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In With The Old
June 15, 2010 9:46 AM   Subscribe

Nestled amid endless Budweiser ads, The AV Club is putting together some great modern covers of ’70s and ‘80s classics. My personal favorites: The Antlers take on Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and Cursive’s cover of Starship’s We Built This City.
posted by rtimmel (53 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Reminds me of this.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:50 AM on June 15, 2010


I tried to watch the Starship cover, but the video stalled in two different browsers. Of course, the stupid Budweiser ad plays perfectly fine.
posted by cribcage at 9:54 AM on June 15, 2010


Wish It Would Play
posted by stbalbach at 9:55 AM on June 15, 2010


I've been keeping up with these, I think the covers of "Everybody wants to rule the world", "One on one", and "Say Yes" are my favorites so far.
posted by ghharr at 9:59 AM on June 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


> covers of ’70s and ‘80s classics.

...not to mention the 90s. Alkaline Trio does Web In Front, for example. Songs from Superchunk, Elliott Smith, Pavement, and Guided by Voices are on tap (see what I did there?) as well.
posted by ardgedee at 10:00 AM on June 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the comments:

Some have said the original ["We Built This City"] was cheesy, but it least it was attacked with verve and energy and it was an anthem in it's time. This version just plain sucks.

And it's been attacked with energy ever since.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:01 AM on June 15, 2010


The only good cover of "We Built This City" is John Cage's 4'33".
posted by griphus at 10:03 AM on June 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


There is no cheesier cover of We Built this City than We Built Sioux City.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:07 AM on June 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


stbalbach: “Wish It Would Play”

This is an obnoxious interface. You might actually get it to play if you wait ten minutes. That happened to me just now; I popped over here to post a comment about how the only thing that would play was the Bud ad, and then it was all dead air after that. Then, I got an email, and got distracted, and a few minutes later suddenly it started.

So... yeah.
posted by koeselitz at 10:08 AM on June 15, 2010


I can't seem to get the videos to play. I like the twelves remix of Take on Me, and Grizzly Bear's Owner of a Lonely Heart cover.
posted by cashman at 10:09 AM on June 15, 2010


I think they should get Pavement to cover Pavement.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:09 AM on June 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


When I first came across this series, I tried a bunch of different browsers and attempted to update my Flash player over and over again, and I never did get this to play at work. I assumed it was attempting to load just the video from a blocked site, but reading the comments here, maybe it's just fussy. Anyway, I liked Owen Pallett's take on GBV.
posted by statolith at 10:12 AM on June 15, 2010


The Clientele's cover of "Paper Planes" is my favorite by a mile (Ted Leo close 2nd). You can tell they all feel ridiculous playing the song, but they totally nail it in a fantastic Richard Cheese-type way....
posted by lattiboy at 10:13 AM on June 15, 2010


I've been following these, and they blow hot & cold. The Ted Leo take on "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" was quite enjoyable though. For those of you who liked it, Leo has made a mp3 version available for download, which is pretty cool, if you ask me.
posted by .kobayashi. at 10:14 AM on June 15, 2010


There are some gems here. Thanks. The Kinks cover is pretty righteous.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:14 AM on June 15, 2010


With apologies to Ghharr, that performance of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" is one of the worst covers I have ever heard. The singer has a terrible voice and couldn't hit a pitch off a Little Leaguer, the band together has some of the stiffest rhythm I've heard in a long time, but worse, they did absolutely nothing original or different with the song. They just played it straight. (And worse.)

This latter has been popular in recent years—not by smaller indie bands, but by major acts. They take a popular tune and rerecord it almost note-for-note (even the guitar solos, often), adding nothing of artistic value whatsoever. My opinion? This is theft. The only reason to do this is to hope that when a radio station wants to play "Black Velvet" or "Life Is a Highway," the station will pull your CD instead of Alannah Myles's or Tom Cochrane's, and you will collect the royalties.

