20 thoughts on “Covers of Songs You Like

  1. I suspect contemporary musicians appeared on Live at Daryl’s House as a way to introduce themselves to older listeners (or at least that’s one of the reasons), and I think it’s a good strategy. I know I’ve enjoyed artists that I would probably never have heard had I not seen them on the show. Butch Walker is one of many like that. I think he does a good job on this cover of “Say It Isn’t So.”

    The next clip is of Aloe Blaac doing a cover of “Maneater” with Hall. I may not have found it entirely successful, but I appreciate the rather different take they had on it.

    Here’s another cover that may not have totally resonated with me, but I really liked the creative additions. I also enjoyed the improvised outro.

    Maybe not really a really different version from the original, but I really like this:

  2. Aloe Blacc’s pretty cool. This episode aired in 2015, 5 years after his “I Need a Dollar” kind of broke out as the theme song to HBO’s How to Make it In America. I am not physically in a place where I can listen to this now but I will.

  3. For some reason (which I can’t remember now), I listened to a song from the Brothers Cazimero’s album 20 Years–Hoku Award Winning Songs–“Ka Beauty a’o Manoa.” It sounded great, but I didn’t know who did the original. The song sounded like it was decades before the album came out, but the album features all the Hoku song winners for the previous 20 years. (The album came out in 1997.) Anyway, I learned that Tony Conjugacion wrote the song in ’86. It’s a good song, but I prefer it with the Cazimero’s little modifications.

    Hearing that song got me to listen to much of the album. I also like their cover of “Manao Pili:”

    This was another song that sounded familiar and old, but it was the 1991 song of the year, written and performed by Diana Aki. This is a really nice song, too. (I believe Aki wrote it many years before she recorded it, but I’m not sure when.)

    I like many other covers on this album, but these are two that stood out for me yesterday.

  4. Every time the Kurt Elling, the jazz vocalist, comes out with a new album, I look for covers of pop/rock and Pat Metheny songs. A few years ago listened to his cover of U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name,” one of my favorite songs by them. I didn’t really care for it, mainly for it’s low energy. But I just listened to it again, and I liked it a lot more, although I must say that I read the lyrics while listening and that really enhanced my enjoyment of it. Additionally, while the song played, the original version–as well as images from the video, which I really liked, played in the background of my mind. This enhanced my enjoyment of the song as well.

    With Elling’s quieter version made the song feel more like poetry, which is a good thing, as I like the lyrics. I also liked the way his version crescendos, starting in a more subdued way building to release of energy, which doesn’t really happen in the original in my opinion.

    With regard to the lyrics, I don’t think I ever knew the chorus was “we’re still building and then burning down love.” I found this line the most poignant, in tragic way–specifically the idea of building and burning or tearing down love.

    Here are the original lyrics:

    I want to run
    I want to hide
    I want to tear down the walls
    That hold me inside
    I want to reach out
    And touch the flame
    Where the streets have no name

    I want to feel sunlight on my face
    I see the dust cloud disappear
    Without a trace
    I want to take shelter from the poison rain
    Where the streets have no name

    Where the streets have no name
    Where the streets have no name
    We’re still building
    Then burning down love
    Burning down love
    And when I go there
    I go there with you
    It’s all I can do

    The city’s aflood
    And our love turns to rust
    We’re beaten and blown by the wind
    Trampled in dust
    I’ll show you a place
    High on a desert plain
    Where the streets have no name

    Where the streets have no name
    Where the streets have no name
    We’re still building
    Then burning down love
    Burning down love
    And when I go there
    I go there with you
    It’s all I can do
    Our love turns to rust
    We’re beaten and blown by the wind
    Blown by the wind
    Oh, and I see love
    See our love turn to rust
    We’re beaten and blown by the wind
    Blown by the wind
    Oh, when I go there
    I go there with you
    It’s all I can do

    And here’s the original video:

  5. This is not a cover I like, but since this thread is about covers, I’m going to put it here. I can’t tell if this was done in earnest or it was intentionally funny or bad.

  6. Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays are two of my favorite composers. I really like the song below–but I don’t know many covers of it, and it’s not a song Metheny has continued to play live. This is a nice version. I wouldn’t mind learning how to play this, but it looks pretty hard.

    Here’s the original. (I like the vocals and the twist at the end.)

  7. While I don’t care for Bob Dylan, I do respond more favorably to Leonard Cohen. Here’s a cover of a song I really like. (I’m not really familiar with teh original for what it’s worth.)

    The lyrics are very serious and weighty, and this type of song can really go bad, by being overly earnest and even cheesy, if the songwriter is not careful. That’s not the case here, at least not to me. I don’t completely understand the lyrics, but the overall heaviness and drama worked very well for me. The pairing with bossa nova groove also worked well, I thought.

