You coulda been getting down to this sick beat
August 22, 2015 10:11 AM   Subscribe

A fan created video combining the far superior and punk-as-fuck Screaming Females cover of Taylor Swift's Shake It Off with the original video. The cover was part of the sometimes amusing, often surprising AV Undercover series.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln (80 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
I just caught the Zoidberg dance at about 2:45
posted by sacrifix at 10:25 AM on August 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


The AV Undercover series is new to me so thank you for this - I love a good cover. Speaking of which, make sure you check out TMBG having a blast with Destinys Child's "Bills, Bills, Bills". I am so full of joy right now!
posted by billiebee at 10:29 AM on August 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


That is awesome.
posted by procrastination at 10:33 AM on August 22, 2015


i freaking love av undercover. it's such an awesome place to find musicians i've not heard of before. i think my single best find from it was xenia rubinos - psycho killer, which led me to her/their other stuff - pan y cafe, whirlwind, hair receeding, help, to name a few.
posted by nadawi at 10:34 AM on August 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


oh! and it's also great for seeing musicians you already know you like doing amazing and surprising things - like Laura Jane Grace covers Michael McDonald (and The Cure).
posted by nadawi at 10:36 AM on August 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Are you suggesting the original isn't punk as fuck?
posted by grahamparks at 10:50 AM on August 22, 2015 [15 favorites]


The last time they visited AV Undercover, The Screaming Females covered Sheryl Crow.
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:51 AM on August 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


My personal fave AV undercover is Sharon Van Etten+Shearwater doing Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty.

This makes me want to check out Screaming Females, but as a cover I wanted them to do more to it. Like, either do a sarcastic low energy dirgy take on a high energy pop song, or do a high energy shred it to bits version, but don't be sarcastic for a verse and a half and then wait till the break gives you permission to do a little bitty bit of shredding three quarters of the way through.
posted by Diablevert at 10:51 AM on August 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's a decent cover, but I do get irritated by a certain kind of response to pop which says that it can only be good once it's been appropriated for "authentic" music. I remember being irritated by another Max Martin song cover, Travis doing Baby One More Time, in a similar way.

But that's not to say it's not an enjoyable cover, just that I don't think it's very fair to the original to call it "far superior".
posted by howfar at 10:56 AM on August 22, 2015 [34 favorites]


No horns. No handclaps. Far superior? I think you must have cloth ears.
posted by ZipRibbons at 11:04 AM on August 22, 2015 [22 favorites]


No horns. No handclaps. Far superior? I think you must have cloth ears

I'll just shake that off.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 11:06 AM on August 22, 2015 [12 favorites]


It's not way better (shades of rockism) but it's not bad either. At least it's not an ironic ukulele cover!
posted by naju at 11:07 AM on August 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


PS I hope everyone is listening to Carly Rae Jepsen's Emotion (released yesterday) because holy hell it's perfect and amazing
posted by naju at 11:10 AM on August 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


If it's so superior, where is the 'My ex-man brought his new girlfriend / She's like "Oh, my god!" but I'm just gonna shake. / And to the fella over there with the hella good hair / Won't you come on over, baby? We can shake, shake, shake', hmm?
posted by signal at 11:18 AM on August 22, 2015 [13 favorites]


It's a decent cover, but I do get irritated by a certain kind of response to pop which says that it can only be good once it's been appropriated for "authentic" music.

I can't wait for the Ryan Adams 1989 cover album to come out. There is no shortage of this kind of response to the trickle of news, but TSwift's fannish enthusiasm and Adams' apparent love of the material trumps all that.
posted by Lorin at 11:26 AM on August 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


The original has some really interesting and weird things going on with horns and drums. This is more conformist than the original not less, and she gets the vocal melody in the chorus completely wrong. Basically she's pitched it so low she's unable to do the descending "play play play play" which is my favorite bit. Nice guitar solo though.
posted by w0mbat at 11:38 AM on August 22, 2015 [17 favorites]


I like this version but I really think it just illustrates how great the original is. Even stripped of all the interesting stuff that others have pointed out, it's still a really strong pop song. I agree with wombat that the singer's voice (though really cool and I like a lot of their other stuff) is too low for the song.
posted by lunasol at 11:43 AM on August 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't wait for the Ryan Adams 1989 cover album to come out. There is no shortage of this kind of response to the trickle of news, but TSwift's fannish enthusiasm and Adams' apparent love of the material trumps all that.

