(Um yeah, you’ll probably want sound for today’s post. Sorry if you’re at work)
Hit and miss it may be, but I’m really loving Mark Ronson’s new album of covers, with it’s mostly successful approach of roping in the likes of Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen and relative unknowns The Daptone Horns and injecting life into tracks by mainstays such as the Zutons, the Kaiser Chiefs and Coldplay which I’d previously dismissed as fairly staid. I think everyone loves a good cover version, especially if it takes such a divergent approach so as to leave you completely frustrated in the first 30 seconds before the lyrics kick in as you try to place what song it is.
One or two of the tracks on the album may well be vying for a place amongst some of my favourite covers ever, alongside Paul Anka’s Soundgarden cover, Señor Coconut’s various Kraftwerk covers, and – probably my most adored ever – Polyphonic Spree’s take on Nirvana’s Lithium.
In contrast to the above songs, taking things down a notch can work pretty well too. Pretty much anything by the fantastic Nouvelle Vague fits the bill, Nina Gordon’s NWA cover did the rounds everywhere a couple of years ago, and I still remember being massively impressed by Tarvis’s reworking of a recent pop classic at Glastonbury 2000. José González is also building a bit of a reputation for himself as an acoustic cover master, Kylie’s Hand On Your Heart or Massive Attack’s Teardrop probably being the stand outs for me.
Another couple of songs which lend a completely different aspect to the originals (but for vastly different reasons) are Johnny Cash’s haunting rendition of Nine Inch Nails’s Hurt, and Elbow’s take on Independent Women (enhanced by Joel Veitch’s video).
One last ‘cover’ of sorts worth mentioning is, of course, the reworking of Radiohead’s back catalogue by the University of Arizona’s marching band. If you haven’t seen it, (i) where have you been?!, and (ii) lookit (if you’re pushed for time, the highlight is probably from 3.00 to 4.10) (they also do a Led Zeppelin routine if that’s more your bag, kicking off with a great rendition of Good Times, Bad Times).
So, what are your favourite covers? Let me know in the comments, preferably with a link. Maybe we could make an almighty mix-tape.
(I love a good mashup as much as the next man – Soulwax’s Intergalactic remix will forever be associated with beer drenched nights at The Garage, whereas there’s something indescribably amusing about something as unashamedly forced and silly as 99 Luftproblems – so I’ll allow those too because I’m lax like that)
5 weeks ago