… but I digress

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Cover Battle – “You’re the One That I Want” October 24, 2014


You’re the One That I Want” is the big finale in the movie Grease. The sweet, good-girl bobby soxer Sandy (Olivia Newton-John), dons tight leather clothes and teases the hell out of her hair (basically changing her whole persona) to win the heart of Danny (John Travolta), the cool bad boy of Rydell High. He’s so amazed by her transformation, and his “teenaged” (Travolta was 24 at the time) hormones, he becomes discombobulated and admits his feelings in an energetic burst of song. With a full rousing dance number, of course. It’s all in nostalgic fun, though, right? Okay, he does don a letterman’s sweater to kind of become what she wants, too. But I still think her change is way more drastic. And sexist. And yet, I sing along, believing true love triumphs. Yada yada.


This next video is what sparked me to choose this for a Cover Battle. It’s a full length form of a Chanel No. 5 commercial featuring model Gisele Bundchen. As I was listening absentmindedly, a phrase caught my attention, then I realized what the song was. The tempo fits the lush, dreamy romantic feel of the commercial, but it’s such a departure from the usual way you hear this song. The commercial, sorry – the film – was beautifully directed by Baz Luhrmann with a full-fledged storyline and real acting, by Gisele and Michiel Huisman. The song itself is sung by artist Lo-Fang.


Australian brother and sister duo Angus & Julia Stone also does this in a tempo radically different from the original. Angus plays guitar, while Julia, alone, handles the vocal. Her voice is kind of girly and a little precious. On first listen it was a little grating to my sensibility, but the more I replay it the more ingratiating it becomes. I’m coming around to liking it; it’s very sweet. And precious. But not in a bad way. The ending is very sudden and just kind of cuts off abruptly. I don’t know if that’s how they actually decided to end the recording or if it was something with the person who uploaded the video.




Cover Battle – “Best of My Love” (The Emotions) August 29, 2014


The original recording of “Best of My Love” was released by The Emotions, (If you clink the link, turn your sound down first. Trust me on this) in 1977. It’s a great example of 70’s soul music: well-crafted, great harmonies, easy to dance to. Just an all-around joy fest that typifies the era, yet never gets old.


Christina Milian performs a bit of the song in the John Travolta movie, Be Cool. It stays true to the tempo of the original, but it’s very screechy. And the performance is just a trio of pop tarts gyrating annoyingly, but I guess that was what was called for in the movie. Honestly not sure if a straight rendition on stage would be any different, since I’m not really familiar with Christina’s work and really have no interest in exploring further.


The incomparable Mary J. Blige sings a bit of the song in a fun little holiday season commercial for The Gap, featuring Josh Duhamel and Sarah Jessica Parker. There’s a dash of a funk undertone to it. It’s basically just a snippet, but I would be interested in hearing a full version if she ever releases one. It’s still celebratory but doesn’t give me as much of a ‘get down and party’ feeling as the three-part harmony of The Emotions.


I was unable to find a video anywhere for the version done by Sheena Easton, in 2001, but I did find audio on Grooveshark. You can listen to it here. The pace is sped up and “popified”. It kind of sounds like a fairly forgettable karaoke run, albeit with pretty good production values. I’m not really impressed.


Another version I couldn’t seem to track down a video for was done by Phoebe Snow. There is an audio, here, at Who Sampled. This one is funked up somewhat, like the Mary J. version above. The extra instrumentation sounds a little distracting to me though. It’s juuuust on the verge of being a “… and the kitchen sink” version. You know – let’s throw everything in there. It’s kind of busy.


The live performance clip by En Vogue is highly energetic and brings you back to the spirit of the original. Unfortunately it’s entirely too short. Would loved to have been able to find something more complete.





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