May 17, 2019

I Had No Idea...

Y'all remember The Art Of Noise, right?  New Wave band, did that thing with Max Headroom, and that other thing with Tom Jones, and that other other thing with Duane Eddy, and the video with the kinda creepy little girl directing people to destroy various musical instruments in various entertaining ways?  Right, that song was titled "Close (To The Edit)", and like a lot of Noise's stuff, it still holds up really well today.


But here's the thing: I always assumed that it was all electronic stuff and samples and drum machines.  And maybe it was, but I only just learned that Trevor Horn produced the band... indeed, he was actually part of the band.  And between him, Anne Dudley, and a Fairlight, there was actual, y'know, music.  That could be played live.  A stunning concept for what I thought was nothing but a studio band.

How did I discover this?  Like most revelations, I discovered it accidentally, by stumbling over a 2004 Prince's Trust concert celebrating the career of Trevor Horn.  His work with The Buggles, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Yes, Seal, ABC, and others all performed live... and then this:
Completely gobsmacked.  I knew Horn played bass, but holy crepe on a stick, he does seem to be pretty damn good at it.  Oh, and those drummers are doing some serious work.

And it was live.  Who knew the Art of Noise was a real live boy?

Note: If the video isn't working, click here!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 03:11 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 251 words, total size 2 kb.

May 02, 2019

When Cover Songs Try Too Hard

Last night I found myself following a pointer gleaned from over at J's place into the darker recesses of Yootoob.  I came hunting for the promise of a good cover song, made likely by the musician being Jonathan Coulton... y'know, the guy who wrote Portal's theme song?  So into this den of iniquity I went, and I found an entire album, entitled Some Guys, of cover songs of '70s hits and ballads.  I began listening... and I found myself confused.

That's not a cover song!  Oh, it is of course... that's Coulton singing instead of Gerry Rafferty... but there's practically no difference between the two.  Is that a cover, or is it a tribute, or just a knockoff?  The entire album is like this, nigh-on note perfect copies of 40-year-old songs.  And I have to ask: why bother?  Don't get me wrong, it's a tour-de-force by Coulton.  The performances are excellent, and if you didn't know better you'd swear you were listening to the originals.
And that's the problem, isn't it?  If I wanted to listen to the original song, I'd just listen to the original, not Jonathan Coulton pretending to be Gerry Rafferty, no matter how good at it he is.

I'm long of the belief that a good cover song must have a healthy dollop of the covering band's flavor on top of the original.  The best example of this that I can come up with off the top of my head is the song "Got The Time".
Classic song by Joe Jackson in his "angry young man" phase, somewhere after punk but before new wave kicked in.  He's long been my favorite musician, and this is easily one of my favorite of his tracks.  Until I heard a cover of it.  
By heavy metal band Anthrax.
Now it's still one of my favorite Joe Jackson songs, I just prefer this version.  It's still the same song, just performed in Anthrax's inimitable style.  It's no slavish copy, it's just a brilliant repurposing.

THAT's what I think a cover song should be like.  Don't copy: adapt.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:20 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
Post contains 353 words, total size 2 kb.

<< Page 1 of 1 >>
25kb generated in CPU 0.05, elapsed 0.1771 seconds.
46 queries taking 0.1496 seconds, 140 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.