Cover Your Tracks

Jun 18th, 2010 in Music

We have always enjoyed cover songs.  Sometimes a cover has enthralled because of a great, altered delivery of a great song heard previously.  At other times a cover has entailed a known artist deftly divulging an unknown artist’s worthy song.  And sometimes a cover is simply a joyous homage to a great song.

One of our favorite bands (particularly live), Nada Surf, recently released a new studio record, “If I Had a Hi-fi” (a palindrome), consisting completely of cover songs.   Listen below to their ebullient delivery of one of our favorite Go-Betweens’ songs, Love Goes On, and then check out their cool cover of a Spoon song we had not heard, The Agony of Lafitte.

Nada Surf–Love Goes On

[audio:|titles=03 Love Goes On]

Nada Surf–The Agony of Lafitte

[audio:|titles=07 The Agony of Laffitte]

Amongst our other favorite covers, we have to mention Cat Power and her “The Covers Record” (which recently was sequeled by Ms. Marshall).  Listen below to Cat Power’s great re-invention of the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction and then check out her beautiful rendering of a comparatively unheralded song, I Found a Reason, by Lou Reed while with the Velvet Underground.

Cat Power–Satisfaction

[audio:|titles=01 (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction]

Cat Power–I Found a Reason

[audio:|titles=07 I Found A Reason]

And finally, check out one of our favorite recorded songs of all time:  Andrew Bird’s haunting rendition of the somewhat obscure Handsome Family’s song, Don’t Be Scared.

We hear the mix of all human emotions in this song, from melancholia to joyous wonder.   We sense desultory solitude set against the calling from others and the birth of new days.  Were it not for the phone call, we might have inferred Paul in a Roman cell.   Bird has delivered one of the great covers of all time.  Check it out below.

Whenever Paul
thinks of rain
swallows fall
in a wave
and tap
on his windows
with their beaks

And when Paul
thinks of snow
soft winds blow
’round his head
and the phone
rings just once
late at night
like a bird
calling out,
“Wake up, Paul.
Don’t be scared,
don’t believe you’re all alone.”

“Wake up, Paul,”
whisper clouds rolling by
and the seeds

falling from the branches
and they’re out from the branches
and they’re
falling from the branches of the trees

out from the branches
falling from the branches
and they’re
falling from the branches
of the trees”

Andrew Bird–Don’t Be Scared

[audio:|titles=06 Don’t Be Scared]

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