[I was able to link up all the videos after a visit to BlackChampagne reminded me that I was a complete idiot. Sure the artists’ websites don’t have the music on them, nor do the sites of the recording companies, especially so for the older songs, but YouTube has everything. Let me tell you, if I was a band that had a couple of hits in the 80’s, I would want nothing more than to float that song around on the internet by any means necessary.
It sure does show the difference in logic though. Artists nowdays have the songs and videos right on their page for download, free for anyone to watch, cause, well, that is how they advertise. The older artists just expect you to rush right out and boost 15 bucks on a cd if you want to hear one of their songs. I wonder why they aren’t making any money? It has to be those kids and their damn file sharing software. Either that, or the fact that there are millions and millions of songs so easily available on the internet that if you can’t find the one you are looking for in about three seconds, you think of a different one and move on. I mean, I find it a bit unlikely that the Genesis version of Land of Confusion is in the top of the file transfers list (probably not even on it), and now would be a great time for them to actually be pimping it. The kids that watched that video in the 80’s are starting to get nostalgic (thus three complete series on VH1 called I love the 80’s), and would probably like to see that one again either because they remember it as being so much better than the new Disturbed version, or because they just enjoyed seeing Ronald Reagan portrayed as a puppeted caricature (though they could have seen that on any news broadcast during his presidency). But it really seems like these older recording artists think that this new-fangled internet thing is just a passing fad, and soon everyone will be back to buying all their favorite music on 8-track. Until they realize that the music is going to be available on the internet so they might as well endorse it, these artists are going to continue to fade more and more into obscurity. Until, as an eventuality, they will be nothing more than an answer in a trivial pursuit game.]
I never really realized that song remakes was one of my pet peeves, but digging through my archives looking for linkage (dear God I need to index that or something, it took me about an hour to find what I was looking for. Since they are titled only by date, google can’t hit them when I do a search for the terms in them either.) I found a couple of examples. Thus my transformation from punk kid to old dude bitching about how much better things were when he was a kid is almost complete. Almost.
I have three song remakes in mind today, and my reaction to them is as varied as the songs themselves. Chances are that anyone over the age of 25 is familiar with one of the originals, but you probably have to be over thirty to remember the other two. I will go into them in the order that they are listed on my notes page.
First up is Lacuna Coil’s cover of the Depeche Mode song Enjoy the Silence(Lacuna Coil’s page allows you to play the song, I can’t find anywhere on the internet that allows me to link to the Depeche Mode version)[Depeche Mode video Lacuna Coil video]. This one isn’t as bad as I thought it was when I added it to my notes page. The cover version makes it absolutely clear that it is a remake of an 80’s song, though I think it really loses a lot of its impact when the vocals are sang by a woman instead of being harmonized by some dude (as I was trying to find out who it was that actually did the vocals on the original track, I found myself reading the entire history of Depeche Mode, which, while interesting, is certainly not all that important for my purposes here. If you know off hand who it was, feel free to let me know, else it will forever be “some dude” getting the credit on my page). So, this one was not quite as bad as my initial impression, but if I am in a mood to listen to Enjoy the Silence, I am certainly going to grab the wife’s Depeche Mode cd even though it would be much less of a hassle to play the Lacuna Coil version.
Next up is Disturbed with a cover of the Genesis song Land of Confusion (again, the Disturbed site has their video for the song on it -which I only saw just now-, I can find no such linkage for the Genesis version)[Disturbed video Genesis video]. I have to say that I really like the Disturbed version of this one. The Genesis song was cool enough that I wasn’t ashamed of owning the the Invisible Touch album back in the 80’s, and I really loved the puppets in the video (if you know of a link to that video, please do share). The song was timely in the 80’s for it’s ambiguously political lyrics, as well as the literal portrayal of the “men of power” as puppets. The song is every bit as timely today, and perhaps more so. I think Distrubed’s video for the song really nails the current political climate and doesn’t leave much question as to who the Nazi-esque, Money-hungry pig is. This is one of the few song remakes that I actually like more than the original, though the fact that it is getting played about thirty times a day on both the satellite radio and my local rock station may wear it out way faster than necessary. If you haven’t seen the video for it though, go to Disturbed’s site and check it out. Pretty good stuff.
Finally, the worst remake in the history of recorded music. I am talking about the Evanescence cover of the Nirvana (sorry, no link. I have no idea which website is the official one) song Heart Shaped Box(that is an odd link. Every time I click it, it plays the Nirvana video, but for unknown reasons it is on the page for a different band and a different song.) Now I was never a huge Nirvana fan. I did buy the naked baby album, but I never really got into them beyond that. With that being said, I think the real appeal of the group was Cobain’s raw, gritty lyrics and singing. There was a sincerity to the songs that came across and those that listened to the music could really connect with it. For exactly that reason, it really isn’t possible to remake any Nirvana song, since the reason the songs, hell the band really, did so well is that they were so real. Not some over-produced top 40 pop crap, you got what sounded like one take performances that you either got into or didn’t, Cobain didn’t seem to care one way or the other. When Evanescence did that acoustic butchering of Heart Shaped Box, the lyrics sounded like an A Capella rendition of the ingredient label on the back of a shampoo bottle [Evanescence version probably thankfully, this was the only version of it that didn’t have some 9 year old doing it karaoke style (what has the world come to?), or live. The live version of it is slightly less atrocious, since the A Capella voice doesn’t seem so easy to duplicate on the stage, it almost sounds like someone actually singing it! Not going to change my opinion on the cover though, worst remake in the history of music]-absolutely nothing real about, just singing whatever was thrown in front of her. Absolutely the worst cover song in the history of music. This one makes Avril Lavigne’s cover of the Metallica song Fuel seem downright rocking! (and she absolutely butchered that one. I love this one quote from the comments on Avril’s video “They could care less about avril in 1997. Her 15 minutes of fame came now they are over and in 5 years she will be some crack whore in Las Vegas“. It’s funny because it’s true.)
Now I’ll get back to bitching about these damn kids and their new-fangled “cell phones”. We didn’t have “cell phones” when I was a kid. If you wanted to talk to someone when you were out of the house, you just went to a pay phone and waited for it to ring. You could stand there for days waiting, and it was never the guy that you wanted to talk to on the other end when the phone did ring, but we did it because that was all we could do. I remember this one time I wanted to talk to my mom, it was probably back around, oh, say 93 or so. It was about three in the morning, middle of January, I walked about three miles to the nearest pay phone and I stood there for six day, completely naked, waiting for the phone to ring…