Good Idea, Bad Idea

I have written previously about cover songs, and how awesome they could be.

There is, however, I higher likelihood of a cover song actually turning out worse than the original. This tends to happen more often than not, and is prominently featured at any given local fair.

So, as a continuation from the aforementioned post, I thought I would share with you some lovely (or, perhaps, not so lovely) contrasts of covers.

Good Cover: Disturbed’s version of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” entitled “ISHFWILF”

While I’m not much of a Disturbed fan, I will admit that lead singer David Draiman and company do put out some pretty decent covers, including Tears for Fears’ “Shout” and Genesis’ classic “Land of Confusion.”

Bad Cover: Another effort to reprise a U2 classic, this time from Punk band Jawbreaker. Here is their excruciatingly painful version of “With or Without You,” entitled “With or Without U2.”

This cover is terrible, and I actually like Jawbreaker otherwise. Not only is it a sophomoric bastardization of a classic U2 song, it’s also a terrible conglomerate of other classic songs haphazardly puked together in an obnoxious effort (or lack thereof) of a punk track.

  Good Cover: Iconic super group A Perfect Circle did a musically full cover of Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks.”

The vocals are a bit odd at first, but anyone familiar with A Perfect Circle, TOOL, or just Maynard James Keenan in general should already expect that. They took out the bluesy feel of the song, and replaced it with a more mellow, ethereal sound common for most A Perfect Circle tunes.

Bad Cover: Alt Rock/Industrial Icon Trent Reznor, Indie queen Karen O, and award-winning sound engineer and English musician Atticus Ross all collaborated on a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” and subsequently ruined it.

Between the weird imagery and the dated Industrial sound, I felt like this is a song and video that was played on repeat at a crappy Goth bar in the early 2000’s. I expected a lot more from this power trio, and my hopes were expertly dashed. Well done.

Good Cover: Breaking Benjamin participated on a Queen tribute album back in 2005 entitled “Killer Queen,” and they knocked it out of the park with their rendition of “Who Wants to Live Forever.”

It’s impossible to match the vocals of Freddie Mercury. The man was unbelievable. Frontman Benjamin Burnley knew this, so instead he and the band decided to focus more on the pure emotional power of the song. I’ve got to say, they pulled it off quite well.

THE WORST COVER IN THE HISTORY OF COVER SONGS: Early this year at the Glastonbury Music Festival, Kanye West single-handedly DESTROYED one of rock music’s most iconic songs, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Not only did he just have the recording of intro playing, HE FORGOT THE LYRICS WHILE LIP-SYNCING TO THEM. Then, his pre-pubescent sounding vocals were so terrible, that he literally got booed off of the song a minute into it! As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, he had announced to the crowd at the festival that they were watching the “Greatest Living Rock Star.”

WHAT?!

I’m not 100% sure just how many brain cells one must be lacking to make a statement like that, but clearly West’s well-documented megalomania has solidified the fact that this man is just downright delusional. Even Slipknot and Stonesour frontman Corey Taylor called him out on that blatant lie.

There are a plethora of great and terrible covers out there, and this was just the tip of the figurative iceberg.

I would love to hear your favorite (and least favorite!) covers! Be sure to comment below, follow us on Twitter @The MusicJunkie8, Instagram @ThatMusicJunkie_ , and give us a “like” on Facebook! That Music Junkie

As Cheap As Free

For several years now there has been a constant battle between artists and labels. Money-hungry corporate music labels take a massive percentage of all album sales, while the artists who actually wrote and composed the songs often get a pathetic spiff of each purchase. So, naturally, artists tend to rely heavily on ticket and merch sales.

With the internet becoming what it has,  record labels and musicians also have to deal with people downloading music. I’m sure we all remember the ridiculous Napster/Metallica debacle? I’m not going to get into morals and ethics about whether or not you should or shouldn’t download music, that’s not what this website is about.

Instead, I’m going to highlight the absolute best way to get free music that doesn’t deal with any sort of legalities: iTunes.

Yes, you heard (or rather, read) me correctly, iTunes. The iTunes store has a section that offers free music weekly. I’ve actually discovered a lot of really great music that way. Artists like Tycho, Nneka, The Kills, Jets Overhead, Outasight, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., and so many more!

Recently, indie rock titans Wilco released their latest album “Star Wars” on iTunes.

It's an album that shares it's name with my favorite movie series, and it features a cat. Wilco wins the internet people.

It’s an album that shares it’s name with my favorite movie series, and it features a cat. Wilco wins the internet people.

Wilco has been known to have disputes with record labels. They’ve even written a song about it entitled “I Love My Label.” The band has released music for free before, directly from their website. This time, they took a page out of U2’s book and released “Star Wars” completely free of charge right on iTunes.

Unlike U2, however, they didn't force everyone to automatically download their crappy album

Unlike U2, however, they didn’t force everyone to automatically download their crappy album

There are a number of musicians that are wholly against downloading music. Like Atreyu, for example. But, let’s be honest, Atreyu hasn’t done anything of significance in quite sometime, so maybe that’s a poor example.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, we have artists like Bare Naked Ladies and even Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails) advocating the right to download music and abstain from major corporate labels.

Trent Reznor is a prime example of an artist who released his music for free on his site with the "pay  Whatever You Want" option. IT turned out to be a huge success, and one of his highest grossing albums of recent years.

Trent Reznor is a prime example of an artist who released his music for free on his site with the “pay Whatever You Want” option. IT turned out to be a huge success, and one of his highest grossing albums of recent years.

At the end of the day, whether or not you download music is entirely up to you, but I do encourage my readers to really look into the “Free on iTunes” section. It updates with new music every Tuesday, and they always have a great variety of song styles.

Just remember, support your favorite artists so they can keep putting out the music you love. Go to their shows, promote them on social media, and buy their merch either from their websites or, better, their shows.