Saturday, December 1, 2007

All I Have To Do Is Dream...

So I know that I said that I was going to blog about the newest soundtrack that I downloaded, but I have changed my mind. See...the movie won't be out for a few more weeks and I don't want to kill the buzz before it really starts. Thinking about that is what inspired this blog....so enjoy.

Covers...they can be dangerous for a band. One must exercise great judgement when covering a song...or end up like Puff Daddy when he covered Sting's Every Breath You Take...a total loser in the game of music. (I know he is still around but you cannot deny that he lost most of creditability.) I am often skeptical of bands that do a lot of covers such as Poison and UB40...because it is one thing to pay tribute to another musical legend...it is another thing entirely to rip off tunes from other bands once an album. So here is my list of cover songs that make the cut and are actually worth downloading.
Death Cab for Cutie's cover of Earth Angel: Originally done by The Penguins ages ago, it was a sweet love song from the soda shop days (or so I am told). I feel in love with the song when I heard it played at The Enchantment Under the Sea Dance in Back to the Future PT1...which is also when my decade long crush of Michael J Fox started. Anyway...so it is what I would classify as a classic. So I was very skeptical when I saw that DCFC had recorded a version for the Stubbs the Zombie soundtrack. I love DCFC so I listened to the 30 second sample on iTunes and much to my surprise...they did the song justice. They didn't reinvent the song though it does have a slight hint of alternative edge to it. It still manages to be a sweet love song while newly refreshed so I decided to buy it. Much to my dismay...I couldn't buy the track...I had to buy the album. Which is how I found the next song on my list...

Rogue Wave's cover of Everyday: This song was also done ages ago... by Buddy Holly. The Buddy Holly version is pretty forgettable, which is why I wasn't expecting much from this version. How can you take a mediocre song and make it great? Well this song is not great...but it is pretty damn good so it makes the list. It is a little more whimsical than the original version which is actually a good thing. It is the perfect soundtrack song...even for something called Stubbs the Zombie.

The Wallflowers cover of Heroes: Covering this song was one hell of risk for The Wallflowers, one that I am not sure paid off for them. I mean...where are they now? Probably playing the casinos but whatever. One risks much when tackling a well liked song by a legend like David Bowie. It was NOT a bad cover....but it had too high of standards to live up to. The song brings back fond memories for me which is part of the reason that I overlook the fact that it simply shouldn't be. Oh well.

Bowling for Soup's cover of Summer of 69: This one almost didn't make the list because BFS tends to do a lot of covers...which typically pisses me off. I overlook this in their case because their covers are always well-done and funny as hell.

Save Ferris' cover of Come on Eileen: Unless you are reformed punk junkie...you probably are not even sure who Save Ferris is or that they covered this song. It was a risky move for a band trying to break into main stream because EVERYONE knows the original. There is no way that anyone could help but compare the two versions. It is pretty well done...not iconic like the Dexy's Midnight Runner's version of it, but it is pretty good. This brings us to another challenger of iconic song...

Billy Idol's version of Don't You Forget About Me: It seems that at least once in everyone's life they make a choice that is absolutely wrong and end up kicking themselves everyday for making that choice. I imagine that this is how Billy Idol felt for the 16 years that he waited to record that track that was originally offered to him. He did it justice...but I think that Simple Minds owns the tune and always will....even though once again...where are they now? Nevertheless...I give Billy serious props for covering the song in spite of its' bitter history for him...he really is a badass.

Everclear's cover of Brown-Eyed Girl: I realize that it might not be entirely fair to have this song on this list...because it is not a true cover. It is more of a band borrowing most of the song and changing it in a few places. As a brown-eyed girl...I have always and will always love Van Morrison's version. The reason that Everclear's version makes the cut is because not only is it a tribute to the song and its history...but Art Alexakis makes it real by singing about the song's effect on his love life. Well done Art.

DISCLAIMER: Before anyone blasts me for the next three songs that I am going to discuss, please consider that I am NOT saying that they are better than the original. That being said...blast away.
Jim Sturgess version of All My Loving: As far as Beatles' covers go, this version is one of the best that I have heard so far. Jim sings the song with a sexy British accent and stills keeps some of the songs original charm. It is worth having on the iPod. In fact.. you might have to settle for it because The Beatles still are not available on the iTunes anyway. I know that there are a lot of people who think that it is sin to cover anything ever performed by The Beatles. Let me say that your problem is with Across the Universe...not me. Keep this in mind because the song will probably piss you off too.

Jack Johnson's cover of Imagine: At least a dozen other artists have covered John Lennon's Imagine and most of them are forgettable at best. Jack Johnson succeeds where others have failed because he is the BOMB! Much like fellow beachbum crooner Chris Isaak, Jack Johnson could sing anything and sound sexy. Jack manages to maintain the feeling of intimacy while singing this song by keeping his voice low and soft. He also covered the song for a charity album benefiting refugees in Darfur which gives me bonus points.

Finally...the cover that I can never hear enough...

Israel Kamakawiw'ole's cover of Over the Rainbow: So there is no getting around the fact that most people think of ruby red slippers when they hear mention of this song. I too love the Wizard of Oz and love this song. It is covered everyday by school drama clubs, drunk karaoke singers, etc. Yet Israel's version is by far the best cover around. It is impossible not to feel at peace as you hear him sing along with his ukulele. TJ used to play this song often and I'm not sure if it was intentional or just good timing but it was usually just as I was getting to the breaking point.

So there is my list...I will close by saying that if you enjoy covers, it is worth it to invest in the Stubbs the Zombie soundtrack because it is entirely made up of decent covers. I know it sounds crazy...but take my word for it. Just don't buy the game because it sucks!

8 comments:

Todd said...

Why did you buy a game called stubbs the zombie? you don't even play video games?

Good picks but I don't agree with you about Everclear. They should have left it alone.

Where is How Sweet it is to be loved by you?

What about Always on my mind or Can't help falling in love? No love for Elvis covers huh?

Millie said...

Pet Shop version of Always on My Mind is pretty good. I have yet to hear a good cover of Can't Help Falling In Love.

I bought Stubbs because I like Zombie movies...not so much Zombies games. Want me to send it to you? I has the Halo engine whatever that means.

Todd said...

I heard that it is a waste because the zombies can't move fast and its boring. So no, pawn it off on someone else.

Where is Live's Walk the Line? Or Johnny Cash's Hurt?

The Kiskadian said...

Avril Lavigne's cover of Fuel is the world's worst cover of all time followed by sheryl crow singing sweet child of mine.

The Kiskadian said...

oh and jack johnson sucks too

Millie said...

Kiskadian - I agree with you on the Fuel and the GnR, but as far as Jack Johnson...those are fighting words my friend.

Millie said...

Todd - As usual you are the first to point out my mistakes...the staple of a true friend. I stand corrected and readily admit that I should have included Walk the Line on my list. As far as Hurt...it's only real appeal to me is that is was so unexpected. However the shock was great and therefore it should have made the list.

Todd said...

Pointing out mistakes NEVER. Just giving a different opinion. Here is one that is bound to be tough for you. Daughty or whatever that jerks name is version of Wanted Dead or Alive