It's also notable that Adams has form for a similar project, which could suggest that it's maybe less about rockist appropriation and more about appreciation.

And thankfully he's bowed to popular pressure, and finally covered his dad's biggest hit.
posted by howfar at 11:55 AM on August 22, 2015


I do get irritated by a certain kind of response to pop which says that it can only be good once it's been appropriated for "authentic" music.

Who is saying "the original is so bad it might as well not exist, but this is awesome?"
posted by rhizome at 11:58 AM on August 22, 2015


I was not expecting the guitar to be so restrained (it kicks in at around 2:30 for the final verse -- nice solo break, too). It's an interesting effect, but I was hoping for some more 'punk-as-fuck' guitar noise in a 'punk-as-fuck' cover of a Taylor Swift song.
posted by spoobnooble II: electric bugaboo at 11:58 AM on August 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah - I mean, I enjoyed listening to this, but the original is a more interesting composition.

(Possibly continuing a theme, my favorite AV Undercover track is Jukebox the Ghost's cover of Blue Jeans by Lana del Rey, which is very respectful, but expressive where the original is deadpan.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:02 PM on August 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, I love this series!

They Might Be Giants - CHUMBAWUMBA
posted by alasdair at 12:07 PM on August 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


My personal fave AV undercover is Sharon Van Etten+Shearwater doing Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty.

OMG that is so adorable.
posted by torticat at 12:53 PM on August 22, 2015


> The last time they visited AV Undercover, The Screaming Females covered Sheryl Crow.

The OP doesn't do much for me, but this is great!
posted by postcommunism at 12:56 PM on August 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this cover is not at all superior to the original (it's a pop tune, the 'song' is only part of the composition and the production is the rest), but add me to the chorus of thanks for pointing out AV Undercover.
posted by LooseFilter at 1:31 PM on August 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Far inferior, not superior.

It's a decent cover, but I do get irritated by a certain kind of response to pop which says that it can only be good once it's been appropriated for "authentic" music. I remember being irritated by another Max Martin song cover, Travis doing Baby One More Time, in a similar way.

Funny how "authentic" always tends to be defined as "produced by insufferable white hipsters, generally vastly less technically proficient and musically talented than the original artists", too. Although props to AV Undercover for having a Patsy Cline cover with vocals by a comparitively inept black dude, I guess.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 1:43 PM on August 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


lol at Travis being authentic
posted by item at 1:47 PM on August 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Don't today's reformed hipsters like Taylor Swift, or a least claim to?
posted by ducky l'orange at 1:48 PM on August 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Don't today's reformed hipsters like Taylor Swift, or a least claim to?

Depends on levels of resentment in the upper atmosphere.
posted by AdamCSnider at 1:54 PM on August 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


I recently had the chance to meet Marissa Paternoster after a Screamales show here in Chicago. Nicest, coolest, most down to earth person ever; and a total tiny powerhouse on stage. If you've never seen the Paternoster's comics for Talkhouse, I can't recommend them enough.
posted by Juliet Banana at 2:10 PM on August 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


That hurt my ears.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:28 PM on August 22, 2015


Agree with Julet Banana, Screaming Females are great live and their frontwoman capital-F Fucking Rips. There's a band I have seen multiple times because they're always worth it.
posted by windbox at 2:32 PM on August 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


The more I learn about They Might Be Giants, the more I like them. This is a very novel experience for me....
posted by Deoridhe at 2:39 PM on August 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I want a Beyoncé / Kelly / Michelle and They Might Be Giants shared something. Can I have this? I want it.
posted by Deoridhe at 2:41 PM on August 22, 2015


well, if we're taking a census, i prefer the op's link (hearing both for the first time today). thanks Abe.
posted by andrewcooke at 2:53 PM on August 22, 2015


lol at Travis being authentic

"authentic"
posted by howfar at 2:57 PM on August 22, 2015


Everybody! something something shake it off...
posted by billiebee at 3:04 PM on August 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


FEAR THE BANGS
posted by echocollate at 3:04 PM on August 22, 2015


I just rewatched that van Etten/Shearwater cover and am seriously surprised they didn't collapse on the floor in a hot ball of fuck when the song ended.
posted by echocollate at 3:12 PM on August 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


A fan created video combining the far superior and punk-as-fuck Screaming Females cover of Taylor Swift's Shake It Off with the original video.
Ah, much better. And 100% accurate.
posted by subliminable at 3:18 PM on August 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


The more I learn about They Might Be Giants, the more I like them. This is a very novel experience for me....

