Apr 102020
 

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

Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River"

Justin Timberlake was one of the rare artists who successfully escaped a ’90s boy band to become a “serious” and respected artist. This was almost unheard of at the time; many “leaders” of bands failed to breakthrough as solo artists, let alone boy bands. But Timberlake paved the way for others like Harry Styles to flourish beyond their first act. However, Timberlake did not do it alone. Timbaland and The Neptunes, a production duo made up of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, helped craft Timberlake’s first solo album Justified.

I didn’t always know this fun fact. I recently re-discovered Timbaland’s Shock Value and Shock Value II, and although I appreciated the wide variety in collaborators (Jet, Fall Out Boy, Chad Kroeger, and Elton John are some of the most surprising), I realized that Timberlake and Timbaland sure were collaborating a lot. Then I started to do some digging and realized how influential Timbaland was in Timberlake’s career. Throwing the whole way back to Justified put Pharrell on my radar as well. I then wondered how many other artists these two had influenced in a similar way, and with that question, this week of posts was born.

I discovered that The Neptunes produced hits like “Señorita,” “Like I Love You,” and “Rock Your Body,” while Timbaland produced “Cry Me a River” and the less mainstream but still impactful “Right for Me” and “(Oh No) What You Got.” Since then, Timbaland has been involved in each of Justin Timberlake’s solo albums, helping Timberlake to bring SexyBack and rock a Suit & Tie, among other good deeds. He is even involved in the Trolls soundtrack! Man in the Woods also reunited Timberlake, Timbaland, and The Neptunes. Where would Timberlake be without these two?!

After a week of exploring the influences of the two triple threats Timbaland and Pharrell Williams (they write, they produce, and they perform), we delve into five covers of “Cry Me a River,” Justified‘s second single that features Timbaland vocals. For context, the song was inspired by Timberlake’s breakup with Britney Spears. Key features to listen for are the piano and synth lines,  the opening monk chants, an intense beat drop, and falsetto accusations like “don’t act like you don’t know it” and “I found out from him.”

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May 042018
 

“Covering the Hits” looks at covers of a randomly-selected #1 hit from the past sixty years.

despacito covers

The idea behind this new series is that the random-number generator will pull up one random Billboard Hot 100 number-one from 1958 through 2018, the chart’s 60th birthday. For whatever reason, though, so far said generator is only delivering me either super old hits – my last was 1963’s regrettable “Hey Paula” – or very current – a late-period Britney Spears hit. And the trend continues today when we look at covers of one of the most recent hits out there, 2017’s #1 hit “Despacito.”

And not just one of the most recent hits, but one of the biggest. Ever. Last year, “Despacito” last year tied Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day” for the most weeks atop the Hot 100 in history. This wasn’t just a number-one hit. This is objectively one of the biggest hits of all time.

So there must be a million covers, right? Not really. Despite being so massive, “Despacito” never caught that wave of semi-ironic indie rock covers that so many pop smashes do. Continue reading »

Aug 312016
 

Working at an elementary school fundamentally changes the way you listen to and critique music. After only a year of working with children, I have become something of a pop music – dare I say it – enthusiast. I have listened to (and danced) the Nae Nae more times than my angsty-and-holier-than-thou-17-year-old-self would have ever though possible. I know all the words to even the Bieber songs that aren’t on a continuous radio loop.

I’m not even mad about it though. Pop music is fun as hell, and artist JLiNE knows this, too. His club-ready originals have a genuineness about them; he unabashedly calls on the listener to get in on the good times he is clearly having in his videos.  Cover Me has an exclusive of his cover mash-up of Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” and  Justin Bieber‘ “Where R U Now?” and I dare you not to bob your head along. Continue reading »

Oct 272015
 
FlorenceandtheMachine-500x333

With their latest visit to BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, three-time Grammy nominated indie rock group Florence + The Machine let loose with yet another breath-taking cover song – this time around, of Justin Bieber and Skrillex/Diplo’s “Where Are Ü Now.” Continue reading »

Jun 012012
 

Best (So Far) finds the finest first-round covers of the latest pop hits.
 

If anyone could give vats of melted cheese a sexy pop culture “comeback,” it’s Justin Bieber. With his runaway single “Boyfriend,” in which he arguably crossed over from tween heart-throb to adult sex symbol by rapping in a whisper, Bieber painted many steamy pictures of romance: Justin lying in the snow with his girlfriend, Buzz Lightyear flying across the globe, lots and lots of something called “swag.” Continue reading »

Sep 262011
 

“Weird Al” Yankovic first debuted his new “Polka Face” covers medley live last year, and now, 15 months later, we move from shaky concert footage to off-the-wall music video. Now, normally Al’s polkas get music videos for his concerts consisting of the original video clips synced to his medley (like this one), so this marks his polka-video debut. Continue reading »