Author Topic: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song  (Read 5795 times)

Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2020, 11:03:41 AM »
The earliest one that comes to mind is Tori Amos’s Smells Like Teen Spirit.

That's the one i was thinking of too
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vB2c7_vyBSM

Also there was Sinead O'Connor doing All Apologies a couple of years later
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEVu1tcUGnc

Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2020, 11:14:25 AM »
I blame MTV’s ‘Unplugged’ series back in the nineties for encouraging This Sort of Thing, although it’s the Radio 1 Live Lounge thing that really seemed to popularise that specific style of cover version.

The Mollusk

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Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #32 on: November 05, 2020, 11:46:00 AM »
I also assumed that there would be loads of parody ones out there by now. E.g. slow, whispery ‘Ebeneezer Goode’, ‘Killing In The Name Of’ and so on. But no, I can’t seem to find anything like this either.

A friend of mine is aiming to put together a big compilation of mates recording exactly this type of parody stuff, which I intend to contribute to. I'm thinking of doing something like "Hybrid Moments" by Misfits. I'll deffo post the results here when it surfaces.

buzby

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Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #33 on: November 05, 2020, 02:59:52 PM »
Was that Bizarre Love Triangle cover by Frente! an early example?

Can't really remember it but remember that I hated it.
Yes, and you are correct, it was fucking shit. Nouvelle Vague have also covered it too.

Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #34 on: November 05, 2020, 03:36:08 PM »
I've always liked Nina Gordon;s cover of Straight Outta Compton, but it falls into this category I guess.


Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2020, 04:14:52 PM »
And Ben Folds with Bitches Ain't Shit

I like that Frente New Order cover. It sounds quite unforced and natural in its transforming a dancey banger into an acoustic ballad

Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #36 on: November 05, 2020, 04:47:29 PM »
And Ben Folds with Bitches Ain't Shit

I like that Frente New Order cover. It sounds quite unforced and natural in its transforming a dancey banger into an acoustic ballad

The lyrics of Bizarre Love Triangle go really well with the acoustic treatment. Barney Sumner had his own go at it in 2009 but he obviously doesn't have the vocal chops to pull it off.

Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #37 on: November 05, 2020, 06:04:50 PM »
John Lewis Christmas Advert 2020
https://youtu.be/vpYMXjVzC04

Dr Syntax Head

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Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2020, 06:25:13 PM »
John Lewis Christmas Advert 2020
https://youtu.be/vpYMXjVzC04

The comments are great. It did it's job then.

Radio 1 Live lounge are truly to blame for all this stuff. Genius, a acoustic indie band doing a mainstream pop song. I mean it's not like mainstream pop songs have actual chord progressions that can be easily translated to a acoustic guitar. It's just extremely lazy music that goes down well at open mic nights. Literally anyone with a voice and knows 4 chords can do a folky cover of almost any 'standard' type song. For me it's just tedious in the extreme. And you can't escape it, because it's forced into your face all day, every day, everywhere.

Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #39 on: November 05, 2020, 07:57:25 PM »
James Dean Bradfield contributed to this as well when Nicky Wire and Sean Moore would bugger off for 20 minutes halfway through gigs and leave him to do his acoustic set, and he'd usually chuck a cover like Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head or something.

I don't know about Raindrops, but his acoustic cover of Last Christmas DEFINITELY falls into this. I like it though.

And of course, the Manics also contributed to the slew of "Umbrella" covers.

Captain Z

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Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #40 on: November 05, 2020, 08:39:51 PM »
A friend of mine is aiming to put together a big compilation of mates recording exactly this type of parody stuff, which I intend to contribute to. I'm thinking of doing something like "Hybrid Moments" by Misfits. I'll deffo post the results here when it surfaces.

Please do. Like I say, I assumed it would be an idea already well explored 5 years ago, but surely it’s destined to get a good few laughs.

Better Midlands

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Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #41 on: November 05, 2020, 08:45:25 PM »
I've always liked Nina Gordon;s cover of Straight Outta Compton, but it falls into this category I guess.

