The second of this year’s A.V. Undercover bands to shy away from “No Diggity,” Thao & The Get Down Stay Down opted instead for what they considered the sexiest song on the list – “Need You Tonight” by INXS. They take on the song without irony, but also without an overt subscription to one decade’s style or another. Rather, they fantastically blend the fuzzy grittiness of today’s indie and indie-pop with the neon nightclub feel of the original. It’s a wonderful new entry to the series. Enjoy.
There are a few go-to songs that everyone (save the diehard fan) associates with OutKast - fewer still are the songs that make the oft-covered list. All of which makes it that much more of a pleasure to see Tame Impala covering “Prototype,” off of André 3000‘s half of 2003′s Speakerboxx/The Love Below.
It seems tough, when presented with a band named “Diarrhea Planet,” to focus initially on anything other than that name – that is, until they start to play. When that happens, the Nashville band becomes something that could exist without a name at all; it just is rock and roll. Bands – especially punk bands – bring all sorts of attitudes when they approach so-called classics, but Diarrhea Planet brings nothing but talent and enthusiasm to their take on Bruce Springsteen‘s “Born to Run.” Where other acts might imbue their arts with sarcasm or, alternately, overplayed sincerity, they bring music.
Though one might associate “You Are My Sunshine” with a cheery delivery, it’s not altogether uncommon to find darker takes on it. After all, the lyrics (anywhere beyond the chorus) are more full of despair than the song’s titular sunshine. There are plenty of artists that will bring out the minor chords or less upbeat vocals than one might expect, but it’s a song that too few ultimately take to its fullest potential. At its lightest, it’s a piece saturated with melancholy; at its darkest and heaviest, at its most transformative, you’ll find Bent Knee.
Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
There’s a feel to the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?” that can be hard to pinpoint. There’s the Caribbean element to it, the literal storytelling of swimming in the ocean with sea creatures, but there’s no island feel to go with the lyrics; there’s the tricks, the spinning, the looming possibility of one’s empty head collapsing, and yet none of the nauseous dread that these images evoke. Instead, fittingly, the feel is one of distance – everything is there, all those lyrics and thoughts laid out, and yet they’re not what the song is about. It’s about a theme, a feeling, an environment, a difficult-to-pinpoint quality that brings the listener in. It’s a song that’s easy to cover and yet incredibly difficult to cover well, a song where a good cover is measured in its ability to capture something intangible.
Some artists, however, manage to capture it (or something close to it), and leave us not just enjoying a song but wondering the very question posed in the title.
There’s always some song that’s getting a lot of cover attention at any given time. Whether ironic or sincere, there’s some intangible quality about certain songs that makes them supremely coverable. That song, at the moment, seems to be the theme from HBO’s Game of Thrones, and it’s easy to see why. A range of new covers – from Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band, Marissa Nadler, and Chvrches – have sprung up in the wake of the premier of the show’s third season, and display the vast possibilities of the song.
There are times when it’s difficult to remember who a cover is covering. It’s a strange testament to all the artists involved – both that the songwriter can elicit such strong feelings and evoke such strong atmospheres as to seem like someone else and that the covering artist can bring out something unique from the heart of the song.
It’s not often that we describe anything here as “adorable,” but we’ll make an exception every so often. That being said, it seems wrong to use the word, for fear that it patronizes or that it downplays massive talent – and massive talent is precisely what the Stella sisters, Lennon and Maisie, have.