Not only did Will Arnett somehow convince Stephen Malkmus of Pavement to take his first-ever composer job for Arnett’s new Netflix show Flaked, but he got the ’90s rock icon to cover one of the most unlikely songs we can think of: Jimmy Buffett‘s “Margaritaville” – the song than spawned a thousand restaurants. The whole thing is not out yet, but 60 seconds appears at the end of one of the episodes, and you can listen to that clip below.
1994. A brilliant year for music. In my native UK, we heard the first rumblings of Britpop with the release of Oasis’s ‘Live Forever’, ‘Parklife’ by Blur and Primal Scream’s ‘Rocks’. Stateside, Green Day released their classic ‘Dookie’, Johnny Cash had his his renaissance with his first Rick-Rubin produced album, and Outkast unleashed their debut.
1994 was 20 years ago. That may not be news to many of our readers, but there is a certain 30-something subset of you who just sprayed your screen with water in a hilarious spit-take that would not be at all out of place on the show Friends (also 20 years old this year, by the way).
When we think back to this year, we might remember 2011 as the year that the whole concept of the “cover album” became more fluid, and not always for the better. Thanks to the increased prominence of sites like Bandcamp and Soundcloud, a cover album could be conceived, recorded, and shared in the space of a weekend. This didn’t necessarily lead to better cover albums, but it certainly led to more of them. They came in all formats – digital, CD, vinyl, and even cassette-only – and from all directions – labels, blogs, and even some magazines.
Which, we like to think, makes this list that much more helpful. In a year where the biggest single-artist cover album we got came from William Shatner, it proved a particular challenge to dig through the many obscure artists and assorted tributes and extract the gems. Gems there certainly were though, be they from newcomers making an impression with their favorite songs or old-timers honoring groups that influenced them decades ago. It may have taken a bit more work to find them, but the end result is as strong a selection as we’ve seen.
Continue to page 2 to read the list…
Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
Echo & the Bunnymen formed in Liverpool in the late ‘70s. Vocalist Ian McCulloch had been in a band with Julian Cope and Pete Wylie. McCulloch recruited underrated guitarist Will Sergeant and bassist Les Pattinson; and yes, there was a drum machine involved prior to Pete de Freitas joining in 1980. Was this the “Echo” in Echo & the Bunnymen? That depends on who you ask. The band’s best quality output came over their first seven years and five albums. An output that brought critical acclaim and UK success, but little more than a cult following in the States.
Go put on “Gold Soundz.” Sunny alterna-pop at it’s finest, sonically summing up that twentysomething drunken summer spent at the moon tower. Feel the UV rays coming from the speakers. Did you ever think you’d hear a version you’d want played at your funeral?
Astrid Swan, already no stranger to the covers scene, looked to the catalog of one of the most revered bands in alternative music and put it through her Finnish-pixie prism. Hits (Pavement For Girls) is the result, as varied as it may be. The first question that comes to the male mind while letting Swan’s icily-expansive interpretations seep their way in: is this really how Pavement sounds to women?