In which I mock people who dislike a certain type of music.
by, 18th August 2011 at 03:49 PM (336 Views)
Yes, this is the first in a series of "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING SILLY PEOPLE"
Well not, really. But it's close.
The topic at hand today: people who dislike covers.
There seems to be this sort of hipster trend (or always has been, but not necessarily hipsters) of being pretentious and disliking covers of a song. And I never understood this.
I love it when people cover songs -- it brings out something new in the music. Whether it's a reorchestration of the song like this eerie cover of Nirvana's Heart-Shaped Box, or a mash-up of two different songs together, like this one between The Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of These) and The White Stripes' Seven Nation Army. These cover songs add a new dimension to the music that was previously not there.
This is not to say that covers are automatically better (see William Shatner's cover of the Beatles' Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds for an example of bleeding eardrums), but to say that a song is automatically bad just because it's a cover is a bit short-sighted and a bit pretentious.
Part of this has to do with the fact that people have a bias towards liking things that they hear initially (I still prefer Credence Clearwater Revival's version of Proud Mary to Tina Turner's). So when a cover emerges that you like, you take a negative opinion on it because "it's not like the version that I love." But this fails to explain why people have such animosity towards cover versions of songs.
I think it's more due to the fact that our society seems to emphasize originality and intellectual property as some of the tenets of popular media. And both of these have their place. But popular media is an evolving entity, every part is building off of the previous part. Rock n' Roll, if you go back far enough, is based on equal parts African songs and classical music (see Bettye LaVette's cover of Ringo Starr's It Don't Come Easy showing how rock 'n' roll is based on blues, which itself is a combination of white gospel music and slave songs). And with each innovation, it's important to look back and see where it came from -- and this sometimes requires a reinterpretation of the music of the past.
So I leave you with my favorite cover -- Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis's cover of Smokey Robinson's Cruisin'.
Have a good one everybody.
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