Thank you for those that checked out the epic presentation of us running rown our top 100 cover versions of the 21st century. We're thrilled with it as a celebration of some wonderful contemporary music that pays homage to some legendary songwriters and composers.
As you can see from the names featured throughout, we boasted such an eclectic - and expansive - selection across the musical spectrum of awesome covers which ultimately begs the question 'What makes a good cover?'
It's a fair question. Again, looking at our list, could you really locate the specific rhyme or reason why things were selcted or a specific quality as to why songs were chosen.
Covers seem to have to abide by their own rules. Obviously, covers are presented as openly serving as recreations of someone else's art, which may already be a well-known piece of art in of itself, has to come with a good reason behind it. Why cover something everyone already knows and loves?
I suppose it comes down to the connection we all have with the music we listen to and the ways in which we choose to celebrate that connection. From a listener perspective, I suppose it has to be believable. Episode #40 of the C.E.N.K. podcast made reference to the slew of rock records that cover pop songs in contrast to the slew of pop songs that cover rock records and asked which one was more acceptable. The obvious answer is that rock bands covering pop songs is vastly more acceptable because their efforts are largely taken as being tongue-in-cheek. There's very little that's believable about a teenage pop star singing an anthemic rock number that's older than they are as it's perceived to be a marketing-driven decision lacking any real sense of rebellion.
Believability has to be the key defining factor that makes for a great cover and the lack of it certainly the key defining factor that makes for a bad cover. I have very vivid memories of an episode of American Idol many years ago - a contestant (whose name I do not know) was on stage singing a rendition of Dolly Parton's 'Jolene'. The contestant looked great, sounded great and earned a glowing review from the audience in attendance, and the judges... and I couldn't understand how she had got away with it! 'Jolene' is such a heart-wrenching song. Imagine being so in love with someone, and having such low self-esteem, that you would beg someone not to take the person you love the most from you. And imagine singing that song with a smile on your face. That's all I could see, this big, beaming smile and I couldn't understand how there could be such a lack of a connection with the words she was singing. I suppose songs that have lived for decades can be so ingrained within our consciousness and pop culture that we don't even wonder what they're about anymore.
..."Scaramouch, Scaramouch, will you do the Fandango!" anyone?
That probably serves as our final note about covers. Let us know if there's anything we missed as we'd love to hear your takes on what makes a great or bad cover.
The 4Ever team...
Welcome to 4ever in Electric Dreams which is the virtual HQ and home to our burgeoning podcast network spearheaded by our flagship series, Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind (C.E.N.K.).
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