Jun 182021
 

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!

Shawn Colvin covers

We shine the spotlight on an artist who has won acclaim for her own songwriting—including a song of the year and record of the year Grammy—but who has been overlooked as an interpretive artist. Cover Me readers, let’s show Shawn Colvin some love. She has released not one but four albums of covers (if you count the Holiday song collection and the collection of children’s lullabies). And those are just the start: we can also look at covers she has inserted onto albums otherwise devoted to her own material, and listen to her guest appearances on other artists’ cover projects.
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Jun 182021
 
skatune redbone

Skanking holds a small place in my heart as one of the only styles of dance I can not only do, but don’t feel self conscious doing.  Thank goodness then that Skatune’s version of Childish Gambino’s hit track “Redbone” gives me an excuse to skank again!

While Gambino’s version is a slow, deep funk track, Skatune’s version is…well, that typical upbeat ska sound. The track is given a sense of urgency, moving the song away its slow dance roots towards a belter for skanking to in a mosh pit. The original melody isn’t really even there – you’d only know the track is “Redbone” after a few lines of the lyrics. There’s even a horn section solo in place of the original synth portion of the track to fully complete the Ska takeover. Continue reading »

Jun 162021
 

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

a cappella cover

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).

Today’s question, suggested by staffer Curtis Zimmerman: What’s your favorite cover of a fictional song?
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Jun 162021
 
sunset rollercoaster

Sometimes reinventing a track means finding a new sound from the elements of old ones. This is certainly the approach that Taiwanese rock group Sunset Rollercoaster took with their cover of  ‘小薇’ (translated to ‘Xiao Wei’), which was originally popularized by Taiwanese singer Huang Pin Yuan. The original track was written and performed by Adi ‘N’ the Brothers in 2000 before Huang’s cover in 2002 brought it to mainstream attention. It remains one of his most well-known songs in Taiwan. Continue reading »

Jun 152021
 

The Shins’ debut album Oh, Inverted World turns 20 this month. To celebrate the release of the remastered edition, the band commissioned several covers to be released as part of the celebration. First, the band Skullcrusher covered “New Slang”; then Buzzy Lee aka Sasha Spielberg covered “Caring is Creepy.” Most recently Frankie Cosmos covered “Girl Inform Me.” Frankie Cosmos began simply as the stage name of Greta Kline, but now the project has expanded into a full band, including Luke Pyenson on drums and vocals, Alex Bailey on bass guitar and keyboards, and Lauren Martin on keyboards, synthesizers, and harmonies. Continue reading »

Jun 142021
 
black midi nothing compares 2 u cover

Buzzy UK math/prog rockers Black Midi just released their second studio album, Cavalcade on May 26, 2021. As part of the release the band polled their fans about which covers they should include on a bonus flexi disc available from record stores. The results are in are the covers are

At first, Black Midi feel sound like they might be taking the piss on their”Nothing Compares 2 U”. Lead singer Geordie Greep’s falsetto is flawed and goofy, almost as if he’s doing a bad Roland Gift impression, and there’s just his voice and a synth. But, whether or not he’s goofing off, once the rest of the band chimes in and the tempo picks up, it really feels like they are trying to put their spin on it. Yes, the vocals are extremely silly, but the musicianship is great – of course it is – and the sense of fun is palpable.

After the guitar solo, things get really weird, with manic interpolations of Frank Zappa’s “Keep It Greasy” from Joe’s Garage and “Let’s Go Crazy” from Prince’s own Purple Rain. (Listen for the reference to Tim Burton’s Batman, which Prince soundtracked, during the “Let’s Go Crazy” segment.)

Yes, it’s goofy, it’s bizarre and it’s possible that the band don’t actually like the song. But it’s a lot of fun, perhaps because of the irreverence. This is pretty hallowed ground after all, and it’s enjoyable to see a band just tearing into such a famous song and not worrying about whether you like it or not. It’s not streaming anywhere, but a Reddit user preserved it on Dropbox.