Sep 112020
Kenton Chen

Even all these years later, “Like a Virgin” remains one of Madonna’s most iconic songs. The lead-off single from the album of the same name, her second, it was her biggest hit to date and sold more copies than any of her songs until “Like a Prayer.” Everyone is familiar with the instantly recognizable synthesized bass line and the chorus that producer Nile Rodgers didn’t think was catchy enough.

Scary Pockets are a funk band who perform covers on YouTube with guest vocalists. For this version they enlisted Kenton Chen, of the a cappella TV competition The Sing Off and Postmodern Jukebox fame.

The band dispenses entirely with the famous bassline, replacing it with a funky bassline that skips a beat. Chen mostly sticks to the original melody in the verses. But the chorus is even less conventional, with both the band and Chen deviating from the original song.

About two minutes in there’s a breakdown and the song turns into an extended funk jam, with the van vamping on the groove and Chen improvising through the song’s famous hook as the song slowly fades out.

This version of “Virgin” is remarkably different. It may take a bit to get into, because of how distinct it is, but the song shortly reveals itself as a pretty great cover.

Dec 172010

The back end of December’s usually a pretty quiet time for television, unless you enjoy reruns and holiday specials. But for the second year in a row, NBC’s snuck a three-week competition-style reality show into its lineup at precisely this time of year with little fanfare. It’s the peacock network’s answer to Fox’s American Idol and Glee, and it’s called The Sing-Off.

The Sing-Off features ten of America’s best vocal groups vying for dual grand prizes: $100,000 and a Sony recording contract. No instruments come into play here, just lots and lots of voices performing songs we all know and – sometimes – love. To sweeten the pot for music fans, the groups are judged by industry royalty: Ben Folds, Nicole Scherzinger of Pussycat Dolls and Shawn Stockman of Boys II Men. Oh, and Nick Lachey hosts, if that’s your bag. Continue reading »