Pheobe Ryan - Ignition/Do You Like Drugs medley doesn't quite fit in here - but it is ace.

purlieu

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Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #42 on: November 05, 2020, 08:55:05 PM »
Was this 1999 Britney/Travis axis one of the first? 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQZrbiYJ02U
Nah, because it's a silly live radio thing they did. A certain admiration for a well-written pop song combined with an awareness that their version would be unusual (by 1999 standards). The Mark & Lard backing vocals add to the general sense of whimsy. It's almost the polar opposite of the advert songs, because it doesn't try to be 'deep'.

James Dean Bradfield contributed to this as well when Nicky Wire and Sean Moore would bugger off for 20 minutes halfway through gigs and leave him to do his acoustic set, and he'd usually chuck a cover like Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head or something.
Again, I think there's a certain level of respect for songwriters there that isn't present in the modern[1] advert shit. 'Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head' is an incredible song and James is clearly a fan of it, the same as 'Bright Eyes', another one that appeared a fair few times. It would have been far, far worse if they'd tried full-band versions of the songs.
 1. It's been about 15 years now, hasn't it?

Captain Z

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Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #43 on: November 05, 2020, 09:45:10 PM »
Nah, because it's a silly live radio thing they did. A certain admiration for a well-written pop song combined with an awareness that their version would be unusual (by 1999 standards). The Mark & Lard backing vocals add to the general sense of whimsy. It's almost the polar opposite of the advert songs, because it doesn't try to be 'deep'.

I definitely think the ‘deep’ narrative was forced into it later though, and it became a staple at their live gigs. I distinctly remember Jo Wiley giving it her typical “oh my god guys absolutely unbelievable cover version coming up later in the show”, and as pointed out it was a sign of things to come with her future Live Lounge segment.

Inspector Norse

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Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #44 on: November 05, 2020, 10:04:24 PM »
There probably is a thread to be had out of "which are the handful that are actually decent, then?"

M Ward doing Let's Dance
José Gonzalez doing Heartbeats is pretty good even though it was all over ads and stuff

Inspector Norse

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Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #45 on: November 05, 2020, 10:05:07 PM »
As for who started it, surely this deserves a mention/disapproving glare?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COtZZmWKcRI&ab_channel=dprkspacemarine

Dr Rock

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Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #46 on: November 05, 2020, 10:10:48 PM »
Cowboy Junkies invented this I reckon.


Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #47 on: November 05, 2020, 10:12:37 PM »
I definitely think the ‘deep’ narrative was forced into it later though, and it became a staple at their live gigs. I distinctly remember Jo Wiley giving it her typical “oh my god guys absolutely unbelievable cover version coming up later in the show”, and as pointed out it was a sign of things to come with her future Live Lounge segment.

There was a decent amount of rockist snobbery at play, too, which aided its ubiquity - "oh look, it must be a proper song after all because these boys can play it on guitar, not like that dance music rubbish".

Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #48 on: November 05, 2020, 10:45:10 PM »
Yeah, look how us guitar men make silly girl music sound proper.


Anyway, if you're going to slow New Order down, keep it country.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2_KM5sWsGM


DukeDeMondo

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Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #49 on: November 05, 2020, 10:47:34 PM »
There probably is a thread to be had out of "which are the handful that are actually decent, then?"

M Ward doing Let's Dance
José Gonzalez doing Heartbeats is pretty good even though it was all over ads and stuff

Pre-cancellation Ryan Adams' version of Taylor Swift's 1989 was enjoyable enough in fits and starts, even if some of the talk surrounding it curdled my stomach (talk of the sort that crankshaft talks about above there), and even if the notion of Ryan Adams And The Strums strumming one of the most beautiful and striking and infectious and sublimely produced pop albums of the past decade into a bunch of plodding old Uncut fucking old plod is a notion that would have most of us throwing up over ourselves and everyone else from now till Easter Monday morning. When it works it works quite well, for Adams clearly loves and respects the original album, his take on it doesn't reek of a bunch of rock bores imagining themselves to be "legitimising" these songs by shoving them through the nearest strum-a-tron. He just felt like recording a take on it for the fuck of it, as he has done with various other albums over the years. Just so happened that in this instance the original artist really liked it and encouraged him to release it, so there it is, out in the world. A lot of the time it's quite a pleasant listen, for the songs are mostly strong enough to withstand even the most mundane of arrangements, and some of the takes are actually pretty great. If you can get over the violence he does to "Welcome To New York" - one of my favourite opening tracks of any album ever in its original form - in the opening moments.   

