Aug 082014
 

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

Interpreting song lyrics can be a dicey endeavor. Many songwriters seem to aspire to something poetic, obscure or obtuse. While it may not be hard to deduce the meaning of lyrics like, say, “I wanna rock and roll all nite, and party every day,” so many songs defy easy understanding, either because the lyrics are vague, or hard to hear, or even utter gibberish. R.E.M.’s early songs were filled with random words that made little obvious sense, and yet along with the music, they somehow created a mood. In 2008, Michael Stipe participated in a Q&A with fans, and he said about his early songs:

those songs were mostly written to be sung live. The pa systems were so crap that no one could ever really hear the singer anyway, including the singer. We just never intended to make records, and then suddenly we were making records and the songs were in my head like that, so we just blurred the vocal and turned it way down. The songs that do have words don’t really make any or much sense, it was about creating a feeling and emotion in the room in the moment. As it turns out the records turned out pretty great too, just inscrutable. I had to learn pretty fast how to write a good or great lyric after that. Please don’t analyze them, there’s nothing but feeling there. Sing along and make it up, that’s what I still do.
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Jun 292012
 

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

Erickson didn’t simply sing [the] songs, he became them. Watching him then, it was like he was screaming to get outside of his body, knowing that the music behind him was a cannon meant to hurtle him into the stratosphere. I can recall shows where Erickson sang as if his life would end if he didn’t reach a certain plateau. We’d stand in the audience, holding our breath and hoping for his sake that he got there. – Bill Bentley

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