SECOND TIME'S THE CHARM
Last Updated on Friday, 10 May 2013 03:13
COVERS THAT ARE BETTER THAN THE ORIGINALLindsey Sirling and Pentatonix - "Radioactive"
By Sierra Patheal
Adding a cello spices up even the dullest of songs. Glee and 2 cellos proved it with MJ’s “Smooth Criminal,” and Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix take it to the next level with Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive.” The Imagine Dragons’ music video is awesome—I love the idea of Care Bears fighting to the death—but the song itself can get repetitive. In the cover, Lindsey’s violin and Kevin’s cello are just as prominent as the vocals, and they add a whole different strand of meaning to the song. Every time I hear Imagine Dragons’ version, I have to go listen to the cover—which, considering how often it’s been playing lately, means I’ve heard this song a lot. Amazingly, I’m still not tired of it.
The Goops - "Build Me Up Buttercup"
By Michael Wood
“Build Me Up Buttercup” in its original form by The Foundations is absolutely filled with that classic Motown sound. Smooth, yet catchy, and driving with tons of energy, it embodies the soul sound of that time. But what can improve on that? Maybe the only type of music that embodies those qualities just as much as Motown, girl punk. I discovered this classic track by The Goops during an otherwise culturally vacant hour and a half where I sat down and watched Kevin Smith’s Mallrats. It’s rare to see a cover of an already great song, done in such a straightforward manner, that still makes for a better song than the original. But god damnit, when you’ve got the style of The Goops, you’ll make it happen.
Biz Markle - "Benny and the Jets"
By Connor O'Brien
I know everybody loves Elton John, but he’s got so many hits, they can’t all be the best versions of the songs. Biz Markie’s cover of “Bennie and the Jets” is better than the original. Biz makes this song his own. He sang this when he appeared on Chris Rock’s show . When he sings, his eyes roll back into his head, putting real effort into the song, not sitting on a piano made of gold, wearing purple oversized sunglasses, and farting out verse after verse. His voice cracks, but it shows that he is human, and humans are cool, y’know? By the end of the song, body twerking and convulsing, he screeches falsetto “Bennie’s. He is the bomb, he was in Men in Black II.
Faye Wong - "Dreams"
By John Villanueva
I love The Cranberries enough as it is. Sometimes though, there are covers that are capable of completely blowing away the original. This is one of those. First off, it’s in Chinese. I have no grasp of the Chinese language. Also, the song has the exact same instrumentals as the original. It’s basically the same song with Chinese in it. Really the only reason I like it is because there’s a YouTube video of a Chinese guy yelling “Holy Shit” while looking at a car on fire while listening to this Chinese version. His remedy to witnessing the terror of destruction and carnage...to turn the music up louder. So really, I only like the song because there’s a video of a Chinese guy freaking out while listening to this.
Social Distortion - "Don't Think Twice"
By Michael Wood
Ah, there’s nothing better in this world than a folksy ballad about failed love. Actually, I can think of about a dozen things better than that, including cheesy bread, hookah, and Steve Buscemi’s face. But anyway, that doesn’t detract from Social Distortion’s kickass rockabilly style cover of Bob Dylan. Tired of simple chord progressions, with heartfelt lyrics? Well then let Social Distortion throw in some good ol’ fashioned punk energy with the rockabilly stylings of Mike Ness’ guitar playing and watch this boring song take on new life. The lyrics are universal but not with some proto-hipster guitar accompaniment. I don’t hate Bob Dylan, but Social Distortion made this song listenable by adding some true energy and style to the tune. Thanks Social D!
Lauryn Hill - "Can't Take My Eyes Off You"
By Vincent Chavez
I don’t care how much you love Frankie Valli and the Four Season’s original version; Miss Lauryn Hill changed the game with this song. Her cover trades in horns and strings for funky beatboxing and doo-wop style back-up vocals. The difference is a perfect balance of old and new styles. Hill manages to be both hip and soulful, funky and fresh, retro and modern. And that chorus. Hill calmly belts it and effortlessly commands you to love her, and you do because you are only human.
Robert Glasper - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
By John Villanueva
Since this is my last issue of The Union Weekly, I’m going to say it, I fucking hate Nirvana. However, Robert Glasper’s version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is not only bearable but far surpasses (at least in my opinion) the original. Soothing the roaring energy of the original, this jazz cover includes everything you need to make a song great. Fantastic piano playing, Chris Dave and his offtime percussive madness, and Casey Benjamin on a vocoder. What isn’t made immediately cool by a vocoder? I know most of you will not agree with this, but you didn’t write anything, so boo-hoo. Also, I hate dubstep. If a butt could poop butts, the pooped butt’s poop would be the equivalent of dubstep. That is all.
John Lennon - "Stand by Me"
By Gabe Ferreira
I usually despise artists and musicians that build a career on someone else’s creation, but every now and then I come across a song, painting, or design so majestic that it transcends the need for creativity. Such was the case with “Stand By Me,” a song I thought to be written by John Lennon up until four or five months ago. “Hey, have you seen that video in which people from all over the world sing John Lennon’s ‘Stand By Me?’” I asked. My friend, a music know-it-all, was deeply offended by the argument, and replied: “I just hate people who still don’t know that Ben E. King wrote that.” Her aggressiveness didn’t change much: John Lennon’s cover is still much better. Go listen to it, it will bring happiness to your day.