Karmin Covers
April 14, 2011 4:27 PM   Subscribe

"Hello, we are Karmin! The little band with a big sound. A girl with a guitar and a guy with a box. Amy and Nick from Boston." Look At Me Now - Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne :: Written in the Stars - Tinie Tempah :: Teenage Dream - Katy Perry :: We R Who We R - Ke$ha :: Price Tag - Jessie J :: website
posted by puny human (37 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I posted the "Look at me Now" video in a mefi thread last night and it had approx. 15,000 views. A couple of hours later it shows up in Diplo's twitter stream. This morning it had 150,000 views and climbing.
posted by puny human at 4:30 PM on April 14, 2011

Pomplamoose, what hast thou wrought?
posted by outlaw of averages at 4:42 PM on April 14, 2011 [6 favorites]

Clearly talented but it's just more knowing, cutesy, ironic garbage that will amount to a few freak show appearances on mainstream chat shows followed by oblivion. Bye.
posted by fire&wings at 4:44 PM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]

It's a very odd sensation for me. They're cheesy and unbelievably talented at the same time.
posted by straight_razor at 4:44 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I heard they don't separate their recycling and the always take a penny but never leave a penny. For this, I wish them nothing but ill will.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:49 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I really like Foxes In Fiction + Weed's cover of Teenage Dream, which captures both the confusion and clarity of being a teenager--missing in the original--and is pretty much the opposite of "knowing, cutesy, ironic garbage." I don't get the sense that they covered the song to be ironic or funny, but just because they loved it and wanted to play it.

Flashback to last autumn, when I was with friends being a blowhard about how this song is such a great new direction for Foxes In Fiction and I look forward to hearing more in this vein from them, etc, when finally the 13-year-old daughter of a co-worker deadpanned "You don't know this is a Katy Perry cover, do you?" Derp.
posted by Ian A.T. at 5:06 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Bah. When I was a kid and I wanted to hear people who were good enough to play other people's songs but not good enough to write their own, I had to walk 10 miles uphill to my local crappy bar and listen to five guys in their 40s churn out REO Speedwagon.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:24 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

On that Bruno Mars cover she changes "her eyes" to "his eyes." I hate it when singers do that to make it all heterosexual. That's one thing that blew me away about the White Stripes' cover of "Jolene," with Jack emploring Jolene not to take his man from him.

Also- she just strums. Not thrilled about that.

Also- I hate the songs they cover.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 5:42 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

35,000 more views since an hour ago. Go internet.

There is an adorable Captain and Tennille vibe between these two. They should do 'Love will keep Us Together' next :)
posted by puny human at 5:50 PM on April 14, 2011

Love Will Keep Us Together
posted by puny human at 5:52 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

they should do "desparado" by the eagles - and "feelings"

posted by pyramid termite at 6:17 PM on April 14, 2011

I like this band - girl's got great pipes and the irony layer isn't twenty miles thick for once. I'm a fan.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:23 PM on April 14, 2011

I can't watch all the videos due to my slow internet but the Just the Way You Are cover is incredibly cute (and slightly cheesy) even with, as ethnomethodologist mentioned, the lyrics change.
posted by Memo at 6:34 PM on April 14, 2011

"they should do "desparado" by the eagles"

Nah, the little girl from the Langley Schools Music Project owns that one.
posted by puny human at 6:46 PM on April 14, 2011

Man, can't we DMCA our way to a cover song-free YouTube?
posted by tremspeed at 6:49 PM on April 14, 2011

Dang, another 40,000 views since 9:00. Maybe 500 of those were from mefi.
posted by puny human at 7:51 PM on April 14, 2011

There is an adorable Captain and Tennille vibe

One shouldn't bring up the late '70s without a warning.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:54 PM on April 14, 2011

Love Will Keep Us Together yt
posted by puny human at 5:52 PM on April 14

They're both playing separate two-hand keyboards, which is cool; Darryl's not covering his funny-eyes with his usual spectacles; and there is a quick view of Donny Osmond looking pensive.
posted by ovvl at 8:17 PM on April 14, 2011

There is an adorable Captain and Tennille vibe between these two.

I heard that The Captain made Ike Turner look like Richard Carpenter by comparison.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:20 PM on April 14, 2011

Man, can't we DMCA our way to a cover song-free YouTube?

posted by dirigibleman at 10:56 PM on April 14, 2011

The covers didn't do much for me, but then I realised Karmin have a separate channel for original songs and my ears perked up.

There's some nice acoustic stuff there. Check out Everything is RightLittle Bit CrazyI SupposeRemembered.

Take It Away (HBM Remix) is different, a dance/pop kind of song. It's easily as good as half the stuff in the Top 40. (Which maybe sounds like damning with faint praise, but I mean it as a compliment.)

Also, those two are seriously adorable.
posted by Georgina at 11:47 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

I hate it when singers do that to make it all heterosexual.

Thank you, I thought I was the only one that gets irritated by this! The cover of "Look at Me Now" was impressive enough, but I was so irked that she changed the gendered pronouns that I didn't enjoy it much. Well, that and the fact that they also made the lyrics clean, which I sort of understand, but still don't like.

