… but I digress

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Cover Battle – “Seven Nation Army” July 18, 2014


Both the video and the insistent pounding rhythm for “Seven Nation Army“, by The White Stripes, are striking, hypnotic and kind of trippy. It’s one of those songs that makes you want to discover all the nuances. and track down the meaning behind the lyrics, and the story behind the metaphors. The video is almost messianic and the song itself is anthemic. But beyond that, it’s just a fabulous rock song. I found myself hitting repeat many times.


On my first listen I didn’t feel that lead singer Jack White was that great of a vocalist. I thought it would get in the way of me really getting into the song, but after several replays the roughness fits for me. I’ve actually heard a couple of things he’s done with other artists, and I’ve been impressed and intrigued by him. In the documentary “It Might Get Loud” we can see Jack jamming on the song with legends Jimmy Page and The Edge, and it’s a thrilling goose-bump moment.


The first time I actually heard this song was from a live performance, in Montrieux, by Living Colour. They are most definitely at the top of my list of phenomenal musical acts. They’ve been in the game for years, and they’re still going stronger than ever. The guitar work and drumming on this is so fierce. They put their own spin on it by taking a great song and making it even more badass than the original. I’m so used to hearing the band with Corey Glover doing lead, but I like the gruff rawness of Vernon Reid.


New artist Zella Day does this in a totally different way than anyone else. Her version is backed with a simple guitar and sounds much sweeter than the two covers noted above. Even though hers is less throbby and percussive it still stays with you. It’s not unsettling; it’s just haunting and a plays to a mystery within the song. So far we have 3 renditions I wouldn’t mind listening to multiple times.


I have another live performance for you, this time from Argentina. It’s done by the group The Pretty Reckless, fronted by actress Taylor Momsen. She played Cindy Lou Who in the Jim Carrey Grinch movie. (Yeah, that makes me feel old, too). Their version brings it back to the hard rocking, and wailing guitar feel. This one, I think, is even more punk-like. (If I know anything about punk. Which I probably really don’t, but whatever). However, I don’t find that they keep the mystery of the song, and with this version I wouldn’t really be compelled to explore the meaning behind it. It’s done really, really well, though, and I wouldn’t mind hearing it again if I want a real head banging, hard driving good time.



A remix was done, by The Glitch Mob, for the movie G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation. I’m not really a fan of remixes in general because they tend to draw you in with a familiar rhythm and then just beat it into your ears with an aural crowbar until you actually get sick of hearing the original song that drew you in, in the first place. I don’t know the technical term but whatever is on top of the vocals – (reverb, distortion, techno, whatever) is annoying and grating. It’s over powering. It might be great for the G.I. Joe movie or a tie-in video game, but goodness I couldn’t wait for this to be done.


A favorite of singer Kelly Clarkson, the song pops up in her live shows quite often. She rocks out to this very well. The specialness is in the song itself, but she doesn’t really add anything. Other than a good live performance.


I don’t really think Audioslave adds anything more to this either. The audience seems to enjoy it, but it didn’t do it for me. Just a lot of atonal screaming.


X-Factor contestant Marcus Collins released this as his first single, and I’m just like … NO! The video is just horrible and he turns the song into some light fluffy joke devoid of anything worthy of being listened to. It’s ridiculous. He should have just stayed in his lane. Or better yet, just stayed home and not even attempted it. Bad Marcus. Bad, bad Marcus. Now go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve. And keep your mouth closed.


I’m not really sure how I feel about what The Oak Ridge Boys did with this. As part of an interview for Sirius XM radio they did this in studio, vocally recreating the familiar guitar riff during the song’s intro, as well as in other spots. It’s dramatic and well-harmonized, but … maybe a little melodramatic with a dash of kitsch? It’s … odd.




Cover Battle Addendum July 11, 2014

Filed under: cover battles,Found Objects,Music — jerzygirl45 @ 7:51 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,



… and speaking of Bob Dylan songs, I even have this little addendum video.