Anyway. On third attempt, I got "We Built This City" to play and I am now realizing that this FPP is not for me. These bands have zero musical ability. The singers can't even sing, for Christ's sake. I know that people of a certain age group and demographic find some value in listening to garbage like this, but I honestly don't understand it. Some bands belong in the garage.
posted by cribcage at 10:15 AM on June 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


When they kicked this off a few months ago it was sponsored by Starbucks, and it was way less obtrusive. All they had was a quick intro saying that it was sponsored by the coffee shop and normal side ads.
posted by nowoutside at 10:16 AM on June 15, 2010


Oh, and I should say: the absolute best cover of an 80's tune in the last year or so was the cover of the 1980 Korgis hit "Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime" that was done by the brilliant Swedish minimal/ambient house musician Axel Willner, aka The Field. Yeah, that song's been covered dozens of times, particularly in the UK (where the original was much more popular) but The Field's version is just so transcendental that it's astounding to me. And he does it by removing the chorus – you'd never have thought that taking out the chorus would make the song better, but it does.
posted by koeselitz at 10:18 AM on June 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cribcage, please tell me your comment is fantastical sarcasm. Please?
posted by lattiboy at 10:19 AM on June 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


EVERYONE GET OFF CRIBCAGE'S LAWN RIGHT NOW
posted by brand-gnu at 10:22 AM on June 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


The singers can't even sing, for Christ's sake. I know that people of a certain age group and demographic find some value in listening to garbage like this, but I honestly don't understand it. Some bands belong in the garage.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha ...
posted by joe lisboa at 10:26 AM on June 15, 2010


... ahahahahahahahaha.

I fail to understand the compulsion to post in a thread that you have self-admittedly realized is not for you.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:27 AM on June 15, 2010


Budweiser Budweiser Budweiser Budweiser Budweiser. Budweiser?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:38 AM on June 15, 2010


BRANDING! SO MUCH BRANDING!
posted by clvrmnky at 10:54 AM on June 15, 2010


I fucking hate music. But I love Budweiser. This is the FPP for me.
posted by swift at 10:58 AM on June 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I want to hear the Ted Leo cover that upset cribcage so. Alas, it will not load for me!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:58 AM on June 15, 2010


The only reason to do this is to hope that when a radio station wants to play "Black Velvet" or "Life Is a Highway," the station will pull your CD instead of Alannah Myles's or Tom Cochrane's, and you will collect the royalties.

Moreover, you do realize that if this is their ostensible motivation, then such an accidental play on broadcast radio would net the covering artist approximately $0.02 worth of royalties? People who do not know anything about the music industry (even such as it is) should probably refrain from making shit up just to complain about an entire post after listening to one song out of a dozen or so posted therein.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:15 AM on June 15, 2010


Holy crap, if that cover of Everybody Wants to Rule the World is like one of the worst covers you have ever heard, you either need to 1) get out more or 2) run back inside and never leave again.

That cover was perfectly average. Band learns song, band plays song in style of themselves, adequately. OHHHHTHEHUMANITY
posted by 23skidoo at 11:21 AM on June 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


PhoBWanKenobi: “I want to hear the Ted Leo cover that upset cribcage so. Alas, it will not load for me!”

Looks like it's on Youtube, as well.
posted by koeselitz at 11:38 AM on June 15, 2010


And, yeah, it's pretty boring. But it is Tears For Fears. So I guess you can at least say they're capturing the spirit of the original.
posted by koeselitz at 11:39 AM on June 15, 2010


"Tanked the level of discourse," indeed, Joe.
posted by cribcage at 11:44 AM on June 15, 2010


"Tanked the level of discourse," indeed, Joe.

I know, but it is cool provided you refrain from continuing to do so in the future. I have discovered that MeFites are pretty forgiving.

You know, provided you stop coming into threads that you announce you have no taste for and shitting all up in them. Feel free to compile your own covers post, I would look forward to checking out your recommendations.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:47 AM on June 15, 2010


And, yeah, it's pretty boring. But it is Tears For Fears. So I guess you can at least say they're capturing the spirit of the original.

Pretty perfect song for Ted Leo, though.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:48 AM on June 15, 2010


Also: way to scour my MeTa posting history to imply that I am drinking. That is a pretty despicable move, cribcage. Even for you.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:49 AM on June 15, 2010


To be fair to cribcage, while most of these covers rage from middling to pretty damn good, that "We Built This City" cover is fucking awful. Easily the worst of the lot. They clearly thought they were being clever by destroying a famously "bad" song instead of revelling in the power-pop cheesiness of it all to make something good and fun out of it. Fuck you, Cursive, you're not cute or clever and you can't play music for shit either.

The Ted Leo one is great though. As are a lot of others.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:54 AM on June 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fuck you, Cursive, you're not cute or clever and you can't play music for shit either.

