RadioPotato Goes Under the Covers
Before the Jersey Shore was aware of the convenient short cut of an orange spray tan, I used to pile on my way-too-dark foundation, pour myself into my hoochie mama ho’ clothes and head down the shore to see my favorite local band play at Jenk’s Night Club on the Point Pleasant boardwalk. Back in the dirty days of ’99, this band was the jewel of the Jersey Shore, famous COVER BAND, THE NERDS! Even after doing “research” for the article, I realize that they are STILL around and still rockin’ after 20 years. Spaz, Mongo, Biff, and Stretch would keep the guidos fist pumpin’ to your favorite “bar traditionals” and suspend the bar fights at least until the end of their set.
Sad to say it, things have changed a lot in the past 10+ years. My dear friend, Amanda, was saying how much she liked Mat Kearney’s cover for Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.” I haven’t even heard his version but I already hate it. I admit it. I drink gallons of Hate-orade against cover songs.
After working in radio and being forced to see too many bad cover bands/butchers at every OTP Atlanta watering hole, I think my light to find any sustainable freshness in a cover has permanently burned out.
Evidently, I’m not alone in my plight to abolish covers. There’s a music feature on Entertainment Weekly’s website called “Maim That Tune.” Even though there is a cool history of the cover song, let’s quickly go down a brief list of garbage that’s been played to death and then shoplifted by someone else:
- NO, I don’t want to hear a dance re-mix of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On“
- We are the World…really? Again? Fine, I’ll text “haiti” to 90999
- Brit-Brit covering Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative?” Come on…nobody can touch Bobby…except Whitney.
- Limp Bizkit covered George Michael’s “Faith” I guess it gives new meaning to “rock out with your c*#k out”
- Jessica Simpson murdering/whailing Robbie William’s “Angels”
- Don’t even GET me started on American Idol’s music massacres
Unless you’re Michael Buble covering ANYTHING or Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails, please Quit it. Go in the woods by yourself and don’t come back until you have songs that are distinctive and UNIQUE!
In similar news, I actually love sampled music. I like the Open Source feel of a good hook and artists turning a familiar music bed into their very own. Here’s a GREAT new one that’s been blazing up the charts. Can you name the sample of the original song?
Melanie Fiona – “Give it to me Right”
I admit, there are a few covers that truly are successful in my book. Sometimes the cover is done so well, people forget the original. Whitney did this to Dolly Parton with “I Will Always Love You.” Maybe the moon was hitting just right for these particular covers, but here are some of my favorites. Can you tell me who the original artists are?
Susan Tedeschi – “You Got the Silver”
Jeff Buckley – “Hallelujah” (duh, of course)
Eva Cassidy – “Fields of Gold” (voice of an angel, RIP)
So, I’ve come a long way from the Nerds. In some ways, I wish I wasn’t so jaded. The truth is that the general public craves the familiar and will keep supporting mediocre replicas of what were once originals. My quest? To get more artists and listeners to step out of the familiar musical doldrums and adventure into something fresh, new, and inimitatable.
I’d love for you to share about your favorite/least favorite covers as well as any comments. This is the first entry to my section “Opinion or Truth?” Please leave below and THANK YOU for reading!