In The “King of Tears” episode of his podcast Revisionist History, Malcolm Gladwell argues that country music is better at genuine emotions than rock and roll. To prove this point, he goes after The Rolling Stones’ classic “Wild Horses,” comparing it to “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” As one of my favourite Stones’ ballads, this episode irked me to no end. Gladwell argues that specificity in lyrics is better to convey emotion, and that country music is better at specific storytelling than rock and roll. He argues that “Wild Horses” is just too vague. I don’t disagree with Gladwell about lyrical specificity being more effective more often than not, but I sure think he picked the wrong Rolling Stones song to try to prove his point. (For one thing, this is one of the Stones’ most famous attempts at country. So it’s sure weird to say rock doesn’t do specificity as well as country, but then to pick a country-ish song from a rock band.) Continue reading »
Nothing But Thieves are a 5-piece rock band that has recently covered “Flowers” live for Like a Version, the series of covers that are featured on the Australian radio station called Triple J. The tune “Flowers” had loads of covers before the chart-topper had even been around for a month. We’re now at three months in, and this song has a lot of versions to sift through. But this one is more unique than some of the other dime-a-dozen covers that have been floating around the internet.
To me, the bass line in “Flowers” always sounded straight out of the ’80s. But Nothing by Thieves added in lush synths and bright drums in their edition, and it really sealed the deal in making it sounds like it was from four decades ago. Conor Mason’s (intentionally) lackadaisical vocal diction in this one is purely charming, and the addition of the vocoder was a pleasant surprise.
Nothing But Thieves kept the basic outline of Cyrus’s hit while adding layers and layers of new textural material. Check it out below.
For more great Miley Cyrus covers, be sure to check out: https://www.covermesongs.com/?s=miley+cyrus&searchsubmit=
Version Girl by… Rhoda who?
Well, think back to the heady days of 2 Tone Records, Coventry, UK. On the cusp of the 1970s into ’80s, this label hosted the Specials, the Selecter, the (English) Beat, and more. Their revisioning of ska arguably led to the proliferation of ska-punk bands in the US, led off by No Doubt. The 2-Tone movement was as much a political beast as a musical one, preaching a message of integration, with many of the (already multi-racial) bands including children of the 1950s wave of immigration, from the West Indies and into the UK. Racism was more savage then, or perhaps just more nuanced, with the movement alerting the youth of the nation into a better understanding and acceptance.
Anyway, Rhoda Dakar was a member of the Bodysnatchers, an all-female band, who had some brief success before evolving into the Belle Stars, who had a number of hits, including their version of old N’Awlins staple “Iko Iko.” Dakar was not a Belle Star herself, but she moved on to being a guest singer with the Specials, for their second album, touring with them, later becoming a member of the Special AKA, the band they evolved into. Primarily a singer, she has since made a number of solo recordings and popped up in collaborations with a number of acts, notably Madness and the Dub Pistols. Now she has released Version Girl, her first solo album since 2015’s Rhoda Dakar Sings the Bodysnatchers.
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Included on their newest (mini) album, Heartbreak Rules, Boston-based indie rock band Horse Jumper of Love takes their distinct shoegaze and slowcore sound to cover the Smashing Pumpkins’ popular track “Luna.” Originally featured on the Smashing Pumpkins’ iconic second studio album Siamese Dream, “Luna” is a dreamy meditation of heartbreak and acceptance of unrequited love–one that has been haunting listeners for exactly 30 years this summer. Continue reading »
Beck – Hands on the Wheel (Willie Nelson cover)
Willie Nelson’s giant 90th birthday concert in Los Angeles featured a whole host of covers. Some of them featured the man himself. Admittedly, that makes those not really covers, so we’ll feature a couple Willie-less Willie tunes. First up, Beck tackles Willie’s Red Headed Stranger classic “Hands on the Wheel.” (Find another cover of this song in the Best of the Rest list.) Continue reading »
Animal Collective’s debut album Spirit They’ve Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished came out nearly 23 years ago, though when it came out it was only credited to Avey Tare (David Portner) and Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), and really it’s mostly an Avey Tare solo album. They’ve released a reissue of the album with an EP of requisite bonus tracks, given its own title, A Night At Mr. Raindrop’s Holistic Supermarket. Included in this EP of outtakes is a pretty radical cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” Of course, “pretty radical” is what you would expect from Animal Collective. Continue reading »