracks before new albums come out, and it’s easy to understand why – at $1.29 on iTunes, an individual song purchase costs more than it would in relation to the album, or, if you get the tracks by pre-ordering, you’re locked in for the whole shebang. Most, however, will release a track or two in anticipation. That, apparently, is not She & Him‘s style. In the last few weeks, the easy-listening power-duo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward have already released four tracks (out of thirteen total) from their upcoming collection of standards, Classics, which comes out on December 2.
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Bent Knee here at Cover Me. Their covers somehow manage to simultaneously be both nuanced and almost overwhelmingly powerful, and to work with their source material instead of feeling like they’re working on it. While their covers don’t come around as often as we’d like, they’re an absolute treat every time they do.