Did I have a Bee Gees cover album from the Foo Fighters on my Summer ’21 bingo sheet? Not at all! However, maybe the recent Bee Gees fever should have foreshadowed this endeavor, from the documentary released at the end of 2020 to Barry Gibb’s album focused on reimagining Bee Gees songs in the country genre released earlier this year. Hey, we even found the Best Bee Gees covers ever last summer. When I first read the news about the impending Hail Satin album, I may or may not have busted out the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and passed along the announcement to all of my fellow Foo Fighters admirers. Then the first single from the Foo Fighters’ alter-egos, the Dee Gees, came out, “You Should Be Dancing,” and it was worthy of the hype (that “back-ety-back” part is a nice touch!).
But now that Hail Satin has been released, it raises an important question: Does the rest of Side A continue the fun-loving, genre-bending homage, or does it devolve into a gimmick?
For this July’s Record Store Day release, the Foo Fighters went disco, releasing the Hail Satin LP, consisting of Bee Gees covers and a live set of tracks from their latest studio album, Medicine at Midnight. Under the moniker of the Dee Gees, the Foos released a video for “You Should Be Dancing.” Continue reading »
Foo Fighters have taken the World of Cover Songs by storm with a pair of incendiary news announcements this month. The first (and only slightly more believable of the two) concerns a cover that premiered in the Foos’ recent return to live concerts on June 20th. Playing for a vaccinated/full-capacity/sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden, the Foo Fighters offered up a late-set debut of Radiohead’s “Creep” — featuring, in a drop-in of unrivaled proportions, Dave Chappelle on guest vocals. At best, the cover feels like live-band karaoke, albeit scaled up for The World’s Most Famous Arena. Chappelle alternates between “aw shucks” glances at the crowd, and hamming it up with sing-along choruses for the cheap seats. Any honest attempts at artistry aside, however, the pure, sloppy joy radiating from Chappelle, the Foos and the totally-psyched crowd — not to mention the FOMO radiating through my computer screen — couldn’t feel more potent.Continue reading »
There is no Queen without Freddie Mercury. On a fundamental level, we all agree that is true. But, if you want to be literal about it, there is Queen without Freddie Mercury. Thirty years after Freddie’s death, the show must go on, and so the band still exists. Adam Lambert now sings Freddie’s parts on tour, just as Paul Rodgers did before him. The Bohemian Rhapsody movie included some new vocal recordings – not by star Rami Malek, but by Canadian singer Marc Martel. And then of course there are the many singers who fronted Queen at the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, broadcast to an audience of up to one billion people. (If you haven’t watched George Michael singing “Somebody to Love” or Annie Lennox joining David Bowie for “Under Pressure,” go do that now, then come back.)
Suffice to say, millions if not billions of people have heard Queen songs sung by singers other than Freddie Mercury. But none of those we just mentioned are covers, strictly speaking, since they feature most or all of the band’s three surviving members. Bassist John Deacon has since departed – and his joining Queen fifty years ago this month, solidifying the lineup, marks the anniversary we’re pegging this post to – but guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor have kept the Queen name alive. No doubt, when touring becomes a thing again, Queen will be back on the road once again.
The forty actual covers on our list do not feature any members of Queen. As such, they’re free to roam much further afield than Adam Lambert or George Michael, turning the band’s hits and the occasional deep cut into genres from polka to punk, a cappella to acoustic instrumental. Queen dabbled in so many different genres during their time – I mean, “Bohemian Rhapsody” alone! – I think they’d appreciate how malleable their songs can be. Even when they’re not the ones performing their songs, Queen will rock you.
Black Country, New Road – Time to Pretend (MGMT cover)
If you’re expecting the “Time to Pretend” you knew and loved a decade ago, think again. UK post-punkers Black Country, New Road, one of the buzziest bands of the new year, deconstruct the song entirely. It starts pretty sane, then gradually veers off the tracks into chaos. By the end there’s a free-jazz sax solo leading a wall of noise only barely identifiable as this, or any, song.Continue reading »
Props to any musician who chooses some non-obvious tunes for their Christmas album. Even Joni Mitchell’s “River” has so often been served as the “surprise” holiday song by now that it feels pretty played out. Andrew Bird covers a few standards on his upcoming Hark! – “Oh Holy Night,” “White Christmas” (though weirdly not the hymn that gave the album its name) – but makes room for some seasonally-appropriate fare John Prine, Handsome Family, and, on the first single, John Cale.Continue reading »