Sunday, 16 June 2013

The Candy Shop #7

The Candy Shop #7:
Coke or Pepsi? Aero Bar or Bubbly?
by Nayt Housman

You know when you have a fave confectionary or drink and then another competing brand has almost exactly the same thing but you always like one better? What do you find you like more, the original or the copy? This week I search the meaning to why I love my fave cover songs and are they better than the originals?

In the month of November 2012, I had the pleasure of seeing Radiohead for the first time in my life. In the third encore (YES! THREE ENCORE’S) I heard a song, I listened, my eyes glazed over then I realized it was Bjork’s ‘Unravel’, then the leaking began, yes, it’s one of my fave songs. Ever. A song so simple, delicate and bittersweet that it is capable of making me “ugly cry” while I drown my sorrows by emotionally devouring a microwave chocolate cake.

Radiohead ‘Unravel’ (Bjork cover)

Bjork ‘Unravel’

And the winner is? IT’S A TIE! I love the Radiohead cover, Thom’s voice adds sorrow and tenderness, but the warmth and pure innocence delivered by Bjork is equally as endearing. I just can’t choose and would be happy to die with either version on repeat.

Let’s just say I have always been a bit of a Fiona Apple fan, and sometimes I spend a lot of obsessive time consuming anything Apple on the Y’Tube. Well, several years ago I discovered this cover of Elvis Costello’s ‘I Want You’. Now think what you will but I’ve never listened to much Costello and what I have heard had the potential to leave me “baron” and “wanting”. So how does his music fare when it has an injection from the crazy, bitter and slightly manic Fiona Apple syringe?

Fiona Apple ‘I Want You’ (Elvis Costello cover)

Elvis Costello ‘I Want You’


And the winner is? FIONA (durrrr). There are moments where Elvis looks like he might fall asleep, like he bores himself even, but when Fiona gets her teeth into it I can feel the venom she spits forth and she performs with an electric presence. I swear I’m not bias…

Winner: Fiona. No Bias.

I first heard this song around 13 years ago and fell instantly in love with it because it’s lyrics (inspired by the 1896 story Disillusionment (Enttäuschung) by Thommas Mann) validated my numb, angst laden “emo” leanings at the time.

PJ Harvey ‘Is That All There Is’ (Dan Daniels cover)

‘Is That All There Is’ Dan Daniels

And the winner is? PJ HARVEY! This song has been covered dozens of times by some pretty big names but most often those who recycled it kept the same “All this just bores me so I’ma partay” attitude whereas PJ Harvey (and John Parish) made it a depressing mantra for the absurdist.

I love how a good cover can make us completely rethink a song and even just get us to listen to a song from an artist we may have never heard of or genre we wouldn’t normally admire. One thing is for sure I need all the help I can get to get out of my music bubble, so if it’s because of a cover song then to all musicians out there, keep doing awesome covers from genres you may not be part of. It’s the best way to make an old stubborn duck like me sit up, listen and taste a new brand.

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