Aug 022019
 

That’s A Cover? explores cover songs that you may have thought were originals.

Edwin Starr War Temptations

Most know “War,” the anti-Vietnam protest song, by its distinctive and aggressive opening. After a drum roll, Edwin Starr launches into soulful protest: “War, huh, yeah / What is it good for / Absolutely nothing.” Hearing his hurt and anger, you can understand why the song resonated with the anti-war sentiment of the times. Throughout, Starr mixes singing with screaming, matching the tone of the wailing electric guitar and the occasional sassy saxophone lick. Starr’s powerful voice can stand up to the at times cacophonous instrumental accompaniment. The lyrics are not subtle, and Starr emphasizes each line without apology: “Induction then destruction / Who wants to die?”

The song was a massive success; it was even inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Its message remains potent, its obvious political statement inspiring near-continual controversy nearly half a century after its release. For example, after the September 11th attacks, Clear Channel Communications put “War” on a list of songs to be avoided for radio. However, it is thanks to the political nature of the lyrics that Edwin Starr got the chance to record the song in the first place. 

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Jul 312019
 

Check out the best covers of past months here.

best new cover songs july
Anais Mitchell & The Staves – Strong Enough (Sheryl Crow cover)

For a few years now, long-running French video company La Blogothèque has been filming a series they call “One to One” at Bon Iver’s various European festivals. They blindfold one audience member and bring them into a private room for a concert for one. Bon Iver did one, and Damien Rice’s is a must-watch. Personally, that experience sounds more awkward than enjoyable – especially with all the cameras in your face – so I’d rather just watch someone else’s personal concert on video. This one is a gem, feature The Staves with Anais Mitchell delivering a gorgeously-harmonized Sheryl Crow cover. Continue reading »

Jul 082019
 

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

dead mans town

Did you hear “Born in the U.S.A.” at your Fourth of July BBQ? Maybe a diehard Springsteen fan even played the full album. It certainly packs a punch; seven of the album’s twelve songs became top-10 hit singles. Taking patriotism to a whole new level, this album was even the first commercial CD made in the United States. 

Marking the 30th anniversary of the Born in the U.S.A. album, Dead Man’s Town was released in 2014 with the premise that the original album was so good that, as Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars states, “any of those songs could be played with acoustic guitar alone and still be great.”

Rolling Stone described the album as “reimagining Born in the U.S.A.… with a reduced approach more influenced by that of the acoustic Nebraska.” This cover album certainly would have followed Nebraska more congruously than the original Born in the U.S.A., which marked a departure from Springsteen’s earlier work yet brought him his greatest commercial success.

Dead Man’s Town captures the melancholy aspects of the Fourth of July, a holiday that marks the inflection point of the summer. Summer love is bending towards goodbye. Back to school advertisements abound. If you are looking for a soundtrack to summer’s end or a new take on your favorite Springsteen classics, this is the album for you. Here is a taste of what this album has to offer.

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Jul 032019
 
vampire weekend im goin down

Vampire Weekend is having one heck of a memorable tour in support of their May album release Father of the Bride. In a recent Spotify Singles session, they performed a Bruce Hornsby-esque stripped down version of “This Life” from the new album, and a song they have been covering for almost a decade by another Bruce: Springsteen’s “I’m Goin Down”. Continue reading »

Apr 102019
 
cover me patreon

Hello loyal Cover Me reader!

Since 2007, we’ve published literally thousands of features and news posts about cover songs here. And as we’ve entered our second decade, Cover Me is more popular than its ever been. (Thank you so much for that, by the way.)

But there’s a catch: Having more readers doesn’t necessarily translate into making more money to pay the bills. Just the opposite. As any of you who follows the media business knows, the old display-ad model (those ad banners you see up top and on the side) doesn’t work well any more. To quote the song that gave us our name: “The times are tough now, just getting tougher.”

So we’re turning to you, our readers, to support the site directly via our brand-new Patreon! Continue reading »

Apr 082019
 
the dunwells im on fire

When a song appears on one of the most iconic albums of all time, Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The U.S.A., and has to compete with “Dancing in the Dark,” “Glory Days” the title track, and “My Hometown,” a song like “I’m On Fire” can easily get lost in the musical shuffle. After all, the song was a bit of a throw-in to begin with, having been written two years prior and originally intended for 1982’s Nebraska. Continue reading »