Jul 232013

Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.

One of the greatest American movies, Nashville uses the microcosm of Music City to capture the country’s zeitgeist like it had never been captured before. With an ensemble of twenty-four characters and a running time over two and a half hours, Nashville‘s scope is enormous, but necessary; five days in a post-Vietnam, post-Watergate, pre-Bicentennial nation makes for a lot of story. It also makes for a lot of songs; more than an hour of the movie consists of music, most of it written by the movie stars themselves. Nashvillagers didn’t take too kindly to the movie or the songs, but they both had and have a healthy cult following, especially among alt-country singers – one of whom decided to make something more from them.
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Jun 072013

Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.

In 2008, Melissa Rich Mulcahy died, leaving behind two-year-old twin girls and her husband Mark. That would be Mark Mulcahy, leader of the ’80s college radio favorites Miracle Legion and Polaris (Adventures of Pete & Pete – ’nuff said) and a solo artist who was suddenly not just a widower, but one who was unable to record or tour because he needed to be there for the kids. What he didn’t know was that plans had been set in motion to put together a tribute album whose proceeds would assist him in his hour of need – plans which evolved into what Big Takeover called “a sort of indie-rock equivalent to the final scene of It’s a Wonderful Life.”
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Mar 162012

In the past few weeks, we’ve seen something of a renaissance in Leonard Cohen covers. The trend continues today, with three new installments in Columbia Records’ Old Ideas With New Friends series.

A.C. Newman and friends perform quite a neat trick with “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye.” They don’t change the song that much, although Newman brings a broader vocal range than Cohen; rather, they create a track that makes Cohen’s sound like the rendering, even when listening to the two in close comparison. They create something that sounds like an ages-old folk tune (which it is, in a sense, Cohen being perhaps the greatest bard of the twentieth century); they create a track that sounds like they took the pulpy orange juice of the original and, somehow, brought all of their collective talents to it to present to us a whole, unperforated, ripe orange, peel and all. Continue reading »

Oct 282010

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

Back in the ’80s, there seemed to be a formula for becoming a one-hit-wonder. Write an insanely catchy pop-song, deliver a visually interesting music video and get that video thrown into heavy rotation on MTV. The Norwegian trio A-ha nailed that formula with smash hit “Take On Me.”

The synthpop swing of the tune first made waves overseas before topping the U.S. Billboard charts in 1985. While it’s definitely a perfectly fitting song for the era, the majority of its popularity was due to the cutting-edge music video. The video combined pencil-sketch animation with live-action to create a comic book coming to life. It still stands as one of the iconic videos of early MTV. Check out this recent Family Guy, where they spoof the video by having Chris Griffin get trapped in A-ha’s world. Continue reading »