Saturday, January 13, 2007

Favorite Covers 1

For me, a perfect cover song takes a song you've dismissed and an artist you've dismissed and combines them in a way that deepens your appreciation for one or both. Or that convinces you that maybe there are tons of kick-ass pop songs and pop singers floating around in the ether.

Here is a list of some of my favorite covers.

In Your Eyes, Ben Harper.

This live acoustic cover of the Peter Gabriel song combines the best elements of a perfect cover:
- it's live
- the artist is taking the source material seriously
- the audience sings part of the song the artist does not. Around the 4:14 mark, the audience starts to sing "in your eyes" during the chorus and it's powerful. He pauses and says "thanks" to the crowd.

I am not a Ben Harper fan. He has a great voice and great delivery, but unfortunately he's not as great a songwriter as he is an artist. The Bob Marley covers he does and "In Your Eyes" are great showcases of his talent. His own songs never rise to the

More Than This, Charlie Hunter Quartet featuring Norah Jones.

We fell in love with Norah Jones because of this song. We even went to see her at her first non-SX show in Austin when she was completely unheard of and opening for an unheralded indie John Mayer at the Austin Music Hall in 2002, I suppose.

Charlie Hunter is one of my favorite artists and performers. He plays an 8 stringed instrument that is both guitar and bass, and we love bringing friends to see him for the first time when they try to figure out where the other musician is.

The beat is slower than the Roxy Music original and the instrumentation is tropical. Jones's voice is soft and rounded. Her delivery makes the song an incredibly romantic love song.

It's really lovely.

Let Me Love You, Charlotte Church.

This song, originally performed by Mario, was an R&B throw-away. Charlotte Church performed it on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge, and made me appreciate her matured sound and this song. It's among my most played of the Fall.

Munich, Corinne Bailey Rae

I have already written about this song, and I have sent it to just about everyone.

The original song by the Editors is on my best of 2006 list. When they perform the song, it sounds slightly menacing. Rae's delivery makes the song deeply intimate.

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