Cycling Music Styles (Or Disco and Hair Bands Live Again!)


Out 20 2006, 6h53

In which I ramble a lot on old music, my own observations and opinions, and generally show my age.

The first thing I noticed was all the cover songs. They're literally Everywhere. Being old-ish, I tend to notice recycled songs from 20 yrs or so ago.

Newer bands are covering songs from the 70s and 80s like there's no tomorrow. I honestly don't ever remember a time when this was a prevalent as it seems to be right now. Limp Bizkit was probably the first one that really caught my notice, with their cover of Behind Blue Eyes (which I thought they did a good job with, amazingly enough). Mostly, that one caught my attention because it happened to be my favorite song by The Who, but there's tons and tons of others. Evanescence has even done a cover of Enter Sandman, of all things. That one, I'm kinda scared to listen to, because I'm not sure there's anyone alive who can do it justice beyond Metallica themselves. I don't picture Amy Lee having the sort of voice to carry that off. At all. But I could be wrong. It's been known to happen.

Nouvelle Vague also did a nice job with their reworking of I Melt with You. I have to admit, a lot of these covers have surprised me with how well they've been redone. Normally, I'm not a big fan of cover songs. Mostly because so many of them frankly suck. It's really hard, in my opinion, to match what the original artist did with the songs. Especially with songs I consider classics and remember really well from their first time around.

I loathed, beyond all reason, the Dixie Chicks cover of Landslide. They should step away from Stevie Nicks' and Fleeetwood Macs' music. No, really. Because they'll never manage to match that, much less top it. Really, the country singers in general - much as I actually like some of them - should stay away from pop and rock covers. It rarely works out well, though I have to admit liking the bits of .Cherokee Nation that Tim McGraw used in Indian Outlaw. Almost as much because I wasn't sure I might not be the only person who remembered that song as that he did a decent job with it.

Surprisingly, though, what I've heard recently I actually like. Either these bands are getting better at this sort of thing, or I'm getting less critical in my old age. Somehow, I think it's a lot more likely to be the former than the latter.

Still, it amuses me to see all this come back around into the music world. Even if I don't believe a lot of it technically actually left. Just sort of adopted an alias and melted into the background. But, for all the jokes and derision heaped onto some of the hair bands of the 80s, guess what? From what I'm seeing, they're baaaaack.

They don't call themselves that, of course, but the sound is the same. Groups like Nickleback, Dashboard Confessional, and Hinderhave music that could've been done by Def Leppard, Guns N' Roses, or Aerosmith. They're not the only ones, of course. If I sat down and really thought about it, I could come up with tons more. But I'm lazy, and those are the ones that came most immediately to mind.

It doesn't stop there, either. Dancer In The Fire could've just as easily been sung by Jackson Browne. As could a lot of the stuff by James Morrisonand James Blunt. And, as I was listening to Stockholm Syndrome a couple of nights ago, it hit me that there was something really familiar-sounding going on there. It took me a second, but I realized that I was getting a huge Queen vibe from them. They don't pull it off with the same flair, but it's very much there. Or tries to be. Along with more than a slight hint of ELO.

Like I said, I'm highly amused by all this. Now, I'm just waiting for someone to remake the Saturday Night Fever Album. Wearing Devo's flowerpot hats on their head while they're doing it, most likely, because I know it's coming. And you want it. You know you do.


  • Sarey

    Landslide is a much better cover of Stevie Nicks. Nowhere near as obnoxious and awful sounding. They really did it justice. Oh, and Dancing In The Moonlight is a gorgeous cover of Thin Lizzy. I highly recommend them both! And I agree with you about everything else too.

    Out 20 2006, 18h06
  • Risty

    Paul Brady doesn't quite count, I think - because he's only about ten years younger than Jackson Browne and was trying all along for that sound, I think. But still! There are some awesome covers of old punk songs around - nouvelle vague's 'too drunk to fuck' (which was the Dead Kennedy's originally, I think?) stands out, but I remember seeing at least another, too. Ooh, and the Scissor Sisters did Take Your Mama Out, and that was awesome. Even if it's Elton John. But hell... music in the 70s and 80s rocked. Much better than the hairstyles and the clothes... if only we could pick and choose what comes back...