None of it is as good as his cover of "Wasted Years" by Iron Maiden, mind you. I really like that, even though it inhabits any number of "oh fuck off"s at any given time.

Dr Rock

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Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #50 on: November 05, 2020, 11:08:07 PM »
Not that I'm slagging off Cowboy Junkies, I think they're ace.

https://youtu.be/-yzOpjQsXvk

buzby

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Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #51 on: November 06, 2020, 08:30:08 AM »
The lyrics of Bizarre Love Triangle go really well with the acoustic treatment. Barney Sumner had his own go at it in 2009 but he obviously doesn't have the vocal chops to pull it off.
Oh dear, Bernard at the height of his 'Dadrock' Bad Lieutenant phase. The only reason he's done BLT there is because of the Frente! version, which had been a big college radio hit in the US. 'Doesn't have the vocal chops to pull it off' though? It's basically the same as the vocal on the original single (by 1986 he was having vocal lessons and learned what natural key his voice had, which led to the re-recordings of Temptation and Confusion for Substance). It's the acoustic backing I object to.

Yeah, look how us guitar men make silly girl music sound proper.
Anyway, if you're going to slow New Order down, keep it country.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2_KM5sWsGM
This too is dreadful. Bloody mandolin as well for the full John Lewis 'girl with ukelele' effect. It also misses the point of the song somewhat by taking it seriously - it was written as a tongue in cheek parody of the' tragic C&W song' trope.
Quote from: Bernard Sumner, Melody Maker 1986
It's kinda laughing at rednecks. From what I said you may construe it to mean that I'm a redneck - I am not a redneck, I assure you, and 'Love Vigilantes' is like laughing at rednecks. The more ridiculous my lyrics are, the less serious the song is.

Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #52 on: November 06, 2020, 09:57:32 AM »
Darius Danesh doing Hit Me Baby One More Time must be an early example

Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #53 on: November 06, 2020, 10:07:07 AM »

This too is dreadful. Bloody mandolin as well for the full John Lewis 'girl with ukelele' effect. It also misses the point of the song somewhat by taking it seriously - it was written as a tongue in cheek parody of the' tragic C&W song' trope.
Quote from: Bernard Sumner, Melody Maker 1986
It's kinda laughing at rednecks. From what I said you may construe it to mean that I'm a redneck - I am not a redneck, I assure you, and 'Love Vigilantes' is like laughing at rednecks. The more ridiculous my lyrics are, the less serious the song is.

Nah you're wrong (for once!). Laura Cantrell is a country singer, and a fine one too. She hasn't just bunged on some mandolin to get on the John Lewis bandwagon. You're right about the lyrics though, by the sound of it.

buzby

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Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #54 on: November 06, 2020, 10:37:09 AM »
Nah you're wrong (for once!). Laura Cantrell is a country singer, and a fine one too. She hasn't just bunged on some mandolin to get on the John Lewis bandwagon. You're right about the lyrics though, by the sound of it.
I know she's a country singer, my dad used to listen to her. I wasn't saying it was done to jump on the 'folky acoustic cover, please licence this track for an ad thanks' bandwagon, but the mandolin does add to the 'ukelele cover' vibe though.

Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #55 on: November 06, 2020, 10:38:02 AM »
Fair enough. I like it though.

Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #56 on: November 06, 2020, 05:57:52 PM »
Does this qualify? Always loved it...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDhQ8ed7WLg

Captain Z

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Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #57 on: November 06, 2020, 06:19:51 PM »
Acoustic guitar-based versions don't annoy me half as much as the piano versions do, but that's just personal preference.

Dr Syntax Head

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Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #58 on: November 06, 2020, 06:54:56 PM »
Ukelele versions are pretty dire as well.

Re: Slow/'unplugged' covers of every commercially successful song
« Reply #59 on: November 06, 2020, 07:48:36 PM »
I love them, but Yo La Tengo's take on Friday I'm In Love is rancid.

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