Dynamic Range
April 20, 2012 10:23 AM   Subscribe

Former Broadway actress Carrie Manolakos performs a cover of Radiohead's 'Creep', and hits all the notes.
posted by schmod (77 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey, I know Carrie! I music directed (horribly, because I'm a terrible musical director), a production of Wild Party at NYU while we were both in college. I kind of lost track of her, but damn, she was good then and she's good now.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:30 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was writing some dumb snarky comment before I heard this part.
posted by 200burritos at 10:37 AM on April 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


I thought it was good but not something that should really interrupt my day until, as 200burritos pointed out, she got to the climax. Holy shit.

Also, don't just watch the climax. Resist the urge to click burritos' link and watch the whole damn thing.

Nice.
posted by crasiman at 10:40 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This further cements Creep as one of my favorite songs ever, even if I rarely listen to the original anymore.
posted by Strass at 10:43 AM on April 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


very good singing.

but this wouldn't be metafilter without the snark, so I'll say that I really don't like her costuming - that top is both unflattering and keeps looking like it's going to fall off. I don't like being distracted by wardrobe.
posted by jb at 10:47 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also love Creep, but (as always) I prefer the acoustic version to the original - partly because of this animation. Was it official?
posted by jb at 10:50 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Holy shit that was climactic.

Bjork-esque.
posted by entropone at 10:53 AM on April 20, 2012


This is why Creep is a fun song to sing at karaoke out at a bar, most people don't see the high part coming.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:55 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Holy shit, the crescendo was cray. Reminded me of when I first heard the track 20 years ago (really?).
posted by kuanes at 11:00 AM on April 20, 2012


Love the quality of her voice at the climax, definitely. The woman singing the harmony was pitch-perfect also, which totally sold it. The rest was okay; unremarkable but necessary to set the scene.
The song has a bit of a built in goosebumps quality to it anyway, just the whole build up of it.

I'd like to hear more of her doing that high stuff.
posted by chococat at 11:01 AM on April 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


God that was incredible. Obviously all a build-up to the climax, but what sold it for me was the half-beat of a hold before, "whatever makes you happy..."
posted by Navelgazer at 11:03 AM on April 20, 2012


I really liked it, even if it didn't have the eerie anticipatory guitar crunchies before the chorus.

I'll have to check out her original stuff.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:07 AM on April 20, 2012


Wow; this is the kind of thing I hate but goddamn if this wasn't really good. Every once in a while I need to be reminded that there actually is a point to this style of singing. Kudos to Manolakos.
posted by escabeche at 11:16 AM on April 20, 2012


I came for the snark and left with a gut wound.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:24 AM on April 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wish I was talented and could open my mouth wide and have stuff like that come out of it.

I'm left with typing lame things on the internets...
posted by Eekacat at 11:26 AM on April 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'll have to check out her original stuff.

I've just listened to some of it, and I love Carrie and her voice, but the original stuff feels a little meh. Very solid, very good, but meh. It has that general quality that all music made by musical theatre folks who turn to pop has, that sort of a bit too rehearsed, a bit too theatrical sounding, a bit too enunciated, a bit too character. The Broadway to pop crossover stuff never does well, even (or maybe especially) from real theatre rockstars - the pop music of Idina Menzel, Anthony Rapp, Kristin Chenoweth, et al. - it almost all still sounds too much like a score and not enough like a pop record. Because it lacks some kind of duende or something. It's too studied, too effortless, too much calculation and not enough heartache.

Take even this cover - it's amazing for the human feat aspect of it. Girl has got some serious pipes. But it doesn't have that sad sort of rough around the edges, actually creepy kind of quality that makes the original so good and strange and beautiful. This is an amazing cover of the song, but this version would never have made the song the anthem that it is.

