Feb 212024

Nouvelle Vague is back with a new collection titled Should I Stay or Should I Go? I’m going to hesitate in answering that question, as there is the one more demanding, about how this lot are still going. No offense intended, mind; back in the day, Nouvelle Vague’s bossa nova revisiting of punk and new wave songs was really something to behold, with both the novelty and the application well worthy of praise and merit. But now? I know a version has been touring, but I hadn’t appreciated they were still marketing something new, or, more to the point, new to them. So, is this a soft sophisticated samba swirl through the song cycles of Eilish and Swift, Sheeran and whoever else the young people adore? Ummmm, nope. This is a further trawl through the hallowed dusty halls of the last century. Or, more to the point, hoping the audiences who loved them near two decades ago will still love them now, and are still listening to their tired old record collections.

I needed to check out the rationale, hastening to the requisite website. The fact that one of the originators, Olivier Libaux, is now the late Olivier Libaux should be enough confirm him spinning gently, counterclockwise, in his grave. I am presuming his then co-conspirator Marc Collin is still at the helm, as the agenda is seemingly unchanged, setting up a set of chanteuses unfamiliar with the originals, ironically perhaps all the more available as time flits by. So why does it seem now to, largely, pall, where it once delighted? Follow me…..
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Jan 312024
best cover songs january
BABii — Lovefool (The Cardigans cover)

Brent Amaker And The Rodeo – Gut Feeling (Devo cover)

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Nov 142023

Cover Genres takes a look at cover songs in a very specific musical style.

We begin with a bow to Seuras Og and his genre-expansive post earlier this year about banjo covers. We can’t leave the banjo hanging–or getting the last word, either. So: Let us now praise the mandolin.
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Jun 092023
Ray Noir

Ray Noir is a London-based alt/goth musician who mashes the genres of metal, electronic, and pop into a sonic stew. Noir stated that his latest release, a cover of Tears for Fears’ classic “Shout,” was inspired by the injustice in the world, particularly referring to racism and the Trans+ movement. This cover is fueled by his anger, and desire for justice. 

When you listen to Ray Noir version’s, and then go back to Tears for Fears’, the seeds of industrial-ness of the original version become strikingly apparent. The original has a heavy synth sound, full of ratchety percussion. In Noir’s iteration of the 1985 hit, the persistent synth stabs and electronic boom-chick percussion combined with the growly vocal distortion are gritty and satisfying. The tribulating, wavering layers of sounds in the bass range add a sense of unease and angst. As the musician’s bodies dance and move under the smoke and green lights in the music video, we get the sense that someone is, indeed, about to start a revolution. And the final words, “come on,” are purely haunting. 

Check out many more Tears for Fears covers here.

May 312023
best cover songs may 2023
Beck – Hands on the Wheel (Willie Nelson cover)

Willie Nelson’s giant 90th birthday concert in Los Angeles featured a whole host of covers. Some of them featured the man himself. Admittedly, that makes those not really covers, so we’ll feature a couple Willie-less Willie tunes. First up, Beck tackles Willie’s Red Headed Stranger classic “Hands on the Wheel.” (Find another cover of this song in the Best of the Rest list.) Continue reading »