Caroline Baran is an amazingly talented 15 year old singer who made her debut on old-timey covers series Postmodern Jukebox in 2016 singing Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”. She was discovered during a Postmodern Jukebox competition, and boy what a discovery. Like a young Alicia Keys, Baran possesses an understanding of music that is far beyond her years. Coupled with a voice that is both technically and musically superb, Baran is a rare young talent, as evidenced in this gorgeous rendition of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”.
Scott Bradlee deserves a victory lap. For five years as the founder and leader of Postmodern Jukebox, he’s taken the hits of today and given them the vintage sounds of yesteryear, with the assistance of many very talented friends. His live-in-the-living-room rearrangements have earned him more than half a billion views on YouTube, all without major label support or corporate sponsorship. You would think that The Essentials, a collection of greatest hits, would be an ideal capper to this remarkable achievement.
But there’s still the sense that Bradlee has something to prove – he’s looking to place this album high on the Billboard charts as he takes PMJ on its North American tour this month. “No more talk of Postmodern Jukebox as a ‘YouTube act,’ or ‘online viral sensation,'” he says. “This is real, we’re here to stay, and we’re ready to change the music industry.”
A few weeks ago I was having a discussion with my friends about Bon Jovi’s best song. Of course, there were plenty that chose “Livin’ On a Prayer” or “Bad Medicine”. Even a couple of votes for “It’s My Life”. My friend, Steve, chose “Bed of Roses”. (I still don’t know if he was joking or not.)
My vote went to “You Give Love a Bad Name”. For me, there is not a better Bon Jovi tune. So when I heard that the amazing Postmodern Jukebox did a cover of this song, I had to write about it.
Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
“Paper Planes” was the penultimate track on M.I.A.’s second album Kala; it took thirteen months from the album’s release for the song to peak at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Guaranteed no other paper planes have flown so high and so far for so long. Riding a sample from “Straight to Hell” by the Clash (who are rightfully credited) and a chorus borrowed from “Rump Shaker” by Wreckx-N-Effect (who aren’t), the song had as great an impact on 2008 as the gunfire in its chorus. Critics fell over themselves praising the record’s sound, somehow both chaotic and serene, and its message, a sort of “Money (That’s What I Want)” gone global for the 21st century.
Now that the dust “Paper Planes” stirred up has settled back down again, let’s take a look at some of the covers it inspired…
In 1995, it seemed like you couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise”. I know this because I was working at a Top 40 radio station at the time and nine out of every ten phone calls I answered were a request for this song. (The other one was for “anything by Boyz II Men”.)