Even pop singers with technical mastery over the voice - Adele or Freddie Mercury or someone like that - it still doesn't sound like they are trying to be a character or are singing to the cues of a music director or trying too hard to make sure a story is portrayed; they aren't really acting the song, even if they do sometimes a little bit. There is still something raw, something rock about them that the musical theatre actor turned popstar rarely seems to achieve. I'm trying to come up with a successful example, and I'm at a loss, honestly.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:28 AM on April 20, 2012 [15 favorites]


I agree with you in general but I'm not sure it's fair to criticize (albeit very slightly) this cover for having the same kind of arrangement as Radiohead.. A good cover should re-interpret the song in some way or else you might as well listen to the original. This is a much more resigned and sad take on it, which I kind of like.
posted by Justinian at 11:38 AM on April 20, 2012


ugh, for NOT having the same kind of arrangement. I said the opposite thing. The opposite thing of what I meant.
posted by Justinian at 11:38 AM on April 20, 2012


It is a curious thing, and what first really struck me about Radiohead - was that they were making really really smart music that also kicked ass.

This song is a brilliant, solid song - the kind of thing that gives you all the rope you need to hang yourself but right properly.

And she manages not to - she kind of loses her band at the crescendo there, where the she actually manages to take out a hunk of guts for us, it's like they were caught off guard and were like "Whoa! She's not just dicking around! we better step up!" Then she drops it back and sings some more and I thought that was too bad.

The mystery of good music - all the technical parts there, but forgotten in order to tell you about something else.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:39 AM on April 20, 2012


Her belt is a bit too shouty for me, and she's trying way too hard to emote for my taste. Also, the piano player drives me nuts with all thos inappropriate little fills. Yuck.

I know, now you all hate me.
posted by unSane at 11:41 AM on April 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Obligatory.
posted by gimonca at 11:42 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree with you in general but I'm not sure it's fair to criticize (albeit very slightly) this cover for having the same kind of arrangement as Radiohead.. A good cover should re-interpret the song in some way or else you might as well listen to the original. This is a much more resigned and sad take on it, which I kind of like.

No I totally agree with that.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:46 AM on April 20, 2012


Oh and unSane, the piano fills are really annoying. Restraint is the true sign of a maturity in a musician.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:48 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is a much more resigned and sad take on it, which I kind of like

I didn't get that from it. I get that from the original. From this I got ... I got what a great song it is and that she was doing it good service and she was taking from it what she could to use the best she knew how. But I didn't think she took the whole song.

I enjoyed it but she needs a better band. She needs to be with a better band, one that will make her work by being that much better than her.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:50 AM on April 20, 2012


Take even this cover - it's amazing for the human feat aspect of it. Girl has got some serious pipes. But it doesn't have that sad sort of rough around the edges, actually creepy kind of quality that makes the original so good and strange and beautiful. This is an amazing cover of the song, but this version would never have made the song the anthem that it is.

I spent 20 minutes trying to put words this very idea in my head. It's like the song lost the anger got more.... plaintive ?

I don't know. People who are good at words can say it better than me.

It's a good effort. Amazing even. I dig it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:52 AM on April 20, 2012


Reminded me of when I first heard the track 20 years ago (really?).

Apparently the appearance of Creep on Metafilter serves to also remind me of the passage of time because I'm having a hard time believing that it's been three years since I made this comment.
posted by TwoWordReview at 11:54 AM on April 20, 2012


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: I don't know if this is what you're after, but the Radiohead version seems full of self-loathing to me, while this one is more playing up the powerlessness.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:55 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I heard in an interview somewhere that Jason Mraz was Broadway-trained, and he's made a good transition into singing his own material.
posted by jb at 11:56 AM on April 20, 2012


Not a snark on the aforeposted performance, just an observation .. is there any cover of Creep that is not more maudlin than the original? I mean, the Radiohead version sounds positively peppy compared to the others. Is there room for a Dixieland version or something?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:01 PM on April 20, 2012


RobotVooDooPower: this is close.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:03 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I recently attended an attempt to make the world record for the most continuous performances of "Smells like Teen Spirit" in a row - they went for some 10 hours or more (I attended about 2). There was no Dixieland version, but there was a bluegrass version and a Balkan/Gypsy/Klezmer version.
posted by jb at 12:06 PM on April 20, 2012


obligatory
posted by Jacob G at 12:14 PM on April 20, 2012


Another obligatory.
posted by erebora at 12:16 PM on April 20, 2012


I'm with you, unSane. Way too shouty. I was digging the track and anticipating what had been described as an amazing climax, only to be confronted with a shouty, terrible series of notes that ruined the whole thing for me. And yeah, the piano - awful.
posted by The World Famous at 12:24 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


