I love covers. More specifically, I love covers that take an original song and change it to make it something completely different. I see little point in covering a song in the style of the original. I’ve been over this before, but my point is: why wouldn’t I just listen to the original?
There’s an exception to this rule: jukebox musicals – Broadway shows that use existing songs. I’m talking about shows like Mamma Mia (Abba), the Jersey Boys (Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons), and We Will Rock You (Queen). In these instances, I’m more accepting of straight-up tribute versions… even if lyrics get changed to help the plot, I still want to hear something close to the original song.
This weekend, we went to see Rock of Ages in Ottawa, and, to put it bluntly and obviously, the show rocked! The show was an extended trip down memory lane for me, with authentic covers of all the ‘80s hairbands my sister subjected me to back in my adolescent years; music that I now love for the sheer sentimental value of it. But beyond that, the show was FUNNY. I had no idea what to expect going in – I’ve never watched the movie version – but I haven’t laughed that much in a long time.
What a great way to spend Saturday afternoon: fondly remembered music, a simple but fun storyline (with a talented cast), and brilliant if somewhat raunchy humour… and all in the company of four of my best friends! The only complaint I have is that, with 30 or so songs featured in the show, many of them got used in medleys or truncated for time. It would have been nice to hear full versions of these songs – but I suppose that would make the show overly long.
By the end, all I could think was “Damn, my sister would LOVE this show.” Not sure if the movie version does it justice, but if it has a fraction of the humour from the stage show I’ll be impressed.
As for non-Broadway covers, I’ll stick with ones that change things up and offer something new…or better yet, ones that take a song I dislike and turn it into one I can’t get out of my head. Needless to say, that doesn’t happen very often. But it happened this morning when I heard a cover of Thrift Shop by Scott Bradlee. It’s absolutely brilliant, especially since I can’t stand the original by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Check out the cover!