Eric Garneau

Eric Garneau is a freelance writer and musician from the southern Chicago suburbs. He is also kind of a nerd -- he even ran his own comic book store for a few years after college, and blogs about comics weekly on the website Nerdy Nothings. Music in all its forms is his number one passion, and he's always been especially drawn to covers. In fact, on the weekends he can sometimes be seen performing in the cover band Take Cover or as the solo acoustic Bruce Springsteen tribute My Own Boss. He probably couldn't name his favorite cover even if he was forced to, but this much is clear: it would NOT be by Manfred Mann.

Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.

In “Extraordinary Merry Christmas,” Artie (Kevin McHale) is offered the chance to direct McKinley’s glee club in a televised Christmas special. Little do the other club members know he takes his Christmas inspiration from some bizarre sources.

“Extraordinary Merry Christmas” is not the first Christmas special to air on television this year. It’s not even the first Glee Christmas special to air, thanks to the irreverent, genius and criminally unpopular NBC sitcom Community, which last Thursday dedicated its entire Christmas episode (entitled “Regional Holiday Music”) to spoofing the Fox musical juggernaut. The staff behind Community probably couldn’t have predicted that they’d get payback for spending a half hour in Glee‘s shoes; this week, Glee decided to live in Community‘s world with an episode you’d expect to see on that show or, really, anywhere but Glee. The Christmas special Artie ends up producing is a (directly referred-to) mash-up of the much-maligned 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special, Judy Garland’s classic 1963 Christmas special, and at the end some Charlie Brown Christmas for good measure. The result basically ends up a cover of a TV show. Though Glee certainly likes to allude to existing pop culture, even going so far as to recreate certain music videos shot-for-shot, it has never lived in another universe for two acts before. That’s Community territory, but Glee pulls it off marvelously. Continue reading »

Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.

In “Hold on to Sixteen,” New Directions and their rival glee club the TroubleTones compete in the Sectionals competition. Meanwhile, Quinn (Dianna Agron) plots to get Shelby (Idina Menzel) fired and an old friend returns to McKinley High.

Just last week I was thinking about how, in the future, we’ll be able to look back and pinpoint lackluster Glee episodes with an alarming degree of certainty based solely on the presence of Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet), a character who appeared only in season two, which seems generally agreed-upon as the worst of Glee‘s output to date. It should be no surprise, then, that when Sam returns to the show this week he brings with him a very season two-styled episode that feels the need to rush through a whirlwind of plot points without really doing justice to any of them. Even though “Hold on to Sixteen” is one of those special “competition” episodes that brings plots to their culmination by design, everything about it feels so hurried that nothing really has a chance to land – it’s 20 minutes of plot, then 20 minutes of performances, then a tacked-on happy ending. Honestly, I did not enjoy it. Continue reading »

Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.

In “I Kissed a Girl,” Santana (Naya Rivera) grapples with being forced out of the closet while the show’s two elections (Kurt Hummel for student body president and Burt Hummel for Congress) enter their last days. Meanwhile, the competition between the New Directions glee club and rivals the Troubletones cools down as the groups come together to help Santana through her identity crisis.

Before we get too deep into this week’s episode, we need to backtrack a bit to our previous entry. I had mentioned how much I enjoyed last episode’s closing Adele mash-up, “Rumor Has It/Someone Like You,” and apparently I wasn’t the only one. Besides commenters and friends of this site, the music-buying public also voiced their support, giving Glee its best-performing single by far in a long, long time. “Rumor Has It/Someone Like You” hit number 11 on the U.S. charts; the next highest-charting song from this season, a cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You,” didn’t even crack the top 40 (it settled at 59). The last Glee song that did so well was actually one of their original numbers from the middle of season two, “Loser Like Me.” The last cover to rival the Adele mash-up’s performance was “Forget You,” which you may recall unfortunately featured Gwyneth Paltrow. Not a bad accomplishment for Glee‘s 300th song then, eh? Perhaps that mash-up signals a return to a more pop-oriented soundtrack after a first few months dominated by musical numbers. Continue reading »

This week, Cover Me celebrates Freddie Mercury 20 years after his passing. Read Part 1 here.

On April 20, 1992, one of the most impressive collections of musicians ever assembled for one show gathered together to pay tribute to Farrokh Bulsara, better known to the world as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, who had passed away due to complications from AIDS some six months before. Today, as we approach the 20th anniversary of his passing, Cover Me looks back at this monumental concert event, a celebration of covers and of one of the most unique talents ever to grace the performing arts. Continue reading »

Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.

In “Mash Off,” New Directions and rival glee club The Troubletones square off in a friendly competition to see who can produce the best mash-up in preparation for the upcoming sectionals competition. But what starts as jovial quickly turns sour, especially for Santana (Naya Rivera), who’s sitting on a pretty big secret that’s about to come out.

It’s about time for Glee‘s annual mash-up episode. I’ve talked before about how much I enjoy it when Glee travels down that particular road, so I’ll just give a quick recap here: mash-ups give Glee a chance to do something it rarely does otherwise, which is get creative with song arrangements. That’s because the show has no choice; these mash-ups have no precedent and are invented specifically for these episodes, which means they have to be at least somewhat creative, even if that creativity’s misdirected. Continue reading »

When presented with a series of cover albums called Guilt by Association, one might imagine them to be filled with ironic takes on cheesy pop songs; that threat’s only increased by a volume that promises to present only songs that fall under the classification of “hair metal,” perhaps the most mocked of all genres. Fortunately, Guilt by Association Vol. 3 betrays no sign of hipster bands mocking songs that some people (this reviewer) legitimately love. Instead, it finds a collection of young, talented acts embracing some admittedly overwrought material from the 1980s and truly making it their own. By any metric, Guilt by Association can be considered a success. Continue reading »

Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.

In “The First Time,” McKinley High prepares to open their production of West Side Story, but stars Rachel (Lea Michele) and Blaine (Darren Criss) find themselves full of indecision after musical director Artie (Kevin McHale) suggests they need sexual experience to properly portray their roles.

West Side Story‘s over, and I’m not sure how much there’s left to say about McKinley High’s (really professional-looking) production of the classic musical. I’m really surprised this plot sustained itself over five episodes (with its songs making it into three of the last four), but it seems that for now we’ve seen the last of the West Side. Is that a good thing? Continue reading »

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

Even though the site you’re currently reading focuses solely on cover music, we seldom turn our attention to actual cover acts. Today, though, we’re going to spotlight one that’s risen to a level of notoriety much higher than most of their bar-dwelling brethren — Steel Panther, the most rockin’ band in the land. This four-piece group, comprised of lead vocalist Michael Starr, guitarist Satchel, bassist Lexxi Foxxx and drummer Stix Zadinia (get it?!) expertly merge tremendous musical chops and keen comic sensibilities to both pay tribute to ’80s hair metal icons and lay bare all the ridiculousness inherent to the genre. Through a regular Monday residency on LA’s Sunset Strip, Panther (formerly Metal Skool, Metal Shop and Danger Kitty) has built an impressive following out of their celebratory shows. In fact, the group’s been embraced by LA’s indie comedy community just as much as the world of rock music; in a hilarious episode of the Comedy Bang Bang podcast, they joke with Human Giant and Children’s Hospital star Rob Huebel that he’s the fifth member of their band, and Sarah Silverman has appeared in their music video for “Death to All but Metal.” Continue reading »

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