Sara Stoudt

Sara is a statistician, but during her free time she is crafting the perfect playlist for any occasion. Her dad trained her well in the art of music appreciation (for which her live music trivia team is thankful for), and she is definitely judging you by your karaoke song choice. Follow her on Twitter or check out her website.

Nov 202020
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

4 Non Blondes covers

4 Non Blondes were fine with not fitting in. They even named their group after a pointed run in with a blonde family in San Francisco that made that fact very clear. Although they only made one album and disbanded after five years, the group made a splash while they were together. They were particularly influential in the LGBTQ+ community, getting their start in various bars throughout San Francisco. Since the breakup, lead singer Linda Perry and guitarist Shaunna Hall have written and produced with other artists, and drummer Wanda Day continued to drum in other bands until an accident made it too difficult to continue playing.

Their second single, “What’s Up?” was a success all over the world, reaching higher spots on the charts outside of the US than even inside. And although it may be considered a one-hit wonder, the song is one that remains relevant when you are just feeling a bit run down. Some may call it a pre-chorus, I just call it my daily routine.

Here we have five covers of “What’s Up?” trying all the time to live up to the original. All of the covers begin with a different instrument leading the way. I dare you not to sing along.

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Nov 202020
 

Dizzy's "Basement Covers"

Dizzy is a band from Ontario made up of singer Katie Munshaw and three brothers: Alex, Charlie, and Mack Spencer. You could call them alternative pop, indie pop, dream pop, maybe even Ontario indie. Munshaw and Charlie Spencer met in high school, and their debut album Baby Teeth chronicled the roller coaster that is being a teenager. This album won them the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year in 2019 and gave them a wider audience. Earlier this year they released their second album The Sun and Her Scorch, this time with inspiration from being 20-somethings. The pandemic cut their tour for this album short, but during quarantine Dizzy has been keeping busy posting covers to YouTube. Basement Covers is an EP meant to collect their favorites.

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Nov 062020
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

Nine Inch Nails, originally formed in Cleveland, Ohio, gets a chance to return to their start with an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. The third time was the charm; they were nominated in 2014 and 2015 as well.

The band is still active despite many hiatuses throughout their career. For example, did you know that Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” samples a Nine Inch Nails song from one of their instrumental Ghosts albums (the latest, Ghosts V, released this year)? Longstanding band members Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have even been involved in writing movie scores for films and television shows such as The Social Network, Gone Girl, and Watchmen.

But back in 1994, their second album The Downward Spiral, a concept album tracing a man’s deteriorating life, brought the band into the mainstream and gave them commercial success. Although one of the singles off this album, “Closer,” is arguably their most popular hit, another of the album’s tracks, “Hurt,” has stood the test of time. It’s been covered most notably by Johnny Cash, but it’s also featured in movies, television shows, and even in sports montages and tributes.

To celebrate Nine Inch Nails’s induction, we revisit “Hurt” with five good covers and one good twist–all of them are by female artists.
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Nov 022020
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody covers

Whitney Houston was a force; her accolades are legion. The people at Guinness World Records named her the most awarded female artist of all time. Her 415 awards (as of 2010) include 6 Grammys and 22 American Music Awards. Of her 30 Billboard Music Awards, she won 11 in one year, breaking a record. Each of her 7 solo albums and 2 soundtrack albums have been certified gold or above.

Houston also has won awards for her involvement in films, including most famously in The Bodyguard with her stunning (cover) performance of “I Will Always Love You.” NPR calls the song the “‘Old Town Road’ of its day.” The Bodyguard soundtrack remains, (as far as I can track down,) the best-selling soundtrack of all time, and the movie’s portrayal of an interracial relationship was impactful at the time.

Houston was not free of personal struggles, including drug use and her tumultuous relationship with Bobby Brown. But today, her impact lies beyond even her music and acting. Houston was a major supporter of Nelson Mandela and performed in benefit concerts during his imprisonment. She then became the first big-name musician to visit South Africa post-apartheid under Mandela. Proceeds from her broadcast of the concerts there were donated to South African charities.

It was only a matter of time before yet another award appeared on Houston’s already long list. This year we celebrate her induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It should be noted that Houston is the only female to be inducted this year, joining the fewer than 8% of the other hall of famers who are women.

Although we celebrate Houston’s accomplishment, we take a look at five more somber covers of her Grammy-winning hit “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

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Oct 272020
 

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.

Lifehouse's No Name Face

You likely know Lifehouse–you may just not know that you do. This alt-rock band permeated pop culture in the early 2000s. For example, many of their songs feature on the hit television show about teenage Superman, Smallville; the band even plays in the show (at prom, of course). You’ve probably heard a couple of their biggest hits on the radio during this time, romantic yet angsty. But yes, early 2000s popularity means that we have a twenty-year anniversary on our hands. Lifehouse’s debut album, No Name Face, turns 20 on Halloween. (This actually is spooky to those of us who still think we are youths before we do the math.)

To celebrate this anniversary, let’s assess covers of the album’s first single, “Hanging By A Moment.” The song was blocked from the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 by a cover (Christina Aguilera, Pink, Lil’ Kim, and Mýa’s “Lady Marmalade”), but we won’t hold that against them. It still won top song of the year, and in fact is the last song to hold that title without ever reaching #1 throughout the year. So yeah, this is a historic day.

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Sep 182020
 

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 "Music"

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.
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