“Porcelina of the Vast Oceans” is the most ambitious track from the Smashing Pumpkins‘ most ambitious album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. It was recorded in different pieces and assembled in the studio, which helps explain the stark contrasts between the different sections of the song. It’s one of those songs where the Pumpkins kind of turned into a prog rock band.
“The Trooper” is one of Iron Maiden‘s most iconic songs; in America, it was one of only three Top 40 singles in the band’s history. The song pairs the classic Maiden gallop with one of the band’s most memorable riffs and vivid lyrics about The Charge of the Light Brigade.
Alter Bridge lead singer Myles Kennedy grew up listening to Maiden and covered “The Trooper” for SiriusXM. In the discussion before his performance, he says he’s going for a “Johnny Cash” vibe. Not sure how Johnny Cash would handle a Bruce Dickinson vocal, but Kennedy acquits himself impressively.
The song is stripped of everything save Kennedy’s commanding voice and his acoustic rhythm guitar playing. There’s no twin lead guitars and there’s no trademark galloping bass – just Kennedy. It’s a compelling performance showing off not just Kennedy’s voice but his ability to capture the song’s rhythm with just an acoustic guitar.
“Covering the Hits” looks at covers of a randomly-selected #1 hit from the past sixty-odd years.
The three most prominent “Mo Money Mo Problems” covers aren’t really covers at all. But they’re at least cover-adjacent, so we’ll start there.
“Lovesong” is The Cure’s biggest American hit and, as a result, so it’s possibly their most iconic song to casual fans. (It was a comparably minor hit in The Cure’s home country, so Brits might be a little surprised to hear this.) The song is typical Cure: an iconic bassline but otherwise pretty minimal accompaniment in the verses with a lush orchestral sound in the verses. It’s one of Robert Smith’s most emotionally direct and upbeat songs, which likely goes a ways to explaining its popularity.
A.A. Williams is a trained pianist and cellist who was off to a promising start to her professional career, with a buzzed-about EP in 2019, before the pandemic derailed everything. She’s still been able to release her debut album this year, and has been spending her pandemic time recording covers, like many musicians. We covered her “Songs in Isolation” series back in April.
In Williams’ hands, “Lovesong” is transformed into a mournful, longing plaint. Williams has slowed the song to a crawl and has replaced The Cure’s elaborate instrumentation with her solitary piano (removing many of the hooks as a result). Whereas Smith is singing a pledge to his soon-to-be wife for their wedding, Williams’ version of the lyrics is for all of us who have been separated from a loved one due to this terrible pandemic.
“Fly Away”, the fourth single from Lenny Kravitz‘s fifth album, was one of his biggest hits, and the biggest since “Are You Gonna Go My Way”. Arguably the two most iconic parts of the song are the song’s simple riff and what sounds like a slap bass. But both of these are completely absent in the new semi- acoustic cover by roots outfit Larkin Poe.
First Aid Kit has made their fair share of appearances on Cover Me over the years. This time their beautiful cascading voices cover Ted Gärdestad’s “Come Give Me Love.” The band’s signature is bright 70s folk sounds, and “Come Give Me Love” is right up their alley. They covered the song in the original Swedish and English with their own version of the translated lyrics.