If we're just posting covers of Creep, it'd be rude not to mention this one by Belgian women's choir, Scala & Kolacny Brothers that was used to fantastic effect in the trailer for The Social Network.
posted by schmod at 12:25 PM on April 20, 2012


I now like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
posted by Justinian at 12:27 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's too... pretty.
posted by Ululator at 12:28 PM on April 20, 2012


I'm really missing the crunchy guitar sound. That dissonance is key in keeping the song from being too pretty and keeping its ragged edge. That said, a cover should be different and not slavishly devoted to the original.
posted by yasaman at 12:30 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Patrice O'Neal's White Professor breaks down Creep.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:34 PM on April 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


I didn't even notice the climax, except for the annoying guitar/drums noise.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:35 PM on April 20, 2012


I've been listening to a bunch of Grace Jones lately and I would love to hear her cover "Creep." I imagine in her hands it could turn into something delightfully sinister.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:38 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've gotta go against the majority here - to me, it was yet another actor acting like a singer. Just because you can hold the note, doesn't make you a singer. To bring up someone else who's been on the front page this week, there's an enormous difference in artistry between this and some of the Levon Helm videos posted this week. Levon felt the music; with this, I got the impression that she was doing her best acting to make you believe she felt it.

Also, shrieky. Brought back memories of those awful Pat Benatar choruses in the 80's.
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:42 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, reading yasaman's comment after listening to mrgrimm's Patrice O'Neal clip has me crying with laughter all over again. I totally agree with yasaman and recognize a great deal of truth in O'Neal's commentary.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:42 PM on April 20, 2012


Not to nitpick too much further, but the chorus really misses that second "I don't belong here", too.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:10 PM on April 20, 2012


.. is there any cover of Creep that is not more maudlin than the original? I mean, the Radiohead version sounds positively peppy compared to the others. Is there room for a Dixieland version or something?

It's included in the delightful medley Rodeohead by Hard n' Phirm. Specifically at 2:24. I just wonder why Thom et al. overlooked the use of the train whistle to punctuate the original.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:23 PM on April 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nobody's posted the Sad Kermit version yet??
posted by moammargaret at 1:23 PM on April 20, 2012


I just wonder why Thom et al. overlooked the use of the train whistle to punctuate the original.

Not to mention the whip cracking.
posted by aught at 1:30 PM on April 20, 2012


I totally get that my aesthetic isn't everyone's, but chalk me up as someone generally unimpressed by pipes alone. The lady can sing, sure, but that alone isn't interesting.

Bob Dylan and Tom Waits and Patti Smith don't have the technical capabilities of this woman's voice, but I'd rather hear them do just about anything than listen to this again.
posted by uberchet at 1:33 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


This cover was nice, but RICHARD CHEESE!!! OMG Thank you!!!! My new BFS (Best Favorite Singer).
posted by johngumbo at 1:57 PM on April 20, 2012


I didn't even notice the piano, I thought it was the singing we were supposed to be noticing.
In fact I was ready to hate the whole thing because Creep has been done to death, (Radiohead don't even play it anymore), and like I said before, it's got that built-in climax part where you're supposed to be all blown away when it happens. So I was cynical of what she would do, given her bland kind of pseudo-jazz Norah Jones-ish whispery lead-up.

But then I liked the shouty part!
I wish I could be all screamy like that and be on pitch. That's super hard.
And it's funny because she hit a few clunkers in the quiet part, but nailed the yelling.
posted by chococat at 3:03 PM on April 20, 2012


Creep yadda yadda. I'm waiting for poppy covers of Popcorn Superhet Receiver.
posted by wingless_angel at 3:21 PM on April 20, 2012


It's included in the delightful medley Rodeohead by Hard n' Phirm. Specifically at 2:24. I just wonder why Thom et al. overlooked the use of the train whistle to punctuate the original.