Cover Battle – “Positively 4th Street”


See what I do for you guys? What I’m willing to subject my ears to?
Dylan – Bob Dylan!!


I’ve never really been able to get past the vocals to actually listen intently to a Bob Dylan song, but I have to say I surprised myself by really getting into his song “Positively 4th Street“. The song’s about being betrayed and, as one commenter put it on YouTube, it’s ‘a classy and poetic Fuck You’ song. And they’re right – the lyrics are just perfect and biting, yet the melody of the song easily grabs you, and belies the harshness of the song’s true intent.


Now here’s the kicker – the version I really got into wasn’t actually Dylan! In searching YouTube people can title the vids however they want. I found one, clicked on it and listened. It sounded like Dylan to me, only slightly more understandable. It was only after playing it that I read the description. It was actually a version from a Post Productions tribute album that I got into. Apparently it’s really hard to track down a (good?) Dylan version. I found the one above and I was like “Yeah, okay, there’s the voice; that’s why I don’t listen to Dylan”


The first time I heard any of the song was a bit of it done by Katey Sagal on “Mary“. Those lyrics always stayed with me. Periodically I would think about but never look for it. Finally I googled that little snippet and found out what the song was. I really wish I could find a video or even just an audio clip of her doing the entire song. But, for now, this will have to do. She sounds beautiful.


The cover that Dylan, himself, touts as his favorite was done by Johnny Rivers. I’m a fan of Rivers’ work. It has that Johnny Rivers sound yet it also sounds very folky, and even more melodic and matter of fact than my favorite version from Post Production. Not sure if I’m totally on board for this one, sad to say.


The Byrds do it slightly more up-tempo, yet they sound very Dylanesque. But not so Dylanesque that it makes my ears bleed. This also seems to be the shortest version of the song that I’ve found. They do it live and although not done angrily, somehow, I can hear the bitterness more clearly in this than in any other one that I’ve found. Or maybe that’s just a product of listening to so many versions in a short span of time.


You can hear The Beatles doing some of the song during a video of their “Let It Be” Sessions (at the 0:50 mark). An official version was never released though. This is another one I would have loved to hear a full recording of.


Jerry Garcia, lead singer of The Grateful Dead, and creator of The Jerry Garcia Band, is another example of a musical legend that I’m just not into. His rendition with Merl Saunders grabs me from the first note. It sounds bluesy and the guitar is so masterful. Jerry’s vocal is a bit wistful and just slightly sad. I really enjoyed this one a lot.


Lucinda Williams opens this with more of a country-sounding vibe. It’s not twangy, thank goodness. Though I’m not a fan of her voice, I do like the way it serves to bring out and illustrate the hurt feelings behind the song.


The punk group X sounds a bit taunting in their performance of the tune and they take it back to that “Fuck You” place with their hard guitars and shouty … not so melodic vocals. They don’t seem to have any regard for a harmonious, engaging way, and they succeed on that point. But you still want to listen.


Bryan Ferry keeps it very straightforward and heartfelt. The piano is a nice departure from the omnipresent guitar-focused versions out there. It gives it more of a simple, plainspoken honesty.


English group Simply Red brings in more orchestration on this classic. The lead singer Mick Hucknall kind of sounds like Dylan, a bit, here. Just not as eardrum-destroying.


Unfortunately, for this next cover, I was only able to find a Grooveshark audio clip. But it’s really good. Violent Femmes brings the rock and the punk and the rockabilly excitement to this song and turn it into, as they say, “a catchy little ditty”. It’s a bit raucous but fun and cool. It’s also so danceable that you might not even pay attention to the lyrics on the first few listens. I do like it very much, though.






Cover Battle – “Addicted to Love” July 4, 2014


I think the original recording of “Addicted to Love” is just as fantastic today as it was when it first came out. Performed by Brit Robert Palmer, it has a hard driving beat that’s infectious and hypnotic. The video was especially striking – the gentlemanly dashing, cool and suited Mr. Palmer with his vacant-eyed, zombie model back-up band. Endlessly listenable.


