When artists cover Mazzy Star‘s “Fade Into You,” they often seem to lean into the quietude of the 1993 classic. All the trademarks of the original make it an easy choice—Hope Sandoval’s vocals, ethereal but self-assured; the steady tambourine; the dreampop slide guitar. It’s no surprise, then, to hear Ben Harper covering the song on solo piano, or J Mascis with stunning guitar and a Neil Young twang.
Daniel Romano’s Outfit – Sweetheart Like You (Bob Dylan cover)
This one’s for all the Dylan superfans. In 1984, Bob Dylan played three songs on Letterman with L.A. punk band The Plugz. They were gritty and garagey and raw. It boded well for his new sound. And then he never played with them again. The album he was ostensibly promoting, Infidels, was much smoother, helmed by Mark Knopfler. For those who still wonder what could have been, Daniel Romano covered the entire album as if he’d recorded it with The Plugz.
Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.
Jaime Joshi lives in South Florida amidst geckos, 24-hour Cuban coffee and soup-like humidity. She has been writing for Cover Me since 2013; of all her pieces, she is particularly proud of her pieces on Bruce Springsteen and Madonna. (She’s the one on the right.)
Valentine’s Day is a contentious holiday for many, but the Starbucks “Sweetheart 2014” compilation has made it more palpable with some fantastic covers. Sitting amongst this chocolate box of covers (which also includes morsels like Vampire Weekend covering Andrea Bocelli’s “Con Te Partiro”) is a cover of Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” done exquisitely by Ben Harper. Giving the wistful tune a simple stripped down treatment, Ben’s airy, slow vocals and piano accompaniment are perfect for Valentine’s Day lovers AND haters. Check it out below.
I’m not sure there were more great cover songs this year than any other. But there were more good ones.
What I mean by that is, the average quality of the covers we come across in the time we’ve been around has risen, rather dramatically. Whether they’re iTunes homepage singles or some guy emailing us his Bandcamp, more cover songs in 2013 avoid the old pitfalls than ever before. They don’t sound like they were recorded in a cereal box, substitute ear-bleeding volume for actual creativity, or – the worst cover sin of all – try to carbon-copying the original. With the ease of production and distribution available now, artists seemed to record covers only when they felt they had something to add, and do a halfway decent job committing those ideas to 1s and 0s.
Brooklyn’s indie rocker Frankie Rose is all over the place. As a member of indie garage rock acts Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts, and her newest band Frankie Rose and the Outs, she has been a key part of developing the indie rock scene in Brooklyn, crafting dreamy noise rock songs for the last 8 years. Following her cover of the Strokes “Soma” earlier this summer, Frankie tackles a fellow dream pop favorite, Mazzy Star‘s 1990 track “Blue Flower.”