That's simply delightful, thank you.
posted by kjh at 3:50 PM on April 20, 2012


chococat: "So I was cynical of what she would do, given her bland kind of pseudo-jazz Norah Jones-ish whispery lead-up."

Every time you compare a female singer-songwriter to Norah Jones, Norah Jones kills a kitten.
posted by schmod at 3:53 PM on April 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Every time you compare a female singer-songwriter to Norah Jones, Norah Jones kills a kitten.

Classic correlation/causation mistake. Norah Jones' is going to kill those kittens regardless.
posted by The World Famous at 3:55 PM on April 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


Hm. Not sure where that ' came from.
posted by The World Famous at 3:59 PM on April 20, 2012


I'd love to hear Chococat belting. I actually find it a bit easier to hit pitch when I'm belting but you have to have the cojones to actually do it.
posted by unSane at 4:51 PM on April 20, 2012


I find it interesting how the whole feel of a line changes with a very small change in tone on a single word. The original "you're so fuckin' special" is sneered, very sarcastic; in this version, the "fuckin'" is used as an emotional outburst in a much kinder way, almost with a little laugh under it. Suddenly it's less bitter and much sadder - the singer's saying that the other person really is special and that they can never measure up (as opposed to the original, which always seemed to me to be saying "we're both screwed up in our own ways, so I don't belong here").
posted by ZsigE at 5:28 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


My two favorite covers of this song: Jayme Dee and Homeless Mustard
posted by captain cosine at 6:05 PM on April 20, 2012


jb: Define "good".
posted by pxe2000 at 6:29 PM on April 20, 2012


Thanks. Heard, but never really heard this tune before. Something about the gender switch, and that soaring delivery...this has become one of my favorite tunes this afternoon. Thanks again!
posted by telstar at 7:10 PM on April 20, 2012


To expand upon my previous comment:

The original, Radiohead, version is (or seems to be) about a guy approaching some woman, and dealing with her dismissal of him. There's hurt, but also a sort of societally-forced sublimation of it, like he's supposed to learn that this is how things are supposed to be. To know his place. SO the dismissal turns into self-loathing, and the understanding that he won't get above that.

This interpretation tells a different story. One of a woman in an entirely one-sided relationship, where she is being used but can't tear herself away. "What the hell am I doing here?" changes from "why did I think I was worthy enough to approach you?" to "what am I doing to myself?"

They are different stories with the same words, and whatever one thinks of the cover, I think that's impressive enough for me.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:37 PM on April 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Obligatory?
posted by Cold Lurkey at 7:45 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The funny thing is that both the Patrice O'Neal clip *AND* the Richard Cheese version both bear on exactly why this is such an affecting song. PON is exactly right that it's the cha-chunk guitar which gets (me = white guy) every time. Apparently it was just the guitarist checking that he was plugged in OK, but anyway. And the Cheese version reveals that this is basically a show tune (just as many Beatles songs were fundamentally show tunes), or at least a show tune chord sequence dressed up with a sort of post U2 production.

The thing about this version in the end is I think that show tune delivery works on the stage just as stage make-up works on the stage. You're a long way away so everything needs to be amplified. But recordings and videos are much more like the movies where every tiny thing is amplified, so you gotta TONE IT THE FUCK DOWN and do less, less, less, unless you're really capable of carrying a torch song in the company of Otis and Aretha.

What I mean is, just filming a stage play always looks terrible because the camera sees it from much closer than the audience and you gak out at all the pancake make-up and so on. Similarly, a show tune sung on a small stage or a non-show-soundtrack recording generally sounds melodramatic and overdone, because you're not watching it from the middle of the thirteenth row but (virtually) a few inches from the singer's mouth.

So it's no slam on the singer, just that the delivery isn't necessarily appropriate for the context.
posted by unSane at 7:53 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, the story as I understand it is that Jonny Greenwood hated the song at first and threw in the "cha-chunks" as an act of rebellion against it, to fuck up everyone else, and then everybody realized those kind of made the song great.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:29 PM on April 20, 2012


It's not just the chu-chunk that's missing. They don't do much of anything for the refrains at all.

They turned an ABABC(A/B) song into an AAAABA song. No ABBA joke.

