I used to be dead set against all covers of all songs. In high school, I got into a debate ("argument" would be too strong a word) about it with the art teacher, whose position was that it some ways, there are no truly new ideas.
(Before you ask--and I know you're thinking it--Weird Al doesn't do covers. Unless you count his polka medleys, but those are so ridiculous as to also fall under the umbrella of parody.)
I still think most covers out there are pretty derivative, but there are some that are truly excellent. For instance, did you know that Aretha Franklin's "Respect" is a cover? Otis Redding did it first, and let me tell you, it is not in the same universe of good (also, it just doesn't have the same kick to it coming from a dude).
But there are a couple of covers I have in mind that are not only pretty fantastic on their own merits, but give me new appreciation for the originals--one version makes me love two songs, basically.
The first is Stevie Wonder's "We Can Work it Out," which is probably not everyone's cup of tea. But I love because it's just so . . . exuberant!
Before I started listening to Stevie's version, I liked the Beatles' version fine, but it didn't really stand out from the pack of Beatles songs. But now, the differences between it and the cover bring out the elements of it that are really interesting that I never really noticed before.
More embarassingly, I also really like the David Cook version of "Billie Jean." You know. . . . American Idol #7.
(Try to ignore the audience, who can't figure out that they should be neither clapping nor doing the arms-waving thing.) Sure, it's angsty, but it's a pretty angsty song when you think about it. And I suppose that's what my point is: when you're presented with a really different version of a song you know well, it makes you think about it anew.
(I guess this post was pretty dry. I don't feel very funny today, I just felt like telling you about some songs. Sorry.)
22 hours ago