When I was in college, my friend Bree and I did a weekly radio show for a while on our college’s radio station. Our shows were terrible because we didn’t know how to work the equipment and had really awkward on-air personas and almost always accidentally played a song with profanity and frantically had to shut it off when we realized it wasn’t radio-friendly. But it was really fun, and we did two themed shows that I particularly dug: 90s music and cover songs. The 90s music show had two parts because there are just too many awesome songs to fit into one hour of radio time, but that rant is for another day.
I just bought a Me First and the Gimme Gimmes CD with the FYE giftcard that I had from returning dvds my mom got me for Christmas. It was $5 in the used bin, and it was half off since I also bought a used copy of R. Kelly’s TP.3 Reloaded, which was one of the most solid purchases I’ve made in a while since it includes a bonus dvd of the first five chapters of Trapped In the Closet. That, also, is a rant for another day. But Me First and the Gimme Gimmes has put me in a cover-song mood.
Since I’ve been really bad about updating this blog lately I decided I would do a post and share some of my favorite cover songs. I’ve always loved cover songs, ever since I first started really getting interested in music, back in the days of Napster, Limewire, and Winamp. I just think there’s something so cool about paying tribute to a song by putting your own spin on it, or by rocking it the fuck out in your best impression of the original representation.
Here are some cover songs I totally dig:
“Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Slightly Stoopid
This song was originally written by John Denver in 1966 and was most famously recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary in 1967. Slightly Stoopid covered it in 2003. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes covered it, too, on their first album, Have a Ball (which I now own, thanks to my mom’s questionable taste in movies).
“I’m Real” by The Starting Line
This one is originally by J. Lo and Ja Rule and came out in 2001. I love the original of this song, and this cover is from the first Punk Goes Pop compilation released in 2002. The Starting Line played this cover one of the times I saw them in concert before I was even old enough to drive, and I remember that I broke my hair tie in the “mosh pit” so my hair was all wild and messed up, and some girl was looking at me like I was completely insane because of how enthusiastically I was belting out the lyrics to this song. She obviously wasn’t as serious about The Starting Line as I was in 2002.
“Plateau” by Nirvana
I’ll admit that I’ve never heard the original of this song, which is by The Meat Puppets and was released in 1984. Nirvana made it popular in 1993 when they played it on MTV Unplugged. I learned that it was a cover song while researching it for a poetry compilation project I did in eighth grade. I included this song as a favorite “poem” of mine because I was mildly obsessed with Kurt Cobain, and because I love the line, “who needs actions when you’ve got words?”
“Toxic” by Mark Ronson featuring Tiggers
The original Britney Spears version of this song is one of my guiltiest pop-song pleasures, and this version is so cool. Bree and I accidentally played this on our radio show, not realizing that it dubs in some pretty filthy new lines that are not in the original version. The Mark Ronson cover of this song reminds me of bong hits, jungle juice, and general debauchery at the household of 29 West.
“A Day In the Life” by Easy Star All Stars
So, Easy Star All Stars is a reggae band that does dub style cover albums of iconic rock and roll albums, such as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band and Dub Side of the Moon. This is my favorite of the songs on those two albums, but all of them are cool interpretations of songs that I also love in their original form.
“Half Right” by Jimmy Eat World
This song was originally by Heatmiser, who I had never heard of until Jimmy Eat World mentioned them in a song on their album Futures. This song obviously meant a lot to them, enough for them to write a song about the song. I think recording a cover of it for their Stay On My Side Tonight EP was a cool way to pay tribute, and I just like the song.
“Beautiful Girls” by Bayside
This is another Punk Goes Pop song, from the second compilation released in 2009. The original version is by Sean Kingston and is another one of my guilty pop pleasures. Sean Kingston is such a ridiculous person, and this song is ridiculous. It reminds me of summertime, and the Bayside cover is just so godamn catchy.
See also: the Fleetwood Mac covers that I posted on my last edition of Things I Love Thursday.
What are your favorite cover songs?