So it gets a little boring and then the bridge is like whoa where the fuck did this come from. That's okay I guess, because they vary those As in little teeny ways to keep it listenable. But then on the final verse there's no counterpoint to anything, it's just kinda another verse. Maybe she emotes more on the last A. That's it.

In the original song, it ends with another mini-refrain, but there's no chu-chunk, no rocking out; it's graceful, sad and resigned.

I remember when Creep came around I thought Broken Face had a better thing where the guitar comes in early and it seemed like the same sort of thing. It's still awesome, the early chunga chunga just grabs your shoulders and shakes you.
posted by fleacircus at 11:41 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


is there any cover of Creep that is not more maudlin than the original?

I think this may be what you are looking for.
posted by Megami at 1:05 AM on April 21, 2012


Hmpph. Gawker posted the link to the video of Manolakos' cover with a via Metafilter and apparently Manolakos got a lot of exposure from it. So she twittered "What a ride today has been! Thanks for spreading the video and your kind words. Gawker- I love you"

She loves Gawker? Gawker? For this link? She is dead to me.

Respect the Blue.
posted by Justinian at 1:42 AM on April 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Listening to the Prince cover something struck me: Creep is very similar from a composition standpoint to a slow version of "When Doves Cry". I couldn't help but feel that Prince was trying to inject the same feel into it.
posted by TNLNYC at 8:29 AM on April 21, 2012


Never mind Prince, it's so similar to the Hollies' The Air That I Breathe that Thom Yorke shares writing credits with Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood.
posted by unSane at 10:30 AM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bob Dylan and Tom Waits and Patti Smith don't have the technical capabilities of this woman's voice, but I'd rather hear them do just about anything than listen to this again.

I really want to hear a Tom Waits cover of Creep. I'm almost crying just picturing what it would sound like.
posted by BurnChao at 10:37 AM on April 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Now the video on youtube says "As seen on Gawker!". No respect, I tell ya, no respect.
posted by Justinian at 11:35 AM on April 21, 2012


I really want to hear a Tom Waits cover of Creep. I'm almost crying just picturing what it would sound like.

Best I can do.
posted by curious nu at 7:56 PM on April 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here is John Brion imitating Tom Waits covering Creep (for the first minute or so, anyway).
posted by onlyconnect at 11:15 PM on April 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


So this post yesterday, which i really enjoyed, inspired me to go trawling through youtube for other good Creep covers. Other lesser known (the kid posted below only has 39 views so far, for example) but interesting covers:

Angela Aki is one of the only other female artists I've seen who goes up the full octave for she's running, and though she doesn't belt it it's an interesting take (certainly not raw, though).

Eleven year old girl, Verona Rose Ortega, belts it out for her mom's 43rd birthday.

These guys (the Modern Classics) were good. I felt it. Ditto Shay here -- impressive tone and belting.

Upbeat banjo busker, San Francisco.

Thanks for the post, I really enjoyed it!
posted by onlyconnect at 11:45 PM on April 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


is there any cover of Creep that is not more maudlin than the original? I mean, the Radiohead version sounds positively peppy compared to the others.

A lot of covers communicate self-pity. The original sounds to me like self-hatred.

Rodeohead by Hard n' Phirm

Thank you, Homeboy Trouble. That's genuinely beautiful, a faithful cover (in its way) and the funniest thing I think I've ever heard. My eyes are leaking. Humanity, we can stop recording music now.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:32 PM on April 23, 2012


I keep Rodeohead permanently on my phone. I only bust it out a few times a year, and it never gets old. It may also blow your mind that half of Hard n' Phirm is former MTV VJ Chris Hardwick (who is also now internet famous in his own right.)
posted by mrgrimm at 9:53 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


It would still be MetaFilter without the snark.

That was intense. The rawness, the expressiveness of the quiet parts is just wrenching. And then when it climbs and breaks...goosebumps is right. Pure emotion.

That's what that song was written to give us, and I'm in awe of her for making a cover feel so vital.
posted by batmonkey at 6:11 AM on April 26, 2012


« Older Planet Earth narrated by kids [slyt]...  |  Snowball!... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments