I am not really a fan of the original version of this song by Rihanna but I am finding myself enjoying the heck out of covers of it. I posted the Jessie J cover a little while ago (pointing out how a powerful singing voice can do wonders with a song originally sung by a lesser vocalist) but the Bat For Lashes cover got me for a completely different reason. If you listen to the lyrics of We Found Love you notice that it isn’t the most shiny happy song. The problem is that Rihanna doesn’t have the depth of vocal prowess necessary to evoke the dark emotions of the song. That is not a problem for Natasha Khan (the offstage name of Bat For Lashes) who really drives home the maudlin vibe of this song.
To commemorate the passing of music legend Michael Jackson, who died on this day in 2009, I give you this cover of MJ’s “Billie Jean” by Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell. Well-crafted pop confection gives way to a deeply soulful interpretation that sorta suits the subject matter of the song a lot better than the original’s more upbeat, dance inspired style.
It’s always interesting to me to hear how a song originally sung by a less than stellar vocalist sounds when attempted by someone with a real voice. That is why I like the Jessie J live version of Rihanna’s “We Found Love”. Rihanna is a total studio fabrication whose vocals sound like a mix between a robot and a rejected American Idol contestant. Jessie J on the other hand can actually sing. Sure she has a penchant for overindulging on ad libs and runs but when she is under control she is one of the best young voices in music.
Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” is one of the greatest rock songs ever written and one of my favorite songs period. The thing about it though is my favorite version of the song is not the Zeppelin version but the Dolly Parton version…I know it’s downright blasphemous.
Dolly’s “Stairway” is a stripped down version of the song that is far more melancholy and personal sounding (which has a lot to do with Dolly tinkering with not only the arrangement but with the lyrics to make it so) and that intimate vibe is what makes this version of the song for me. Besides even Robert Plant himself bows down to Dolly’s version of the song.
Doesn’t this song make ya just want to run out and get a shaggy haircut, throw on a pair of skinny jeans and a too small ironic t-shirt, and be thoroughly nonplussed about everything? The Vines took one of my favorite rap tunes and flipped it upside down to make an entirely new musical experience. Outkast should be pleased.
Mark Ronson does what Mark Ronson does best on his cover of the Radiohead tune “Just“. Ronson takes this song, that admittedly is one of the best rock songs of the 1990s but is also not the happiest song in existence either, and turns it into a bombastic mix of oldschool (I love his use of the horn section) with just the right pinch of newness thrown in. Ronson’s version (with vocals by Phantom Planet‘s Alex Greenwald) makes you want to get up and dance…Radiohead’s version makes you want to write depressing poetry.
Mark Ronson feat. Alex Greenwald – Just (Radiohead Cover)
Performed during an upcoming appearance on MTV UNPLUGGED, Florence + The Machine’s version of the Otis Redding classic “Try A Little Tenderness” exhibits the trademark ethereal nature that is commonplace on any song that Florence Welch sings without losing any of the ache and heartfelt emotion that is necessary to make the song sound true to its core. The Florence + The Machine episode of Unplugged airs on April 21 on MTV or you can see it now at MTV’s Unplugged site.
I’m not the biggest Katy Perry fan on the planet…I appreciate her place in the world of today’s current crop of pop princesses and I recognize that she is capable of writing catchy little tunes. So while I am not a fan I also don’t have a distaste for her or anything, I just don’t like much of what she puts out. So with that in mind it kinda shocked me that I found myself enjoying her rendition of MGMT’s “Electric Feel”. I think what I dig about it is the rawness of the vocal…Perry performed it as part of BBC’s Radio 1 Live Lounge show (the conceit of which is that performers come on the show to perform their own songs plus covers of other artists songs). Perry slows the song down a bit and tries valiantly to hit every note which she does not succeed at but it is that added flaws in her voice that makes the whole thing really work for me. Katy Perry – Electric Feel