It is time for another installment of, “cover songs you need to hear before you die.” Last time we saw greats like Chester Bennington sing “Hunger Strike” with Chris Cornell, and Corey Taylor team with Aaron Lewis for an acoustic rendition of “Comfortably Numb.”
This time we have a new batch of noteworthys that will make you rethink what you already know about mainstream music.
1. Scott Bradlee & the Post Modern Jukebox – Thrift Shop
We have spoken about these cats on our #groundsound podcast before (you can listen to an episode on the player to the right). Scott Bradlee (piano extraordinaire) and his gang have been able to manipulate pop to a point where it can be taken seriously.
Their formula: Keep the vocal melody consistent from today’s pop but change the music to a respectable, natural genre such as ragtime, or doo wop, or jive. They play the songs as if they were made in the 50’s or 40’s or even 30’s by gummit!
Here is their rendition of Macklemore’s Thrift Shop:
2. Miley Cyrus – Jolene
First of all, we don’t condone the consumption of Miley Cyrus in pop culture. Love or hate her, it is important to know that she is able to accomplish what she did, below.
This video reveals that if you take the tongue swinging, and the foam fingers, and the teddy bear posse out of Miley Cyrus, you actually get a talented human with a nack for classic music.
3. Ben Folds – Bitches Aint Shit
If you know a little bit about me, you know that I am a HUGE Ben Folds Fan. I have every album he has ever made, and yes that includes his spoken word concept album with William Shatner. Yes, that happened.
Apart from being a genius, the man is full of sarcasm, a sense of humor, and a big personality. One day he woke up in the morning and said to himself, “I need to cover a rap song, and that sh*t needs to be poppy as hell as if an awkward, white, nerd wrote it.” (this isn’t a direct quote, nor can we confirm this was his actual thought process)
He decided to cover Dr. Dre’s, “Bitches Aint Shit.” The result was miraculous.
Here is the (Explicit) original version:
Here is Ben’s (Equally Explicit) cover:
4. Muse – Where The Streets Have No Name
Complete with woodpecker-like-headbangs from bassist, Chris Wolstenholme, Matthew Bellamy’s best “Bono moment,” and… uh… oh yeah, U2’s The Edge, this HAS to be one of the most epic covers to ever happen on stage.
In my humble opinion, Dom (the drummer) and The Edge, take the show on the cover. Bellamy’s voice isn’t necessarily a clear tribute to Bono. The Edge’s apparent harmonies throughout the track, tip a hat to the U2 influence rendering Bellamy’s theatrical, opera-esque attributes moot to the larger moments.
Regardless, the fact that this even happened was RAD as hell and needs to be recognized. Muse is one of my favorite bands and I will respect everything they do, so long they do it well. This fits in that category.
5. Weezer – Paranoid Android
“Wait, What?!?! That must be a misprint… There is no way that Weezer is competent enough to cover Radiohead’s, ‘Paranoid Android.'”
There is… …and they did!
It was actually a pretty cool idea and in some ways, this cover by this 90’s pop sensation, really worked.
From this critic’s eyes, the band did a superb job in covering this enormously influential song. Front man, Rivers Cuomo, however is no Thome Yorke by ANY means. …That is the one low point.
With that said, Rivers has a metal background and mastering a track like this should be a snap and make a lot of sense. (I know Radiohead isn’t metal, but if you can play metal; you can play anything) Not to say that Weezer didn’t work hard to perfect this cover, because they most obviously did. The accents were nailed down, the complexity of the rhythm was mastered, and even the change of time signature was capitalized on.
They did a great job, but the fact of the matter remains… Weezer is no Radiohead.