Sunday, October 07, 2007

Running for Covers

Always been a sucker for a good cover song. Maybe this guilty pleasure stems from spending countless nights listening to cover bands at various watering holes in college, I don't know. But I have always found it interesting how even the most vehement of fans of a band will scour and cull through countless shows, sites, and albums for that one cover song that everyone is talking about. Must be something about the revamped version as a tribute to a likely influence, or a new take on what one might think is an unlikely fit for the repertoire. But what I’ve noticed more of lately as I expand my library of artists is that a good cover will not only make me appreciate an artist more—where they came from, what they listen to—but it will usually open the door to someone I haven’t heard before or which I didn’t appreciate as much the first listen. For instance, take Mark Ronson & Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” off the Version album. This is a cover of a track from the Zutons' 2006 Release Tired of Hanging Around. Not a huge fan of Winehouse, but her rendition turned me back to the original and made me appreciate how it is one of those songs that could potentially transcend genres and musical tastes. Some other covers that I have really enjoyed:

“Where is My Mind?” – Bobby Bare, Jr.
“When the Doves Cry” – The Be Good Tanyas
“Sexual Healing” – Hot Chip
“No Surprises” – Easy Star All-Stars
“Ever Fallen In Love?” – Nouvelle Vague
“Eye in the Sky” – Viva Voce
"Bring It on Home to Me" - Britt Daniel (of Spoon)
“Waitin’ for a Superman” – Iron & Wine

Also, one of my favorite albums of the year is Bridging the Distance, which is a covers album featuring artists who are from or have some connection to Portland, OR, which has a booming musical scene right now. The Britt Daniel cover is on this album, as well as great covers from bands like the Decemberists, the Joggers, Viva Voce, and Blitzen Trapper. Reply below and let us know some of your favorite covers.

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