    On a side note, when I first hear Souza I wasn’t taken by her sound. It’s different from the typical bossa nova/samba Brazilian vocalists, and not in a good way–not to me at first. But her voice–or more specifically her singing has grown on me. One thing I like, and this is the same reason I like Cohen, I think: She articulate the words so you can easily understand them. If the lyrics are good and important to the song, I think this is really underrated quality in singers.

  8. Angelique Kidjo does an afrobeat version of Remain in Light. I didn’t listen to all of this, but I did listen to and liked her cover of “Once in a Lifetime.” (Tony Allen plays on a few tracks, and I always enjoying listening to him.)

    1. I need to check that out.

      Her cover (with Joss Stone) of “Gimme Shelter” was the song that turned me on to Angelique. Saw her in concert just a few months later and she was great.

      1. What I appreciate is that the version is pretty different from the original–so much so that I had a hard time remembering what the original sounded like. I think I still prefer the original, though.

  9. I don’t necessarily like Route 66, but I like this Asleep at the Wheel’s cover of it, particularly the vocalists and the way they trade lines.

    1. Great cover. It’s sorta the vocal version of their instrumental approach. Great concept.

      I’m nearly certain you hate this version, but it’s the only one (until now) I’ve ever been crazy about. My favorite Depeche Mode song.

      1. I actually listened to this with an open mind–actually trying to find reasons to like this. Alas, I didn’t really care for it, although “hate” might be too strong a word. I sort of thought the might be taking the song in an interesting direction–the hand claps actually was an example of this–but it didn’t work out that way for me. (The musical interlude kinda brought the music down to me; I thought this section was a bit dull.)

        On a site note, the guitar riff kinda reminded me of ZZ Top (“Legs?”)

        1. Yeah I can totally hear “Legs” in the riff. You’d really dislike some of the extended dance remixes. 🙂

        2. Dance remixes of covers or of their own stuff?

          On a side note, I’ve been exploring more punk music and its offshoots, and the sensation I’m getting is an awareness of my ignorance of large swaths of music. A part of me wants to rectify this. Now, I mention this because I’m largely ignorant of groups that are like Depeche Mode, and I’ll also lump in The Smiths. Just from a cursory, superficial listening, I dismissed this music. But I think I should do a deeper dive.

          1. Dance remixes of Depeche Mode’s “Route 66.” There are several, I think.

            I think it’s not a bad idea, but if you don’t like the surface-level qualities of the music, I can’t imagine a deeper dive having much meaning for you. I wouldn’t suggest the songs you know are the best of the genre, but they are pretty representative. The one argument against this stance is that sometimes music grows on a person, or a person hears the music and at first doesn’t like it for a few reasons but then hears something different (or something more) while taking a deeper dive.

            Not saying this to discourage you. By all means: if you want to see what you might be missing, jump in. I like this music. It makes me feel something viscerally the dance music of my pre-teen years never did make me feel. As you know, I don’t care for dancing or for dance, but I’ll always dance to “Rock Lobster” (a different music from what we’re talking about, but an example of music that does inspire me to move) and I’ll do a minimalist movement of some sort that could liberally be labeled dancing if I’m at a New Order concert, which I did when I was.

      2. What makes me open to investigate groups like Depeche Mode, The Smiths, The Cure, etc. is the way the Talking Heads Remain in Light pleasantly surprised me. Generally, Bryne’s sound and singing–that sort of style–turns me off. But not only did I like Remain in Light’s music, but Byrne’s voice has grown on me.

        Additionally, I’ve been recently doing a deeper dive into the New York No Wave scene. I actually liked some of the music I heard from one of the groups, DNA lead by Arto Lindsay. I don’t know why I never went further, although maybe I did, and I didn’t like what I heard. Anyway, on this recent attempt, the bands I heard surprised me–specifically the way the music grooved, and the prominence of the bass’s role. Both are not qualities I associate with punk, which I closely associate with No Wave. (Right now, No Wave seems like a more avant-garde version of punk–but some of it grooves, which is pretty odd!)

        All this makes me wonder how I’ll react to music like those 80’s English-y groups. Also, I’m wondering how I’ll react if I do a deeper dive into metal.

        1. I don’t know if I hate English accents, but there’s a group of singers (all white?) that have a sound that, one not only devoid of any African-American influence, but also not very soulful. (Country and bluegrass singers may have a sound devoid of “blackness,” but it’s not uncommon that they sing soulfully.) David Byrne would be in this category. I think I’d put Chrissie Hynde in there, too–but I like both of them (or at least I can tolerate Byrne). Another example: Jon Anderson. I should not really like his singing, based on his shrill sound, particularly within the context of rock. But I can tolerate his voice, and I might even go so far as saying I like it at times (although that feels like I’m pushing it).

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