I know Florence + The Machine are really popular, but I’m not at all familiar with their work. I think I saw them once on Saturday Night Live and they just didn’t really do anything for me. Their take on the song is totally different from Palmer’s. I actually like the cool acapella way the recording opens. It has a slight ethereal, otherworldly sound to it. Once the music comes in, and the song goes on I’m less enamored of it. By the end, I’m like “Yeah, whatever”.


When the Skyler Grey version starts off, it reminds me a lot of Florence + The Machine. Even though this opening doesn’t grab me quite as much as Flo and the boys, Skyler maintains that ghostly, wispy-voiced sound most of the way through, which I appreciate.


74 year old Tina Turner is, without a doubt, a musical legend. (Is legend even good enough to describe the talent, strength and endurance of this woman? And those legs?! Good lord!) She sounds fantastic. She’s always had a unique sounding voice that cannot be duplicated. This video of her live show illustrates that she has not lost a step. Just an incredible performance and totally exhilarating to watch.


Warning: This next cover is a steaming pile of crap. But let me tell you how I really feel. By glancing at their wiki page, it seems like Eagles of Death Metal may have been going for something slightly… humorous??? In my estimation they missed the mark. By several solar systems and galaxies.


Remember what I just said about steaming pile of crap? I was wrong. The Eagles of Death Metal version is just crap. This one by Ciccone Youth is the real steaming pile. It features Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth, another group I don’t listen to, so maybe this is a good sound, for them, actually. I don’t know. But it’s not good for me. At all.




Cover Battle – “How Will I Know” June 27, 2014


How Will I Know” was Whitney Houston’s 3rd chart-topping single. The song is full of the excitement and wonder you feel when you like someone and it’s new and fresh and bubbly. Her amazing vocals, beauty, spark and charm were on full display in the song’s official music video. Whitney would continue to set the world on fire until her tragic death in 2012.


Pentatonix does a wonderful acapella version as a tribute to Whitney. They keep the same upbeat, joyous tempo and it keeps you in such a happy mood, that I can’t help but bop around dancing in my chair.


The song was covered by Kids Incorporated (????) as part of their 1980′s Disney Channel tv show. It’s … not for me. Very kiddie (duh!) and, I suppose, it’s cute. But – just not my thing. It’s annoying, to me. I mean, they’re not out of tune or overly screechy, but they’re not a group I would ever be interested in listening to again. But, then again, I wasn’t their target audience. Probably not even at that age. Frankly, I think it’s lame and a little bit dreadful.


The pop punk group Hit the Lights recorded this for their album Skip School Start Fights. While I’m not a music expert, this does not sound very punk at all. It is pop, though. (Maybe, elevator pop?) Frankly the band does not impress me at all, either. Kind of brings me back to lame and dreadful.


The cover by Sam Smith will break your heart. The arrangement is sparse and straightforward. The tempo is much much slower, and Sam has a high falsetto that is stunning and glorious.




Cover Battle – “I’m Too Sexy” June 13, 2014


I’m Too Sexy” is a song by Right Said Fred – British brothers Fred and Richard Fairbrass. Two buff bald dudes flexing and gyrating to a crazily catchy beat and hilariously self-involved lyrics parodying the whole “fabulous dahling, make love to the camera, etc” world of modeling and fashion. You gotta love it.


It sounds like the Saint Etienne version is “sampling” the original and then having the boys rework the lyrics in some parts. It’s got an electronic dance club vibe with the synthesizers and all the overproduced throbbiness.


Saint Etienne’s vocals are more airy and lightweight than the Fairbrass boys, which makes the song seem even more disposable. Except – it’s survived all this time, so how disposable is it, really?


