Cover Battle: “Jersey Girl” April 12, 2013
Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce!!!! Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce!!!! That’s Springsteen for those of you who don’t know. One of the most, if not the most, favored sons of New Jersey. The Garden State. Yeah – that’s right: we got gardens. Damn straight. Flowers and plants and produce and shit.
Bruce is … iconic, legen – wait for it – dary for giving multi-hour concerts. When most bands think they’re doing you a favor by sticking around for 90 minutes, Bruce has been known to play 3 or 4 hours. With a minimum of breaks. This is just one of the many reasons he is known as The Boss. So when I saw that someone had dared to cover one of his songs I was like – “Excuse you?! Blasphemy, just blasphemy I tell ya!” Even if it was one of my faves, Holly Cole.
Um, Holly’s not a rocker. She’s a smoky, smoldering, jazzy chanteuse. Plus this is a guy’s song. That can always be a little awkward and sound unnatural to the ear after listening to it done one way for, like, forever.
Well, shut my mouth but I liked it — no sorry. I love, love, freakin’ love her rendition so damn much. Oh hell, I’m just gonna say it: Holly is probably one of those artists that can do no wrong in my book.
Now, what I didn’t know was that this is not actually Bruce’s song. It was written by Tom Waits. So, um … oops, I stand sheepishly corrected on the whole righteous indignation thing. Like they say “everything old is new again”. But the first version I hear of something is generally always going to be the touchstone by which I judge another version. Even if my touchstone is, itself, a cover. And in most cases, I probably won’t even pay much attention to the actual original when the “original” (at least in my memory) is what I know and love. Is that fair? Maybe not, but that’s usually what happens. And if I do decide to seek out the original it’ll probably come up lacking, to me, in comparison to my familiar version.
I’ve included a Tom Waits version as well as one I found by Pearl Jam. Hmmm. I’ll tend to be more receptive to an alternate rendition if it’s done by somebody I like. Pearl Jam – I definitely like some of their songs. Tom Waits … I guess I just haven’t acquired that particular taste as of yet.