When Cover Songs Are Better Than the Original

When Cover Songs Are Better Than the Original
Yeah I bought this song. I effing love it.

I am an avid Spotify user and sometimes my ears are greeted with the pleasant sounds of a song or a band that I have never heard before. Sometimes I hear a song that is decades years old and it is new to me. I become disappointed in myself when this happens because I am a proud music nerd.

Seriously, I am, I can name all of the members of N*Sync and I hate N*Sync. You might say hate is too strong a word, no...no it is not. I can name them all though and it is a cross I bear. It is out there now, if only there was a backspace or delete button then I could pretend like it never happened.

As usual I have digressed...

As I was listening to one of my supposed custom stations a song by Redd Kross came on. I heard of them before but I never heard one of their songs. Technically, I still haven't because the song I heard was Yesterday Once More from The Carpenters cover album If I Were A Carpenter. As a music nerd I needed to hear the original, so I looked it up. It is a decent song but I liked the cover more. It rocks a little bit more and is fun to sing.

While on this album, I also quite enjoy Sonic Youth's cover of Superstar more than I like The Carpenters' version. Maybe I do not like The Carpenters so much as I like covers of their songs.

It got me thinking of other covers that are better than the original in my opinion. I am sure this one comes to most minds right away. Johnny Cash's version of Hurt makes Nine Inch Nails version sound like a happy song about cotton candy and bacon wrapped bacon. Even Trent Reznor said that Cash's version brought tears to his eyes and that the song no longer belonged to him. Not only is it solid praise but it is the truth. Johnny stared into the eyes of his own mortality and spit in its face.

I am a fan of David Bowie, he put on one of the best shows I have ever seen, but Nirvana's cover of The Man Who Sold the World is so great. It is one of my favorite performances from the Unplugged concert. Kurt's voice gives me chills, when he sings it is a mix off agony and pain with a touch of joy. Joy because he is bleeding out through his music. This song sounds like it was made for Kurt.

One of Kurt's former bandmates, Dave Grohl, has also performed a song that is better than the original. While Foo Fighters have made some pretty rad covers, their version of Baker Street rocks the quake marks in my skull. Gerry Rafferty made an unforgettable song but the Foos made it cool to listen to. It is loud and raucous and can only be turned up to 11 for proper listening.

Ben Folds has done a cover of a song I hate. The cover makes it fucking awesome. Ben Folds did a cover of Ke$ha's Sl3@zy. I can only guess that is how she spells sleazy because using actual letters is so 1990s. Ben made a fun song to sing along with. It is a ridiculous song about not liking guys with nice cars and jobs. I think, I mean that what song leads me to believe.

"I don't need you and your brand new Benz or your bougie friends..."

Folds also says Immaget better too. Damnit, Ke$ha!

The Maccabees cover of Boom Boom Pow is just better because it is not The Black Eyed Peas.

Local H does a cover of Brittany Spears' Toxic on their live album. It is crazy how spot on it is. They are able to repeat the sounds of the song perfectly. See also, Fountains of Wayne's cover of ...Baby One More Time which is a lot more tortured than it's Britney bitch's original.

They Might be Giants may be one of my favorite bands but also did an awesome cover of Chumbawumba's Tubthumping. You can find it on their album Album Raises New and Troubling Questions. They originally did it for the Onion's AV clubs covers series and it is fun in true TMBG form.

Okay I am going to cut myself off here. I could go on and on and probably write a book. Look for a future post of covers that should not ever have been made. Are there songs you feel like should have been mentioned? Feel free to add them in the comments. Also the big pay off for reading this post? Well it is me covering Mr. Jones by Counting Crows. My apologies to you and Adam Duritz.

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Tags: cover songs, Music, songs

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