26 July 2007

There's Nazis In The Bathroom, Just Below The Stairs

Speaking of Green Day covering songs they really have no business covering, you may have heard their take on John Lennon's "Working Class Hero." To say it makes my ears feel somewhat sad is like saying stepping on a rusty spike makes my foot fell somewhat sore. The song has been taken from the recently released "Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur." The album, which consists entirely of Lennon covers, has good intentions to be sure, and some of the tracks sound promising. The Flaming Lips' take on "(Just Like) Starting Over" being a case in point. But then we have offerings like (I shudder) Avril Lavigne covering "Imagine," like (I quake) Christina Aguilera covering "Mother," like (I gag) Aerosmith covering "Give Peace A Chance." And let's not forget the God awful Green Day cover, or the Black Eyed Peas trying their hand's at "Power to the People."

And so, I offer you here, ten Lennon covers that I actually like. That do not make me want to jam needles into my own ear drums at the mere thought of them.

Jason McNiff : Tommorrow Never Knows
An acoustic rendition of the spazzed out psychadelic Revolver closer. The lyrics are incredible, and perhaps come across more here without that amazingly crazy music to compete with.

Willy Mason : Nobody Told Me
Not hugely different to the original. More restrained perhaps. I just really like Mason's voice.

Jim Reid : And Your Bird Can Sing
Where the original was light and fun, this version is gothic and creepy and really quite sinister. "Look in my direction, I'll be 'round" takes on a different kind of meaning here.

Joseph Arthur : Look At Me
A fuller, more echoey kind of sound. It plays up the drifting, floating quality of the original. Which, actualy, is a favourite of mine, so I'm going to upload that one as well. The original.

Exit Clov : Working Class Hero
Ethereal female vocals, soft at first but that slowly build up into a huge and beautiful climax. Creepy and haunting, this is everything the Green Day version is not.

Feeder : Beautiful Boy
Makes the sweetest (and saddest, given that he recorded so close to his death) Lennon song sound like a pop billboard hit. By rights I should hate this one, but I really, really, don't. It lacks the intimacy of Lennon's original, but it has its charms.

Mark Malcahy : She Said She Said
A minimalistic take, with a delicious kind of dead pan humour suggested by the vocals.

The Painted Faces : A Day In The Life
Awesomely distorted, sounds like its drifting down to you late at night through a barely found station on the am band. Chilling stuff.

Kubb : Mother
Soft, almost hesitant. Instead of trying to emulate the throat tearing intensity of the original's ending, here it is almost a triumphant, stadium like sing a long.

Jeff Mangum and Chris Knox : Mother (live)
And here they do try and match the ending. They don't even come close to the pain and emotion Lennon achieves, but they try their gosh darn hardest, bless them.


Jeremy Edwards said...

I agree with you 100 percent about that Green Day mockery. Worst cover I've heard this year. It's totally unnecessary. I knew there had to be someone else out there who didn't simply accept it. I don't believe Green Day would have chosen, or been offered, that cover if it weren't for "American Idiot." So many people accept that cover of "Working Class Hero" because they now view Green Day as a political band.

mndq said...

Pity a Jim Reid/Revolver fan, and upload the "And Your Bird Can Sing" cover, again? I hate to be a pain, but the cover is impossible to find.