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.