Feb 222017
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

joshi

Jaime Joshi lives in South Florida amidst geckos, 24-hour Cuban coffee and soup-like humidity. She has been writing for Cover Me since 2013; of all her pieces, she is particularly proud of her pieces on Bruce Springsteen and Madonna. (She’s the one on the right.)
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Jun 292016
 
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The Replacements‘ “Bastards of Young” is an undeniable indie-punk anthem and the worst song you could cover. Walk into any opening set at Baby’s All Right and some hyped up indie-new-wave, Simpson-wave, or I-want-fall-asleep-this-is-so-meh-wave band will butcher this classic and will sound almost as bad as your lame alternative folksinger friend trying to cover “Skinny Love” with a tuba. If you’re going to cover The Replacements, pick a better song off Tim.

However, Katy Goodman (La Sera and formerly Vivian Girls) and Greta Morgan (Springtime Carnivore) covering “Bastards of Young” is newsworthy and worth your time for two reasons. One, it’s off the duo’s upcoming covers album, Take It, It’s Yours (August 26 via Polyvinyl Records), featuring covers of punk and new wave songs from The Stooges, The Jam, Blondie, Bad Brains, and more – check out Pitchfork for the full tracklist. Two, Goodman and Morgan actually manage to do something interesting with a song that’s been covered to death. They take out the yells and and the fight-or-die guitars and bring in poolside tremolo guitars and keyboards and soothing harmonies to highlight the surprisingly strong lyrics. It sounds like a Real Estate song in the best way possible, and it’s an example of one of the golden rules for covering songs: If you’re going to cover a massively beloved hit, it’s best to do something different and interesting.

Here’s Goodman in a statement about the upcoming album:

“On the surface a song like [Bad Brains’] “Pay to Cum” seems really masculine, but to me, the lyrics are really more about freedom. You have the right to sing, you have the right to dance. When you have two girls harmonizing on these songs, they take on a new meaning, because you’re listening in a different way. … These songs helped shaped who we are. They gave us the songs, and now we get to give them back as our thank you.”

Pre-order the album here. Photo by Julia Brokaw.

Apr 272016
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).

As you know, Prince unexpectedly passed away last week. As you may also know, in the last decade or so before he passed, he had a contentious relationship with cover songs. He was famously litigious about getting covers of his songs pulled off blogs and YouTube, and regularly questioned in interviews whether an artist should be allowed to cover another artist’s song without getting the original artist’s permissions. We even wrote a defense of covers to Prince five years to the day before his death (spooky). We loved Prince, but Prince didn’t necessarily love us – or anyone else who recorded or shared covers of his songs.

So today’s staff/reader question arises from that same debate, what specific cover might be the one to convince Prince that covers of his songs were a good thing. Our picks are below, add your own in the comments.

Today’s Question: If you could have introduced Prince to a Prince cover, what would it be?

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Feb 262014
 

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

In the 1980s, there was one artist that Minneapolis became known for. And that was Prince.

But if you took the bus to the bad part of town, watching the blight and the snowy misery go by through fogged up windows, you would eventually spot a burned-out, abandoned, and graffiti-tagged little red Corvette: perched up on blocks, stuffed with liquor bottles in the back seat, and harboring a coffee can in the front filled to the brim with cigarette butts. If you opened the door, you would find a floor littered with cassettes. K-Tel. Kiss. Big Star. And if you ran the VIN number, you’d find the owner to be the Replacements.
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May 312012
 

The Replacements released one of their most successful albums in 1984 and called it Let It Be. It didn’t seem to matter that The Beatles already took the name, but that’s the type of attitude the Replacements were known for – to be daring and kind of dumb. Let It Be was their fourth album, and by this point the band decided to expand their sound from punk. While they didn’t abandon their roots altogether — Let It Be is far from polished, and has tracks like “Gary’s Got a Boner,” and “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out,” — there are songs that showed an incredibly insightful side to Paul Westerberg’s writing, which is where “Answering Machine” lies. Continue reading »

Nov 112011
 

As the frontman for alt-rock heroes Dashboard Confessional, Chris Carrabba has been capturing ladies’ hearts with his angsty, swoon-worthy voice since 2000. Now it seems that the Connecticut-born singer is ready for something new. This winter he’s embarking on an acoustic tour, but this time around he’ll be flying solo – just a man and his trusty guitar. And Covered in the Flood, Carrabba’s first solo album featuring nothing but covers, will be available at his shows. He generously gave the public a little taste of what’s coming by sharing five of the ten tracks. Continue reading »