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.
Aretha Franklin joins the millions of YouTubers around the world who have made cover versions of the Adele hit “Rolling In The Deep” as part of her upcoming cover record, DIVA CLASSICS where The Queen of Soul sings songs made famous by other musical divas.
It’s been a while since I did one of these but this seemed like a good time and song to do one since I had been listening to the remix (i guess that is what you’d call it) of “Life Round Here” by James Blake that he released with hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper and planned on posting it as a Shuffling On My iPod entry. But then I heard the cover by Ellie Goulding and Angel Haze.
I have been in a bit of Burt Bacharach mood musically lately. Nothing soothes the savage beast like the polished production of the Bacharach oeuvre and while going through my iTunes collection of Bacharach songs I have listened to many of the same song being interpreted by different artists and it is something how Bacharach’s songs lend themselves to reinvention without ever losing that quality that makes them so recognizable as a Bacharach song. One song in particular that I have been having an auditory duel with is “I Say A Little Prayer”.
Now I know what you are thinking…who in the right mind would waste their time covering Technotronic‘s “Pump Up The Jam” of all songs? And their is no way it could possibly be any good, right?
Well the cover artists are a jazz trio from Canada called The Lost Fingers and they made the overly produced, synthesized dance hit from the 90s into a swinging, full-bodied jazzy barn burner that would get the flappers flapping in any speak-easy in the 1920s.
It has been a while since I have done one of these but the cover of this song inspired me to pull the old Cover Me Monday out of the mothballs. And don’t be alarmed this isn’t the Rick Astley song (that catchy bit of pop trifle is actually “Never Gonna Give You Up“) and you are not being Rickrolled either. Scout’s honor.
One of the crowning achievements of the Holland-Dozier-Holland production team and a bit of a departure from the established Supremes sound, this is one of my favorite songs by the Supremes as well as one of my favorite Motown songs ever.
Lake Street Dive is a band that is probably as unconventional musically as the name they have chosen (I always end up referring to them as Lake Shore Drive). The group is made up of a foursome of classically trained musicians who blend pop, jazz, folk, and soul into an eclectic mixture that incomprehensibly ends up working sublimely. One of those moments of auditory perfection is on the group’s cover of the Jackson Five classic “I Want You Back”.
This version, recorded on a street corner in the Brighton area of Boston, is just amazing from the arrangement to the incredibly soulful vocals of lead singer Rachael Price, to the astounding way that the group can somehow sound so good while playing an unplugged set outside in the middle of nature, traffic and everything else.
Pumped Up Kicks is a snazzy little tune that tends to get stuck in my head for days on end every time I hear. Well now I am going to have to make the mental decision of which version I will be hearing…the original Foster The people song or the Usher cover that he did during an appearance on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge. Usher add some very usher like flourishes to it that did nothing to ruin the song but instead made it just different enough to be interesting. There is nothing worse than a beat for beat copy when someone decides to cover another artists song.
Usher – Pumped Up Kicks