Cover This

Posted by sepoy on October 04, 2004 · 4 mins read

Now that diss. week is over, roses can bloom. Except, it is kinda cold. So, sven and some other cool people do these music lists. Normally, I am not the one for lists. It's the hierarchy that gets to me. But, this latest one caught my attention. Top Covers. I dig covers. My criteria for any cover is, simply, that it should be an "interpretation" not mimicry. Which means anything done by P. Diddy, B. Spears, Alien Ant Farm, A. Lavigne, C. Aguilera etc. etc. does not count. With that said, here is my list of top covers (these are not in any order):

Top 10 Cover Songs

  • Fiona Apple/Beatles: Across the Universe. First of all, the song is terribly cheesy (jai guru deva om, indeed). But Fiona Apple's breathless delivery just makes it all work for me.
  • Jeff Buckley/Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah. A lot of people have covered this song. But Jeff Buckley's version remains supreme to me. If there is a greater voice in my generation, I don't know about it. I had "...and love is not a victory march" up on our quote board in the office for a long time. The live version on the Mystery White Boy CD is also great because he name-checks Cohen.
  • Cat Power/Rolling Stones: Satisfaction. Take the most sexual song by the band that oozes male predatory impulses, strip the rollicking chorus, the exaggerated swagger and show the world how lonely and vulnerable the lyrics really are. Brilliant cover.
  • Johnny Cash/NIN: Hurt. The song and the video that ended up being Johnny's requiem.
  • Negativland/U2: I Still Haven't Found What I Am Looking For. This is just funny. We hear Casey Kasem cussing a blue streak. Island Record sued them. And so did Casey. When it was all over, we had sampling, splicing and grinding enter the mainstream.
  • Nirvana/Leadbelly: Where Did You Sleep Last Night? I won't lie...I love nothing more than blues standards re-worked. Part of the reason, I dug the White Stripes. Huddie Ledbetter was one of the greatest voices of early 20th c. This cover is not an re-interpretation but I like it and its my list so, there.
  • Talking Heads/Al Green: Take Me to the River. The cover song that started it all. This is a Talking Heads song not an Al Green song. To take soul music, slow it down and blip it around. What a great punk move.
  • Beck/Hank Williams: Your Cheatin' Heart. Beck doesn't do too many covers. Though, some can argue that his entire discography is a cover. Still, this lethargic, dreamy riff on Hank Williams is pitch perfect.
  • The Sundays/Rolling Stones: Wild Horses. Another cover that raised a lot of heckles when it was released. Screw the Rolling Stones.
  • Uncle Tupelo/Carter Family: No Depression In Heaven. Jeff Tweedy just sounds weird with a southern accent and Uncle Tupelo is some deal with the alt-indie devil. Still this song (and album) is an amazing testament to music that gets reborn with each passing generation.

better lists: brooks blog, write on, megs, iseemonsters, alien fur, bitchalicious, dune shack, meghan's deep thoughts, sheets & blankets, shoulda said, chele blog


Brooks | October 04, 2004

Great commentary! It seems that we feel the same about the Stones. Take me to the River and Wild Horses are two that I had forgotten about. Good choices.

sven | October 04, 2004

the sunday's wild horses was on the buffy soundtrack. [giggles]

rock grrrl | October 04, 2004

I am such a dork for forgetting Johnny Cash "Hurt". ah well. Great list!

sepoy | October 04, 2004

Brooks, rockgrrl: thanks! sven: quit ya lying.

rachel | October 05, 2004

I'm with you on the Fiona Apple. I just love that girl. She's amazing on that remake. Great list!

Sharon | October 05, 2004

Nirvana's Where Did You Sleep Last Night just makes me go all trembly; but I have to admit that I haven't heard the original... Recent nomination: Scissor Sister's cover of Comfortably Numb. Will never hear the original in quite the same way again. *giggles*

sepoy | October 05, 2004

Sharon: Email me and I will send you a link to Leadbelly's version. Nirvana's is a pretty faithful cover though. Now, the Scissor Sisters kicked ass with the Comfortably Numb cover. Great work, I don't know why I didn't put it up here. But then I remembered like 4 other songs that I should have. Oh well.