Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wicked Game? Really?

Admittedly, this is going to come off as a bit of a rant and I'm totally okay with that. But for serious...why does it seem that everyone is doing a cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game"? Granted, these aren't bands I completely LOVE doing a version of the song, but still, it seems like every time I turn around someone is trying their hand at it. Last year alone, WU LYF and Washed Out each did a cover and just today I stumbled upon Rewards doing their own version -- theirs happens to have Alia Shawkat, better known to everyone as Maeby "Marry Me!" F√ľnke. Still, I just don't get the appeal of the song. I never liked it. The only good part of the song was the video and even that I couldn't stomach for very long. Sure, Helena Christensen in all her gorgeousness is frolicking around practically naked on a beach, but that visual is COMPLETELY ruined by Chris Isaak looking like he barely gives a crap that she's even there all the while he's trying to do his best Roy Orbison. This video is the VERY reason I hate pretty boys. He's not even trying and he gets the girl. Ugh.

Well, at least the good to come out of all this is that it gave me a reason to compile a quick mixtape of cool cover songs. And as an extra bonus, none of them are "Wicked Game."

Please, No more "Wicked Game" covers!

1. Depeche Mode, "So Cruel":  Dave Gahan is one of my all-time favorite lead singers. I've heard many people come close to sounding like him but his charisma is damn near untouchable. Even when he's crooning he sounds like he's trying to seduce the listener. And what's not to like about this- Depeche Mode covering a U2 song off the often-underrated Achtung Baby. You had me at "Depeche Mode."

2. The Twilight Sad, "Never Tear Us Apart": It's no secret how much I love INXS. I've gone on record on numerous occasions saying that Kick was the first tape I ever bought with my own money. Hell, this song made it onto Mixtape For A Crush. And even more recently, this band of Scots made it onto the Anticipation 2012 mixtape. So the inclusion of this cover is pretty much a no-brainer. One of my favorite love songs done by a band with a lead singer whose Scottish accent is so thick that singing along to it actually counts as doing a Sean Connery impression.

3. S.C.U.M., "586": Recently, NME included a CD with an issue of their magazine. It was a track-by-track tribute to New Order's awesome 1983 album, Power, Corruption & Lies with each song done by a different artist. There's some decent stuff on it like Destroyer doing a great version of "Leave Me Alone" and The Golden Filter with an interesting take on "Age Of Consent." S.C.U.M., however, just happens to be one of my favorite recent finds. Hearing their interpretation of "586" made me remember how dark and awesome the original was. Part of me feels guilty for needing that reminder.

4. HEALTH, "Goth Star": A surprisingly straightforward cover of a Pictureplane song. The thing that makes this one enjoyable for me is knowing how downright noisy HEALTH can be and how much restraint they show here.

5. Hank and Cupcakes, "She's Lost Control": Covering Joy Division can always be a little tricky. There are some really good ones (see: NIN's "Dead Souls" and LCD Soundsystem's "No Love Lost") and then some that are just plain offensive (both Paul Young and Fall Out Boy have done versions of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" -- as a sidenote, I just went on YouTube to listen to a bit of FOB's cover and wow...it is just way worse than you can possibly imagine.) Anyway, Hank and Cupcakes keep the spirit of the original while adding just a bit of dark dance pop flare.

6. Kele, "Goodbye Horses": This one is a faithful cover of the Q Lazzarus song. It stands out to me more because Kele (of Bloc Party) put out a solo album, The Boxer, that pretty much sucked. This song almost makes up for how bad that album was...almost.

7. Holy Ghost! featuring Nancy Whang, "I Wanted To Tell Her": Full disclosure- I'm partial to this one because not only is it a cover of a Ministry song, but it's one off of With Sympathy, an album that Al Jourgensen himself wants to forget. It's back when Uncle Al sang in a fake British accent and made cheesy electropop way before he got all pissed off and pretty much created the template for industrial-metal and started dressing like a psycho-goth cowboy. Anyway, Holy Ghost! do some justice to the song right down to its rubbery funk bassline. And also it features Nancy Whang formerly of LCD Soundsystem and currently still one of my indie crushes.

8. Karen O with Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, "Immigrant Song": Not many people know that I used to be a pretty big Led Zeppelin fan. So this one is another no-brainer for me. Also it's a good excuse to include something Trent Reznor had a hand in doing. Add to that the fact that I always pointed out how "Zero" from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' It's Blitz had a guitar riff that sounded like it was lifted straight from NIN's playbook. Put it all together and this seems like a match made in heaven.

9. The Horrors, "Suffragette City": David Bowie covers fall into the same category as Joy Division covers. They can be awesome (see: Bauhaus' "Ziggy Stardust") or they can be a complete and utter desecration (I still haven't forgiven Jakob Dylan for The Wallflowers' horrendous cover of "Heroes.") Luckily, this one falls into the former category.

10. 93 Million Miles From The Sun, "Never Understand": An English shoegaze band covering, well, the quintessential shoegazers, The Jesus And Mary Chain. Not much more to say about this other than to praise its awesomeness. All hail The Mary Chain!

11. Japandroids, "Racer X": Not many bands have the balls to cover Big Black. This Vancouver fuzz-punk duo not only does just that, but they do it like this song was theirs all along. I still remember seeing them do this song live and thinking "HOLY CRAP...It's a Big Black song!" Then realizing that I could be the only one in the audience who knew that fact.

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