Fair point, I stopped that particular one halfway through and then listened to other clips so I would not make an underinformed blanket statement about the post and/or the project. Cursive is love/hate for me but I think they stepped in it here. Taking risks is like that, though, even though the final product is meh at best. The GBV cover and Kinks cover are fantastic, however. Interesting interpretations performed well. But you would have to RTFA to know that.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:57 AM on June 15, 2010


"that "We Built This City" cover is fucking awful"

QFT
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 11:57 AM on June 15, 2010


I wanted to like these, but thus far they've been underwhelming. The only one I've enjoyed so far has been the Pavement cover.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:06 PM on June 15, 2010


There are two previous editions 20 Super Explosive Hits, and 20 More Super Explosive Hits, modeled on the old K-Tel compilations, but I can't find them online anywhere.

In the meantime, enjoy Star Power!
posted by timsteil at 12:16 PM on June 15, 2010


But you would have to RTFA to know that.

you = one (i.e., not directed at you, Navelgazer)
posted by joe lisboa at 12:18 PM on June 15, 2010


Okay, good. Because I've been following this from the beginning and the Cursive cover is the only one I've actively disliked.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:28 PM on June 15, 2010


Yeah, I phrased that poorly. My bad.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:31 PM on June 15, 2010


Some have said the original ["We Built This City"] was cheesy

Cheesy is far too nice. The original is ARGUABLY (and I'm ARGUING LOUDLY HERE) the worst record ever, in the history of anything.

"that "We Built This City" cover is fucking awful"

Arguably because the song itself is pure toxin, completely irredeemable, though I'd like to hear Negativland take a sledgehammer to it before I wrote it off completely.
posted by philip-random at 12:36 PM on June 15, 2010


cribcage: “‘Tanked the level of discourse,’ indeed, Joe.”

Not to make a deal out of this, but that was a dick move, cribcage. Flagged. Don't be a jerk.
posted by koeselitz at 12:48 PM on June 15, 2010


I enjoyed Ben Folds playing Elliott. Not really new, but it was nice. What I did not enjoy, however, was that godforsaken intro tune before each set. That damn guitar riff gets repeated like four times, sound like it was basically just a loop and IT MAKES ME WANT TO KILL

But overall, this is a fun project. Also: BUDWEISER! KING. OF. BEERS.
posted by jnrussell at 1:25 PM on June 15, 2010


This makes me appreciate the original versions by the original bands even more.
posted by imjustsaying at 2:13 PM on June 15, 2010


"We Built This City" for me is just like "Come Sail Away": It's cheese, but if it comes on the radio I can't help singing along.

I kept waiting for Cursive to rock out. They didn't. I was disappointed. Sad face.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:28 PM on June 15, 2010


The original is ARGUABLY (and I'm ARGUING LOUDLY HERE) the worst record ever, in the history of anything.

I think We Built this City is officially the worst record ever made.
posted by swift at 2:43 PM on June 15, 2010


I really, really like the "Paper Planes" cover, but I don't think it's a parody. I mean, that's kinda what the Clientele just normally sounds like.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:54 PM on June 15, 2010


Like a Version - the Australian version of this. But with no ads. And less superstars. And more beards.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:41 PM on June 15, 2010


If I may pontificate, I must say that Ted Leo cover of Everybody Wants to....was quite enjoyable, sounds about like me with four old friends I havent played with in a coupla years and we're just having fun.

i say we give a cover assignment for that to Flapjax, and see if he doesnt make your socks roll up and down when you hear it on MeFiMusic. He'll probably play it on his coffee cup, using a sake cup for the harmonies.
posted by timsteil at 4:52 PM on June 15, 2010


"The only objective representation of music is one which shows itself to be adequate to the essence of its object. This, however, is not to be identified ... with the idea of the historically first rendition." - Adorno
posted by joe lisboa at 8:35 PM on June 15, 2010


The singer has a terrible voice and couldn't hit a pitch off a Little Leaguer, the band together has some of the stiffest rhythm I've heard in a long time, but worse, they did absolutely nothing original or different with the song. They just played it straight. (And worse.)

They have a very straightforward style that's deliberately stiff, with a lot of eighth notes. Stiffness is not inherently bad -- I like their stiff, straightforward feel. I also like straightforward covers; I don't like hearing people try to show how much they're "interpreting" a song. You don't like those things. That's fine -- it's all subjective.

What is objective is whether a singer hits the notes on pitch. Ted Leo does, at least in that performance. It's fine if you don't enjoy his voice, but he does sing the right notes.

Actually, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" cover is the only one of the several I listened to that I thought was very good. I was looking forward to "Kokomo" and "Enjoy the Silence," but they were just ... meh.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:41 AM on June 16, 2010


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