Word: fulsome [fool-suhm, fuhl-] adj. 1. offensive to good taste, esp. as being excessive; overdone or gross: fulsome praise that embarrassed her deeply; fulsome décor 2. disgusting; sickening; repulsive: a table heaped with fulsome mounds of greasy foods 3. excessively or insincerely lavish: fulsome admiration 4. encompassing all aspects; comprehensive: a fulsome survey of the political situation in Central America 5. abundant or copious
Birthday: L. Frank Baum (1856), Richard J. Daley (1902), Eddy Arnold (1918), Utah Phillips (1935), Wavy Gravy (1936), Madeleine Albright (1937), Brian Eno (1948), Chazz Palminteri (1952), George Brett (1953), Dan Patrick (1956), David Krumholtz (1978), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (1981)
Standpoint: When a music artist performs a new rendition of another music artist’s established song, it’s called a “cover version.” It’s widely accepted that the cover artist’s rendition is the weaker one based on the assumption the original must be better because it’s just that – the original. However, there are certain artists and songs that go against the grain in that regard. After devising my own list and asking for your suggestions on Twitter and Facebook, I’ve compiled a list of 7 Cover Songs Better Than Their Originals.
- “Hallelujah” – Jeff Buckley (original by Leonard Cohen) – In covering this song, the late Buckley created one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. So well done that most people have no idea that it was first Cohen‘s, whose version, by comparison, seems a little cartoonish.
- “Smooth Criminal” – Alien Ant Farm (original by Michael Jackson) – Standing them side-by-side, there’s really not much of a contest going on here. Jacko‘s always seemed a bit out of place singing manly themes (see “Bad”). Alien Ant Farm appears a little tougher as it turns the song into a wild backyard party.
- “Cortez the Killer” – Built To Spill (original by Neil Young) – I purposely avoid Neil Young. I’ve never been a big fan. I have a few Built To Spill albums and I dig their sound. Until yesterday, I hadn’t heard either rendition. Truthfully, I still don’t know which is actually better. But my friend Ezgi tells me it’s the Built To Spill one and she knows more about music that I do (and probably more than you do), so I’m going with her on this one.
- “Hazy Shade of Winter” – The Bangles (original by Simon & Garfunkel) – To be fair, at the time of its release, Simon & Garfunkel‘s version was probably considered to be rockin’. But The Bangles version, from the movie Less Than Zero, rocks in any era. One of a handful of 80s songs that could work if released today.
- “Right Back (Where We Started From)” – Army Navy (original by Maxine Nightingale) – I’m starting to notice a pattern here. Maybe I have an affinity for covers that take a perfectly good song and turn it into a stomping anthem. Because that’s what Army Navy did with Maxine Nightingale‘s song. I’ll switch it up.
- “Sacrifice” – Sinead O’Connor (original by Elton John) – Similiar to what Buckley did with “Hallelujah” in that O’Connor puts so much emotion into this song that the Elton John version feels weak.
- “Boyz N’ Tha Hood” – Dynamite Hack (original by Eazy E) – This sort of thing was popular about a decade ago. Bands like The Gourds would play singer-songwriter versions of gangsta rap classics. By playing the song like this, Dynamite Hack exposes the lyrics, thus debunking the myth of Eazy-E‘s outstanding lyrical writing prowess.
While doing the searches for these songs on YouTube, I discovered that in most of the cases, the cover was more popular. This is only a small sample of songs that are better that the ones they’re covering. How about you? Got any favorites you think should’ve been included here?
Weekend: Each Friday, I’ll provide you with 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead – my list of events for spending this weekend in Philadelphia as if it was your last:
- Today (05.15.09) – MMA Famous Singles Pub Crawl – The Public House – Tired of spending Friday nights without a significant other. Here’s your chance to do something about it. Meet Market Adventures presents a night of “No Covers. No Driving. No Worries.” Riding around from bar to bar on a bus with complete strangers, drinking and mingling? What ‘s stopping you? Get out there and find someone special. Time: 6:30pm to midnight
- Saturday (05.16.09) – The Shins – Electric Factory – One of the poster-bands for the indie music scene, The Shins hit the stage with a revamped lineup. I’ve seen them a few times and can testify to the fact that James Mercer and Co. put on one mean live show. Time: 8:30pm
- Sunday (05.17.09) – 9th Street Italian Market Festival – South 9th Street from Fitzwater to Federal – In its official press release, the Festival boasts, “halfball, great food, wonderful people and live performances from three stages.” Sounds great. Sign me up. But first, what in the world is halfball? Time: 10am – 5pm
Quotation: A rock show, if it is any good, should make you feel younger. – John Sellers
Gallimaufry: Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, the 10-year old star of Slumdog Millionaire, was ordered out of his home yesterday, just before he watched it bulldozed to the ground. An Indian government official called it “a pre-monsoon demolition drive.” I call it pretty shitty to tear people’s homes down in such an abrupt manner. Apparently, the young star has a trust fund set up for him by the makers of Slumdog, but hasn’t received any assistance yet out of fear the money will end up in the wrong hands. ∞ HELP! Paste Magazine is in danger of having to close up shop. For those of you who don’t all ready know, Paste is one of the best music publications in circulation. Help The Campaign to Save Paste! ∞ Is Jordan coming to the Philadelphia 76ers? Maybe. But not “His Airness“. Eddie Jordan is set to interview with the NBA team to fill their head coach vacancy.
Incoming: Next week’s going to be a good one. I can feel it. All right, that’s it for me. Thanks for reading. Come back Monday for some more.