Guest Post – We’ve Got It Covered

by Karen

The wonderful Ms. S. has the distinct honor (?) of being my first guest blogger during our vacation. She has compiled a great list of covers and I promise, they do not disappoint. If you’re as much of a music lover as Ms. S. and I, you will appreciate this eclectic gathering of songs. Be sure to tell her what you think of her list and don’t forget to add your favorite covers!

We’ve Got You Covered

I’ve been reading Karen’s blog for a long time, probably since the start of the Sour Patch Kid Experiment. I’ve always been in awe of her expansive knowledge of trivia and pop culture, and envied her wealth of knowledge of all things 80’s. One thing (of many!) she and I have in common is our diverse taste in music.

I love covers. There, I’ve said it. I don’t think there’s anything unoriginal about singing someone else’s song. Artists definitely get mad points for composing their own music and penning their own lyrics—that takes a unique style of creative genius. However, some people just (just!) have amazing voices, while few people are blessed with both (and they usually become superstars).

As a singer, I am drawn to covers because I love hearing someone new interpret a song we’re all used to hearing. Upbeat songs become somber; serious songs become playful. The words and their meanings fade into the background as the creativity and expression in the singer’s voice seeps through the speakers and allows me to hear the song in a whole new way.

I recently compiled a playlist of my favorite modern-day covers of 80’s hits (okay, two are from the early 90’s, but in my mind, they’ll always evoke the 80’s).  I thought of Karen and her affinity towards 80’s movies and music, and wanted to share the playlist with her and any like-minded readers.

As the typical falling-down-the-rabbit-hole experience of Internet searching goes, I’ve stumbled upon many of these quite by accident, hidden in genres, sub-genres and tiny, cobwebby corners of iTunes I wouldn’t otherwise have found. Some are more mainstream, other obscure and unexpected. Please share your thoughts and other gems I haven’t yet uncovered!

“Against All Odds” by The Postal Service (original: Phil Collins)

Pensive and almost dark, this song is MUCH more tolerable than the Phil Collins version I always hear at the dentist’s office (sorry, Phil!). It’s a good song to put at the end of a workout mix as a cool down. Electronic yet chill.

 “Fields of Gold” by Eva Cassidy (original: Sting)

Honestly, I think Karen is the first person who introduced me to the talented Eva Cassidy, gone too soon. Her hauntingly sweet and simple voice makes this a calming, soothing almost lullaby of a song.

“Fields of Gold” (“New Version”) by Sting (can you cover yourself?)

Why yes, yes you can. On his “Songs from the Labyrinth Special Edition” album, Sting completely reinvents this song, so much so that my iTunes library has labeled it “classical.” I’m not sure if I’d go that far, but it’s just so pleasant to listen to.

“Forever Young” by Youth Group (original: Alphaville)

This one is a bit of an embarrassing cop out as it’s from the O.C. Soundtrack (hangs head in shame), but it has a completely different tempo from the original. It sounds less like the soundtrack to a wild day at the beach/state fair/amusement park and more like the drama of high school, driving by the ocean…Oh wait, that’s the O.C. I really do appreciate its more rock qualities as opposed to it being a tinny pop song.

“Friday I’m in Love” by Dean and Brita (original: The Cure)

This husband-wife indie rock duo from NYC (where else?) does a dead-on remake of this classic from The Cure.

“Friday I’m in Love” (yes, again) by Scala and Kolacny Brothers

You’ll probably recognize these young ladies’ voices from the trailer to The Social Network. It’s actually a Belgian Girls’ Choir. Who knew?! As a lifelong choir singer, I find this cheesy, nostalgic and impressive all at the same time. Yes, you can tell that you’re listening to a choir of teenage girls, but they are amazing at what they do and put an entirely new spin on the song.

 “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Greg Laswell (original: Cyndi Lauper)

This is a classic case of how people covering their opposites often work out perfectly. A man? Singing the song blew Cyndi Lauper to international superstardom? About girls? Having fun?! Singing it like a funeral dirge? It works.

“Have a Little Faith In Me” by Mandy Moore (original: John Hiatt)

An upbeat, jazzy take on a more serious song. I have always been a fan of Mandy Moore (can’t quite put my finger on why) but this is the perfect sing-along-in-the-shower-or-an-empty-car song. You’ll find yourself saying, “I’ve always like this song, right?”

“I Melt With You” by Nouvelle Vague (original: Modern English)

This version has a totally different pace than the original. A steady movement forward without the chaos, that brings to mind a single dotted yellow line along a highway passing next to your car’s tires as you wave your hand out the window feeling the wind and soaking in the sunshine.

“In Your Eyes” by Lori McKenna (original: Peter Gabriel)

editor note – I couldn’t find the video on You Tube <insert sad face>

I love the tempo of this song—the chorus is almost Southern Rock. Lori’s smoky voice gives a romantic song an intriguing yet ragged edge. (I know this is from one of Karen’s favorite movies, so I hope she approves of Lori’s version!)

 “Just Like Heaven” by Joy Zipper (original: The Cure)

On the surface, this cover sounds very much like the original, until the singing starts. Another married indie-pop duo from New York (there can never be too many), whose vocals balance each other perfectly and give new depth to one of The Cure’s greatest hits.

“Time After Time” (original: Cyndi Lauper)

I have three favorite versions and no, I can’t just pick one. The song is just that good.

Eva Cassidy:

Her version is like a lullaby. Her voice is clear as a bell, accompanied by nothing but a single guitar. It makes me think of sitting around a campfire, while she strums and sings, stars twinkle overhead and her voice echoes across the landscape.

Matt Ketterman & Cameron Mizell:

editor note – I couldn’t find the video on You Tube <insert sad face>

Without taking anything away from either version or artist, this is essential the same thing only with a male vocalist. A single, clear male voice against the backdrop of a single acoustic guitar.

Quietdrive:

An alternative rock version, of the more pop variety, but a seriously fun song in and of itself. Perfect for road trips and iMovie soundtracks.

Oh. My. Gosh. Is this not a fabulous list? Thank you Ms. S. I may need you to do more guest posts in the feature. This list rocks!

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