The Joy of the Unlikely Cover

Girl listeningNot book covers but musical covers.  I am a big fan of genre-busting reworkings of famous songs, like Johnny Cash doing Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode on his American IV album. In recent years entire albums have been produced that pick up this gimmick and run with it, verily like the wind.

Guns ‘n’ Roses have been given the bossa nova treatment (see this earlier post for more details) and Richard Cheese does superbly loungey things to Tool and Snoop Dogg on his albums.  You can also catch classic tracks from the 80s and 90s redone in a jazz vibe.  By far my favourite at the moment is the rockabye baby series of CDs which feature lullaby renditions of songs by such artists as The Ramones, The Cure, Björk, and The Smashing Pumpkins.  So if you’re raising a future headbanger (or Icelandic pop princess?) you might like to check this series out.

What’s your favourite unlikely cover of a song?  If you could have any artist cover any song what weird and wonderful combination would you dream up?

3 thoughts on “The Joy of the Unlikely Cover

  1. donnaccl 24 November 2007 / 8:41 am

    I am currently loving Mark Ronson’s Version – uber producer Ronson adds in some different musos and messes with some modern classics. God put a smile on your face gets the Daptone Horns treatment, there is a lovely version of Britney’s Toxic and The only one I know (feat. Robbie Williams).

    I really like Pulp’s song Bad Cover Version – check out the video on youtube for an array of impersonators singing it a la “We are the World”.

  2. Lucette 25 November 2007 / 10:58 am

    I love Marilyn Manson doing The Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams. Love it!

    I had a vision some years ago of Tilda Swinton, performance art style in front of a microphone sort of dead-pan speaking the lyrics to The Headless Chickens’ “Fire” … “Don’t play with it baby / cos you don’t understand / Don’t touch it now baby / it might burn your hand / I’m on fire…”

    I wonder when one of these brilliant recontextualisations stops being a cover and becomes something quite else … something with subversive intent that makes us look more closely at the original (dodgy?) content and intention of the song.

  3. Jason 17 December 2007 / 12:42 pm

    Speaking of getting the bossa treatment, Dead Kennedys’ “Too drunk too f*ck” is handled quite nicely by Nouvelle Vague. They also do a lovely, dreamy version of the Specials’ “Friday Night, Saturday morning”.

    I also quite enjoyed the Cardigans’ habit of including a Black Sabbath cover at the end of their albums.

    If it’s dodgy content you’re after, then look no further than Richard Cheese’s reworking of 2 Live Crew’s “Me So Horny”. Not quite the lovely jazz album Nana was wanting for Xmas…

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