Some covers are more equal than others. Good, Better, Best looks at three covers and decides who takes home the gold, the silver, and the bronze.
Madonna’s eighth album Music (the one with the cowboy hat) turns 20 today. She worked on it while pregnant with her son Rocco (and yes, she was pregnant when the music video was recorded). Before its official release date, preliminary recordings of the album were leaked on Napster (remember those days?). Despite this, the album sold plenty of copies, reaching triple platinum status.
The title track, and first single, “Music” was inspired by Madonna’s experience at a Sting concert, watching the audience engage with Police classics. At this writing, it’s also Madonna’s last number one single, which I’m actually surprised by–what, not enough “Hung Up” or “4 Minutes” fans out there? Nevertheless, today we celebrate the song that encouraged us to “put a record on” (before Corinne Bailey Rae did) with three covers.
The Heike Has The Giggles cover is good.
Hyphen Hyphen’s is better.
Out of Your Mouth’s cover is best.
Heike Has The Giggles – Music (Madonna cover)
Heike Has The Giggles is an indie band from Italy. Their abbreviated cover still packs a punch in under two minutes. From its in-your-face opening of paired guitar and drums, we get a departure from the original’s club beat. The tempo of this version escalates throughout, making the song a lot less laid back than the original. This cover’s more rock-punk style puts the rebellion in the chorus line “music makes the bourgeoisie and the rebel.”
Hyphen Hyphen – Music (Madonna cover)
Another European band, this time from France, adds their flair to “Music.” Their approach slows the song down and results in a more somber mood. With the band being known for their music speaking to the LGBTQ+ community, perhaps this version of the song is channelling a yearning for acceptance when dancing with their baby. The instrumentation is fairly sparse, but the original’s pervading electronic lick is featured in between verses. Towards the end, lead singer Santa steps back from the mic so that she can make an especially heartfelt plea to the DJ. By the way, Santa has trained with the same vocal coach as Beyoncé, and you can hear that power.
Out Of Your Mouth – Music (Madonna cover)
A Canadian rock band gets the final word with its strident take on this song. The heavy synth line starts out the song, and then heavier electric guitar builds. We got a taste of rebellion from Heike Has The Giggles, but this version takes us to full protest anthem level. It’s a call to action to come together through music. Lead singer Jason Darr captures Madonna’s spunk, almost taunting the DJ at times, and channels it into a slightly more brusque delivery.