… but I digress

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Cover Battle – “Drunk in Love” September 26, 2014

 

Drunk in Love” is a stupid ass song.

 

There I said it. It is. The first time I heard it, well … sort of heard bits of it, I was like “What is this? This is the song everyone’s so crazy about? Really? No wonder I don’t listen to current music. Okay, Beyonce, we get it – you luuuuv your husband, Jay-Z; you have great sex; you do it in the tub; you get on top and ride him “like a surfboardt“. I mean, it does sounds drunk and horny with all the random rambling repetitiveness, so I guess it’s … effective? Whatever. Ugh. Enough already.

 

Postmodern Jukebox does a vintage swing-band type version. They make it sound cool and jazzy. They definitely elevate it to something noteworthy. It’s sexy yet classy, not trashy. And thank god – no rap segment!

 

British artist Ed Sheeran does this live on a radio morning show. I really like this. It’s more melodic and sounds a lot less random than the original. It almost sounds romantic. Plus, as the dj Elvis Duran mentions, you can actually make out the lyrics.

 

There’s a live Coachella appearance by Grouplove that brings the song back to its loopy random inebriated beginnings. It’s kinda screechy and out of tune to me, but they still give it their all.

 

Brit singer Lily Allen doesn’t do a cover in her appearance at the G.A.Y. Heaven nightclub in London. What she does is a full-out Beyonce shtick – in blond wig, black bikini/sheer cover-up, grinding gyrations, and lip-syncing to Beyonce’s recording. Don’t quite get the point of it all. Is it an homage or an outrageous mockery?

 

The group MiC LOWRY does a lovely, soulful cover of the song mashed up with the Bruno Mars song “Locked Out of Heaven“. These guys have some beautiful voices.


 

   

   

 

Cover Battle – “In My Life” – Pt 1 April 4, 2014

 

I found a bunch of covers for this song, so I’m breaking this into two separate posts. Feel free to peruse them at your leisure.

 


 

 

The song “In My Life“, mostly written by John Lennon (but attributed to Lennon-McCartney) and originally performed by The Beatles is one of their classic, well-loved songs. It’s a simple song with so much feeling to it, that really showcases the wonderful craftsmanship and talent of the writer(s) and performers. It’s wistful, nostalgic, a little peppy, and infinitely singable all at the same time. It’s also been covered by quite a few artists.

 

In a live concert Dave Matthews does the song as a beautiful, heartfelt and loving, reverential tribute to John Lennon. He really connects with the audience and the spirit of the song. His performance may be one of the best covers out there.

 

Ed Sheeran did his version on a televised special celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles’ first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. I think he does a really great job.

 

Bette Midler did the song on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Towards the end you can see her so overcome with emotion that her voice breaks. I had originally thought this was from Carson’s last show as host in May of 1992, but if was actually from her November 1991 appearance. Six months later, she, along with comedian Robin Williams, would be one of the last guests on Johnny’s show.

 

As befitting the self-described Prince of Darkness, the cover by Ozzy Osbourne is appropriately creepy sounding. Yet it’s not so creepy that it’s off-putting. It just sounds a bit metal; like Ozzy.

 

The 60’s group The Seekers give us their take. It’s okay; not something I’d “seek out” again. (Ha-ha – see what I did there?). It just makes the song sound really generic and forgettable, like something placid you’d hear at the dentist’s office to keep you calm while the Novocain takes its hold. Very blah.

   

   

 

Cover Battle: “Feeling Good” April 19, 2013

 

As I come up with more and more songs, these cover battle intros (and video examples) are getting longer. May have to start editing myself again. Eventually. But anyway –

 

What can I say about this song. It’s awesome. I’m not even sure anyone can go wrong with this song. I mean, those horns? Come on! It’s big and brassy and showy and dramatic. I think you can tell I kinda like it. I heard the first one years ago during my Buble infatuation.* I knew I had heard the song before but I don’t remember when or where or by who (whom?) or in what context. Michael’s version is super slick and sexy and checking out the video you can easily see this used in a Bond flick.

 

The Muse version, I think, is the best one. It’s hard and passionate and bold and, in plain English (see what I did there? ‘cuz, like, they’re British?) totally kicks ass. Adam Lambert’s is modern and uses his sweet screeching (in a good way) falsetto and vocal gymnastics to good effect. It’s just over the top and it suits him.

 

Nina Simone. Deep voiced and throaty , nothing outrageous, just straight forward singing; a little old school scatting. Cool. Crazy cool.

 

I just heard Jennifer Hudson’s version for the first time today, and after only a few seconds in I got chills. The power of her voice is amazing. I do feel some of the smolder is lost in the slightly faster tempo of this arrangement. But still, it’s a great breakdown of a powerful piece of music.

 

I think the Rebecca Ferguson performance is a little less successful, for me. While she does seem to bring a new take the song (and her look is flawless) I can sense a little hint of timidity and uncertainty in her performance. I think if she just owned it a bit more that would go a long way in selling it to the audience.

 

Now Ed Sheeran. Wow. Totally unexpected. With no horns or big orchestral instrumentation, on a live radio station mike (mic?) with only his guitar as accompaniment .

 

I’ve also included a recording done by the composer, English actor and singer Anthony Newley. It’s heavy on piano and strings, and doesn’t really hint at the potential power of future incarnations, but I don’t think composer showcase versions ever really do.

 

Shoot – Just found a Bobby Darin one, too. And in my book if there’s a Bobby Darin version, it is not to be ignored. Evah. Bobby can do no wrong. This is called taking a song and making it your own. Same song as everyone else but it’s all Bobby.

 

And of course I just found two more. That’s it, guys, I swear. Really.

 

So we have George Michael. It’s good, but I don’t know if I’d keep coming back to it. I’ll have to listen to it a few more times. And then we have the lovely John Barrowman aka Doctor Who/Torchwood’s Captain Jack Harkness (excuse me, while I go all gushy). Where’s my fainting couch so I can give a proper swoon. That laugh he gives at the end? Unf.

 

Okay, now that’s it. I really mean it this time. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to bed now to dream of Captain Jack.

 

 

   

   

 

*It’s over, he’s married now and we’ve both moved on. (Buble: call me!)

 

 
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