We first encountered French pop superstar Christine and the Queens when she covered Kanye West’s “Heartless” with an unlikely twist: mixing in bits of 1973 French hit “Les Paradis Perdus.” Knowing that, it should be no surprise that the newly short-haired Christine doesn’t play her Rihanna cover for the BBC straight. Instead, throughout her powerful rendition of Rihanna’s “Kiss It Better,” she sprinkles in lines from Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights.”
Though Bob Dylan moved away from his role as a ‘protest singer’ long ago — we saw Another Side by his fourth album — his name will forever be associated with social activism. The international human rights organization Amnesty International rose out of the same turbulent era as Dylan, forming in 1961, the year Dylan recorded his first album. Fitting, then, that in celebration of their 50th birthday, Amnesty would call on artists to contribute their Dylan covers to the massive four disc set Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International.
Best (So Far) finds the finest first-round covers of the latest pop hits.
With its infectious whistling hook and taut digital disco groove, Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera’s “Moves Like Jagger” is endearing a whole new generation of music listeners to the frontman of The Rolling Stones in a way Ruby Tuesday never could have expected. To those hip to the ways of classic rock, Jagger stands for a cragginess, for experience, for a libido-driven dude who’s seen a whole lot of life. But in this funky tag-team single, he’s all slickness and sultry dance beats — the key to Adam Levine’s soaring vocal seduction of a swiftly yielding Xtina, and the fuel for a very different demographic of backseat makeouts.
Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.
In “Original Song,” the kids from McKinely High once again compete in the regional glee club competition. Thanks to the machinations of Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), they discover they can’t sing their show-stopping My Chemical Romance number, and instead decide to compose and perform…wait for it…original songs. Will the glee club’s newfound creativity be enough to secure a trip to the national competition in New York City?
Last season’s regionals episode, “Journey,” provided some of Glee‘s most powerful moments to date. Bursting with anthemic music and sharp setpieces (the delivery of Quinn’s baby comes to mind), that episode reminded audiences that at its best Glee packs a lot of punch. “Journey” closed out season one, and, other than a few glimmers to the contrary, the second season’s been unable to live up to those previously established highs.
Quick, name a classic Jerry Lee Lewis album. Okay, now try Chuck Berry. Little Richard? Bo Diddley? Fats Domino?
How’d you do? Bet you came up empty. Don’t feel bad. After all, these artists didn’t make albums; they made singles. Sure, labels collected those singles on any number of mix-and-match LPs, but the artist never intended them for that medium. Singles mean to grab you by the lapel for two minutes before the disc jockey switches to someone else. The end result: artists recycled proven formulas. But who cares if “Johnny B. Goode” is basically a “Roll Over Beethoven” rewrite? They weren’t meant to be listened to together.
On The Baseballs Strike! Back, the expanded re-release of their 2009 debut Strike!, the nostalgic trio rips off Domino, Jerry Lee, and all their Brylcreem-slick peers. Their sound isn’t particularly innovate, but that’s the whole idea. These guys adapt that early rock and roll style to current pop hits. Ever wonder what Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” would sound like as skiffle? Probably not, but they’ll show you anyway.