And the cheesiness/affect detracted from it, too. They're very talented, clearly, but not my thing.
posted by Nattie at 12:56 AM on April 15, 2011

... hah, this YouTube comment exactly pinned the type of cheesiness I find distracting: "THis is like the SNL skit, with will ferrel and ana gasteyer"
posted by Nattie at 12:58 AM on April 15, 2011

250,000 more views since last night! I believe this is what is known as "blowin' up" boyeeee.
posted by puny human at 6:35 AM on April 15, 2011

I'm not entirely sure what to call your crowing about it. "what." is about all that comes to mind.

Anyway, Nellie McKay
posted by carsonb at 7:10 AM on April 15, 2011

65,000 more views since my last comment. Can I get a what what?
posted by puny human at 7:31 AM on April 15, 2011

How, a lot of pointless naysaying in this thread. They're good, cute, and entertaining. Sometimes that's enough, people.
posted by smorange at 8:58 AM on April 15, 2011

I'm not sure why it is bad for a singer covering a song to change pronouns to make a song fit with the singers gender and sexuality. So what traditional love ballads written from a straight male point of view can only be covered by straight guys and lesbian women?
Should we also get mad that they changed the beat count and style of song? Nah. A performer should make the song their own.
posted by MrBobaFett at 9:57 AM on April 16, 2011

Would it be unbecoming of me to point out that my husband also plays fantastic "box" (his used to be Meinl but he prefers Schlagwerk's cajon) in a nearly all-original band that also has a cutiepie singer who also has awesome pipes (and two flamenco-type guitarists who are also adorable, along with an equally adorable bass player)? Is this where I get to post their first video,
Cordoba, which, although dubbed kinda poorly, got the aforementioned adorable guitarists endorsed by Cordoba Guitars? Yes? Please? (Note: Purely a local sensation....not an internet thingy.)
posted by Jezebella at 8:28 PM on April 16, 2011

So what traditional love ballads written from a straight male point of view can only be covered by straight guys and lesbian women?

That's precisely not what we're saying. We're saying that it shouldn't be a big deal to go ahead and sing the original pronouns regardless of what one's actual sexuality is; when people change the pronouns it strikes me as a bit homophobic, like not only do they think people will assume they're gay if they keep the original pronouns, but also the possibility bothers them to the extent that they'll change the lyrics. I get that some straight people just can't get into a song otherwise, but it still grates on me and I have a lot more respect when a straight person doesn't change the pronouns; they come across as less insecure and less uptight. It also makes the song a lot more interesting to keep the pronouns with a different gender performer, imo, than change them; it makes you envision broader scenarios than the traditional genders, and depending on the song, it can be surprising how it puts a different spin on things or makes you realize how narrowly you tend to imagine certain relationship dynamics.

Compared to that, someone "making a song their own" by a mechanical substitution of pronouns just bores me. It's ultimately a matter of taste so I'm not saying anyone is wrong to change the pronouns, but personally, it's one of those aesthetic areas where I can scarcely conceive of the appeal intellectually, much less really understand it, and the downsides of changing the pronouns stick out to the extent it ruins a lot of otherwise-good covers for me. It's jarring to hear different lyrics than you expected when none of the other lyrics are different, and since there doesn't seem to be any great reason for it other than not wanting to seem gay, it distracts me by making me think about the performer's psychology instead of immersing myself in what they're performing.

So no, it's not at all about actually having the sexuality the genders used would imply, it's about not caring. Hell, when I cover songs I keep the gendered first-person pronouns too, and I'm not transsexual. If someone were to get the impression that I was -- and that has happened -- I wouldn't care, though.
posted by Nattie at 1:24 PM on April 19, 2011

For those still looking at this thread, for a change of pace, it's worth checking out the "I Need a Doctor" cover; she raps surprisingly well.
posted by WCityMike at 9:39 PM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I love that I Need a Doctor cover--especially because they switched the roles and it works very well.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 11:18 PM on April 20, 2011

Their cover of Cee Lo Green's Fuck You [previously] is called Forget You and bizarrely switches some pronouns but not all of them. The "she's a gold-digger" line remains unchanged, resulting in that line being sung to the target of the singer's affection rather than being about them.
posted by finite at 11:27 PM on April 20, 2011

Cee-Lo's radio edit of that song is indeed called "Forget You," so consider it a cover of "Forget You" and not "Fuck You" ...
posted by WCityMike at 6:15 AM on April 21, 2011

Ok, the Lil' Wayne cover is freaking amazing. I even prefer one of their euphemismaztions more than the original lyrics--"what an awkward family picture."

She also OWNS the Busta Rhymes section of Look At Me Now.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 1:52 AM on April 28, 2011

7 million hits! Pretty neat to watch a vid go viral like that.
posted by puny human at 11:56 PM on April 28, 2011

Look at Me Now ... Karmin performs live with the Roots at Tufts.
posted by WCityMike at 4:56 PM on May 2, 2011

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