Think of two words you associate with producer-turned-chart-topper Bruno Mars. I’ll go out on a limb and assume you didn’t choose “Russian fingerpicker.” But those are the best words to describe Igor Presnyakov, the classically trained guitarist who had racked up millions of YouTube views with his instrumental covers of artists from Lady Gaga to Pink Floyd.
Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.
In “Furt,” Burt Hummel and Carole Hudson decide to tie the knot. Meanwhile, Sue Sylvester realizes the only person good enough for her to marry is herself, and Kurt deals with his intensifying bully issue at school. Oh, and Carol Burnett shows up.
Superficially, this week’s episode of Glee has a lot in common with last week’s. Once again it’s got a celebrity guest star, a fairly outlandish plot (two weddings in one episode!) and only four musical numbers. Yet tonally the two shows feel vastly different. Last week’s “Substitute” showcased Gwyneth Paltrow as some kind of madwoman with an unbelievable fear of commitment; it only touched on any kind of grounded emotion towards the end when viewers got a glimpse of a real person hidden underneath Paltrow’s persona. Mostly, though, the episode revolved around giving her excuses to sing popular songs.
Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
Michael Jackson’s sixth solo album Thriller exploded onto the music scene in 1983. A year later, he released “Beat It” as the album’s third single and won two Grammys. As of September 2010, “Beat it” has been downloaded over 1.6 million times. The music video is just as iconic as the song; there is no other instance where a knife fight between tough gang leaders could devolve into synchronized arm flaps/pelvic thrusts and still be taken seriously.
While Michael’s death last year sparked a flurry of YouTube tributes to the King of Pop, “Beat it” has generated a wide range of interpretations ever since its debut. Ranking #337 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list, its popularity has inspired artists worldwide, from off-key amateurs to Fall Out Boy (ft. John Mayer, no less). Here are five of the best.
The twenty-first century has devalued the “song of the summer” concept something fierce. With listeners increasingly fractured into obscure niches, no song unites the culture the way the Beach Boys or Four Seasons did back in the day. Even if you hated those songs, they were a part of your summer experience. After all, loathing counts as an experience.
Speaking of loathing…“California Gurls.” If there was a song that dominated summer 2010, that was it. It’s a simple formula. Katy Perry + singing about chicks = summer smash. That wasn’t the only summer ‘010 hit though. There were the indie summer jams, of which we’ve got a couple, as well as the hits blaring from car radios. Even if you consider yourself above the Top 40, odds are you’ve heard these one way or another: over the supermarket PA, at a minor-league ball game, or from the crappy iPod speakers serenading the couple next to you at the beach. So while these may or may not have defined your personal summer, they come to as close to universal as it gets these days. You can run, you can hide, but you can’t escape these songs.*
*Summer Song ’02 reference.