Um … this next one, by Alvin and The Chipmunks is not cute. It’s taking childhood into a very odd and disturbing place. I think I need a hug now …


Blogger Perez Hilton. Ugh. Moving on.


Now William Shatner does it as only Shatner can. Actually he was doing it in character on the short-lived $#*! My Dad Says. I think if he was being, well, full-on … Shatner it would have been much more awesome.


I think it’s pretty cool that the boys reworked the song as “I’m Too Smurfy” for the Smurfs 2 movie. They’re older now, still bald and buff, but this time they’re fully clothed in the video – no mesh, no shirtless. It’s cute.


They also performed it live on Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. The song was reworked by the show’s writers as a political statement against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.






Cover Battle – “For What It’s Worth” May 16, 2014


The song For “What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield is a perfect statement of what was going on at the time of its composition. It was written and released during the turbulence of the mid 1960′s: there’s war, protest, social upheaval, civil rights, people questioning the decisions and lifestyles of the generations that came before. It must have been an amazing, wonderful, scary time to be alive. (Okay – I was alive back then, but I was only a wee little baybeh – I didn’t know from social protest. All I cared about was food and naptime. Hmm, some things never change)


Cher unexpectedly covered the song in 1969. The arrangement has a groovy, hippie vibe to it, with a twangy sort of guitar thing happening that I think, maybe, detracts a bit from the seriousness of the song. Her voice is as strong as it ever was, though, and she acquaints herself well.


Billy Idol covers the song in a live performance for The Bridge School Benefit. He does a really great job on this, showing passion and his trademark punk swagger and grit in his singing as well as his (or his backing band’s?) guitar playing.


The group Led Zeppelin also covers this live with a free styling intro before going into the Robert Plant vocals. Since it’s Zeppelin, there’s lots of screaming guitar mastery on display. It has an improvisational, jam session quality to it, which often creates magic. I like Zeppelin but this is not my favorite.


I have never, ever been into the band Rush. The few things I’ve heard (before quickly changing the station) have just been noisy and ear-splittingly screechy and not my taste. But I am genuinely surprised how much I like and appreciate their version. It retains the spirit of the original in, what I take, is the Rush-style. I would not mind listening to this at all. Well done, eh. (They’re Canadian, donchaknow).


Now here comes a real unexpected turn. This song was covered by The Muppets. Yes, they’re not just for kids. The lyrics were changed to address environmental devastations. The video has forest creatures singing for an end to the destruction of their home between scenes of armed Muppets blithely popping off rifles and discussing all the tools they enjoy using to encroach their way through nature. It’s an outstanding way to address an issue that’s still crucial to this day. It’s still a protest, just of a different sort.


I also like the way Kid Rock does this. It sounds really fresh and modern, and still kick ass. He may have his detractors, but the man’s got chops. I’m not mad at this.


The Lone Bellow give a sparse, acoustic turn. It’s stripped down – in tone, in setting, in attitude – everything. There’s a subtly to it that’s really quite beautiful. I enjoy the harmonies as well.


The opening of the Candy Skins version sounds like a combination of the opening intro of “Sympathy for the Devil” mixed with “Inner City Blues (Make You Wanna Holler)“. It’s got kind of a slacker vibe, and parts of the video seem like they could have been lifted from “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana while other parts look they could have come from someone’s retro hippie costume party. It’s kind of cool, though.


The Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 version is exceedingly cool. With its jazz and samba infused flavor the song sounds so funky and smooth. I love Lani Hall’s strong, slinky singing style.


The Staple Singers rendition starts off with jangly guitars, then goes right into the soul-tinged vocals. It’s done with all four voices straight through, with a church clap accompaniment. This feels like a call to action to the entire community to wake up and see what’s happening in the world and letting you feel like there’s something you can do to make it change. Having said that I also think the music could have been taken down a bit, because it feels like it’s within a notch or two of overtaking the singing. I don’t know – that’s just the impression I get, for some reason.






