Cover Me Monday: Postmodern Jukebox

This week’s installment is going to be a little different. Instead of focusing on a cover of a single song I figured I would put the spotlight on a band instead. Postmodern Jukebox, if you have not heard of them, is an assemblage of really talented singers and musicians who get organized by bandleader/pianist Scott Bradlee to perform re-imaginings of songs ranging from today’s biggest pop hits to classic pop from the last few decades.

When I find myself perusing Youtube I almost always end up going down a rabbit hole on Bradlee’s YT page. In addition to Postmodern Jukebox he also is behind the Saturday Morning Slow Jams which takes cartoon theme songs and re-works them to be soulful jams. He also has this collaboration with a sad singing clown named Puddles that is just wonderfully odd to say the least.

But is is Postmodern Jukebox that really grabs me. The clever way that they take a pop song and re-arrange it to fit into a different era’s musical sound is really cool and makes their covers so much more than just a different version of a song you may know. Postmodern Jukebox turns these tunes into totally different songs that sometimes bear zero resemblance to the originals as the above video of a medley of their songs that was performed at the offices of Cosmopolitan demonstrates. I figured I would single out a few songs that have become favorites of mine.

On this cover of the Maroon 5 song “Maps“, what was a very current sounding bit of sanitized and well-produced blue-eyed soul/pop gets flipped on its head and becomes a 70s soul inspired arrangement that gets a huge lift from the surprisingly powerful vocals of singer Morgan James (homegirl blew the roof off the buildings with that one high note she hit). When Postmodern Jukebox is done with “Maps” it sounds more like something Amy Winehouse might have released than it does a Maroon 5 song.

Mazel Tov! I can envision all the most happening Bar Mitzvah’s playing this Klezmer version of the Jason Derulo dance hit “Talk Dirty“. Never in a million years would I have ever thought to do a song like this in a Yiddish style but somehow it works.

And now we come to my favorite song by Postmodern Jukebox: a cover of The Neighbourhood song “Sweater Weather” done in the style of Vintage French Pop as popularized by the legendary Edith Piaf. This one is my favorite just because of the drastic change in musical styles from the original to the cover and for how excellently singer Cristina Gatti nails her Piaf vocal homage. This song is so offbeat and slyly cool that I couldn’t help but love it to pieces.

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