    Out 20 2006, 22h17
  • beaubier

    I'm generally not a huge fan of covers myself. There have been a few freakishly decent ones, I admit (I'm REALLY scared that Limp Bizkit was mildly successful... I hate them hate them hate them they SUCK LIVE) of late. However, I find the Dixie Chicks offensive no matter what they do-- so doing Stevie Nicks is just... sick. And I agree about Tim McGraw and the Paul Revere and the Raiders bit. I remember when that came out I was going that sounds so familiar!! And when I sorted it out I had to admit... it was pretty cool. But about Muse. I DEFINITELY agree that they are Queen like in multiple ways-- particularly in the scary talent that almost shouldn't belong to them department. Only they're less cool than Queen... but being cool isn't cool now like it was then. So yeah... anyhow... this has been a pointless ramble in your journal!

    Out 21 2006, 19h09
  • cloudy_skies

    I kind of agree with you but kind of don't. First of all I think it's absolutely scary that Evanescence covered Enter Sandman, as if having to listen to James Labrie sing the song wasn't bad enough. (not that I don't like his voice, I just don't think he has the right voice to sing a Metallica song.) And yes, hair bands and disco seem to be coming back. (look at Velvet Revolver and the fact that Madonna is popular again.) But I don't really see what the bands you mentioned have to do with Aerosmith, GNR and Def Leppard. Dashboard Confessional started out as a solo project with all acoustic songs, and even today their sound still has a bit of the acoustic sound in it (such as Stolen and Dusk and Summer off their latest album). I don't see how that has anything to do with, say a song like Walk This Way or Welcome to the Jungle. Nickelback I can kind of understand, although I kind of see the lead singer as a more poppy version of James Hetfield rather than Steven Tyler. As for Muse, I don't really see the connection with Queen except for maybe Matthew Bellamy's voice. I see them more as a heavier, not as experimental version of OK Computer-era Radiohead with a little Porcupine Tree thrown in. And you forgot to mention Korn covering Another Brick in the Wall, or Green Day playing We Are The Champions at live 8 and their concerts for the American Idiot tour. (I must be the only one who thinks that version was fantastic despite the fact that Billie Joe is no Freddy Mercury or Brian May.)

    Out 22 2006, 17h06
  • Cad27

    Like Reenie said- which I picked up on during the entry - and that you may not be aware of is that Nouvelle Vague aren't actually an original band; everything they do is covered. Too Drunk To Fuck was the first one they released; I think they're two albums in now. They wander a bit in quality, on the second one, but The Guns of Brixton, originally by The Clash is probably still my personal favourite. Couple of other random notes; - I really like Amy Lee's voice, but just honestly cannot stand to listen to it in the context of Evanescence music. - James Blunt and James Morrison are like the happy and sad parts of siamese twins split from birth, I'm completely convinced. - Whip it! Whip it good! God, I love that videoclip and their hats! Their HATS! -Did you ever hear of what is occasionally called The String Section Quartet but also sometimes just called The String Quartet? They basically went through (a few years back? I think it must be) and did a bunch of Best Of type albums for rock bands, played (as you'd expect) on a String Quartet. They go through YSI fairly regularly, and I'll say snag some, if you can (although I'll definitely include a couple of them in my covers post) Ever catch The Vines doing Paint It Black? I wasn't a huge fan but the String Quartet NAILED that one, and did it on the Vines album so it counts. I actually make it something of a sport to collect good covers (Because, you know, collecting the other kind is [i]weird[/i], man) and I'm totally plotting out another music pimpage post, which I shall do in the near future. Possibly even tonight, but you never know. God, me, ramble? Who'da thunk?

    Out 24 2006, 12h19
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