Cover Battle – “Kiss” May 9, 2014


It seems that quite a few people have done covers of “Kiss” but they’re really really hard to find posted online. A lot of artists have their stuff all over YouTube, but apparently Prince is having none of it. So, all I can do is give you the few that I found and include a list of other ones I wanted to include but couldn’t because I’m not buying an album from everybody who’s ever covered this song, then uploading it. Just be warned: whatever’s in this battle may be taken down from YouTube at any moment.


I could only find one YouTube vid with the original recording, but the audio is muted. It’s a copyright thing, so you can enjoy the silence or check out the official video that I managed to find on slack-time, but couldn’t embed in WordPress.


So, Maroon 5. What. The. Freakin’. Hell?!? They took the song in a completely different direction. It’s like a honky tonk, roadhouse version. It’s jarring and off putting. Then when they slow it down (around 2:21) it’s like some bizarre, drunken karaoke bullshit. And the actual singing part only takes up about 4 minutes of the recording. The rest is just big long grandstanding showy flourishes that make you forget what song you started off listening to. Adam, Adam – how could you? Maybe if the flourish was at the tail end of something else I would be okay with it, but after the way they butchered the beginning, I don’t feel the need to give them credit for anything.


Now we have Mr. Sexy Sexy – Tom Jones. Live. This cover is masterfully good. It fits with Tom’s sexy soul swing (and the swing in those hips! Yes, I know the video is almost 25 years old. And I don’t care.) Lively and energetic, I would definitely put this on a par with the original. I’ve also thrown in the official video from the studio version, done with The Art of Noise.


And now we’re back to What. The. Freakin’. Hell?!? From Glee, we have Matthew Morrison and Gwyneth Paltrow. Ugh. It’s so high-pitched I’m surprised there wasn’t a line of dogs outside my window after playing this. It’s just all-around bad. And crappy. And annoying.


I was able to get a video from Senior Coconut and his Orchestra. It’s kind of sexy, in its own way. It’s interesting and flirty, which is what it’s supposed to be. I’m cool with this.


There were three other versions I was interested in listing but failed to find: one from Richard Thompson, who has a great knack for taking a song and digging beneath the top layer, to the artistry at the heart of it; one by Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, from the soundtrack of the movie Happy Feet; and one from an Australian comedy group called Scared Weird Little Guys. I kid you not. There are some others listed here.




Two Things I’ve just realized: May 4, 2014

Filed under: Found Objects,Music,RIP,tribute,Videos — jerzygirl45 @ 2:37 pm
Tags: , , , , ,






  1. Luther Vandross is the perfect music for Sunday listening


  1. Listening to Luther is like being in love




Cover Battle – “Harvest Moon” May 2, 2014


Once again we have a song that I first became aware of through Cassandra Wilson: “Harvest Moon“. I like it (but you probably already knew that). Hers is nothing like the original or any of the others I’ve heard subsequently. Cassandra’s is, of course, lush and atmospheric and sets up a deep, passionate mood. It’s elegant and sophisticated. The others have more of a fun, playful tone to them.


The Neil Young original recording is happy and upbeat, and you can hear the country in it. It’s got a very average Joe, juke boxy way to it. It’s not a version I’d go back to, but it’s still a very sweet, and heartfelt song.


The one I found from Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie sounds a lot like Neil’s original, especially in the high-pitch earnestness of his vocals. For some reason this feels more accessible to me, and I don’t know why, but I could see myself actually going back for another listen.


You can hear the country roots in the song when done by Pearl Jam. I enjoyed the short harmonica solo from Eddie Vedder. The guitar on this is not quite as dancy or overtly perky as Ben or Neil and I think that’s a good thing.


The live collaboration between St. Vincent and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver starts off with Annie Clark, who sounds lovely here. The music has a great groove and I love the prominence of the drum. Then Justin comes in. His voice, while reminiscent of Neil and Ben and even Eddie, messes the whole thing up for me. If Annie had done it solo I would have liked this a lot more.





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