Covers, I love them. There is just something about hearing a song, whether they are familiar or not, done by two different artists that gets my musical brain revving. Comparing two musicians/groups styles, lyrics, delivery, spirit, voice etc is at is purest and most satiating when done on the same song. There is also something refreshing when you hear a song you know and, maybe have grown just a little too comfortable with, done in a way you would have never anticipated. I will probably be tossing out cover features pretty regularly as I have a ton of them and I'm always adding more. So without further ado...
Glen Hansard Everytime
(originally by Britney Spears) In its original form, from Ms. Spears' Toxic album, was a guilty pleasure in its truest sense; I rarely played when anyone else was around and certainly didn't sing along when they were. But I just really like the lyrics so when I heard this version by Glen Hansard (of Once[the movie]/The Frames/Swell Season) fame it gave me a legitimate addition to my public playlists. It definitely falls into the "better cover than original" category. Sorry Brit.
Harry Nilsson Always Look On The Bright Side of Life
(originally by Monty Python) I always think of my cousin Sam when I encounter Monty Python material. He went through a phase when he was pretty plus'd by the brilliantly humorous comedy troop. This cover is still infused with the pep of the original, perhaps a little too much so. I usually prefer when the cover artist adds their own twist. None the less the I thought it worthy of sharing.
Deer Tick Beautiful Girls
(Originally by Sean Kingston) I haven't encountered other Deer Tick music before so I will avoid generalizations about their overall abilities but I really like their take on this pop tune. When SK's original hit the scene I was still listening to radio and, while I liked the mellow soulish song on first listen, it was soon overplayed and incredibly annoying. Deer Tick have resurrected it for me in a muy indie ballad kind of way. I'll have to do some further digging into their rep.
Vampire Weekend Everywhere
(Original Fleetwood Mac) On the whole I am a fan of Vampire Weekend. They are catchy and smart and their combination of poppy percussion and paul simonsish vocals translates really well to this Fleetwood Mac classic. More than adding their own twist they make it their own. Its Everywhere a'la Vampire Weekend, not ironic or bastardized. Clearly done with fun and respect.
The Arcade Fire Brazil
(Original by Ary Barroso on the Brazil sdtk) First, let me share with you the following Wiki facts: the song was written on a "pluvious night" in 1939, is considered Brazil's most famous song and ushered in that oh so popular era of "exaltation samba." It is also the one song, done in various arrangements that provides the soundtrack to the movie Brazil which I recently watched and found um, interesting. The Arcade Fire's take seems to be a homage of sorts and I love that I am no longer the only one championing the return of exaltation samba.
(Originally by Feist) My adored Julie was the first person to introduce me to the, now viral, youTube music video of the lady feist and all of here primary colored friends dancing in sync. And it seems like everyone has done a take/remix/mash up of the song, including Feist herself cutting a Sesame Street version. Bikini's count is electronic fun and v. distinct. Keeping to what they do well this is a great intro to some of their own work (check out Oh Girl Get On The Floor).
(Originally by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) Wakey!Wakey! is one of many groups putting out cover projects lately -- Denison Witmer is another indie scenester doing other peoples work worthy of your time. For the most part their versions of Foo Fighters, Beach Boys and even Alicia Keys songs are straight from the sheet music to your ear with a slight saccharine coating. But in this case the sugar treatment on an previously reserved recording is actually kind of interesting.
If you like their versions of other people's songs you can find more here...
Glen Hansard (The Swell Season)
The Arcade Fire