And if you happen to have kids, you silently thank them every day for making children's music that doesn't make you want to jam chopsticks into your ears.
posted by vverse23 at 3:22 PM on August 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


I do get irritated by a certain kind of response to pop which says that it can only be good once it's been appropriated for "authentic" music.

See also ironic hipster covers of classic rap songs. Pisses me off for all the same reasons and more.
posted by emptythought at 3:22 PM on August 22, 2015


I do get irritated by a certain kind of response to pop which says that it can only be good once it's been appropriated for "authentic" music.

See Beatles, The (1963-64)
posted by enjoymoreradio at 3:26 PM on August 22, 2015


Also, to be clear and fair, i love the vocals in this version... but it's not really punk?? it's like jangly guitar minimal indie i'd expect to see as a cheeky cover by some local band at some really uptight show in a small bar.

It's weird to see a band i actually like playing a cover that seems pretty out of character.
posted by emptythought at 3:28 PM on August 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Who is saying "the original is so bad it might as well not exist, but this is awesome?"
It's kind of implied in the post, and the commenter breakdown is fairly predictable:

Those who can't play an instrument or have no interest in the "music" part of "pop music": OMG! So fucking awesome!

Those who can and do: wut?
posted by subliminable at 3:36 PM on August 22, 2015


So the original Taylor Swift version of this song (which I'm fairly certain I'd never heard before right now) has 999,884,379 youtube views. Looking over to the sidebar, someone named Meghan Trainor (who I'm positive I've never heard of before right now) has a video that also has just south of a BILLION views. I don't know that this makes me feel old, because I've always been kind of an outsider as far as super-popular music is concerned, but damn if seeing those numbers associated with shit I'm unfamiliar with didn't just shift my reality ever so slightly.
posted by item at 3:42 PM on August 22, 2015


Umm. While I am among those who think the original version of "Shake It Off" beats the cover by a country mile, and while this thread is a good illustration of why editorializing is best left out of FPPs, it is perfectly reasonable for somebody to like the cover better without having their musical acumen called into question. People like what they like, life is a rich tapestry of people with very different opinions, etc. etc.

In any event, it was nice to be reminded of A.V. Undercover.
posted by Shmuel510 at 3:45 PM on August 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


At least 20 of the Shake It Off views were me before I stopped listening to it long enough to buy it.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 3:46 PM on August 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


howfar: "It's a decent cover, but I do get irritated by a certain kind of response to pop which says that it can only be good once it's been appropriated for "authentic" music."

Plus, TS compounds this by A) starting out playing Country music and B) being liked by young women.
posted by signal at 3:53 PM on August 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I liked this, but I like music that isn't pretty. I also liked the original. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

My Favorite recent Undercover cover.
posted by DGStieber at 4:17 PM on August 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


No thread about A.V. Undercover is complete without a link to GWAR's cover of "Carry On Wayward Son". (ObNSFW because GWAR.)
posted by HillbillyInBC at 4:44 PM on August 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


My fave. It's like a whole science fiction story condensed into the smallest essential maximum-efficiency three verses and leaves you with that wistful, disappointed, cynical feeling at the end.

This one was meh for me, I can't quite place why. Maybe if from the guitar solo on, they had just let 'er rip it would have been better. It just felt too straightforward. A little bit into it, I felt like I'd gotten the gist, the rest was unnecessary. Which isn't a very nice thing to say about someone's art, I know, but I was right. There were no surprises.
posted by ctmf at 4:47 PM on August 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Which I could also say about Everything is Free, so I dunno, man. Just didn't grab me, and it's not their fault, it's my taste I guess.
posted by ctmf at 4:49 PM on August 22, 2015


emptythought: "See also ironic hipster covers of classic rap songs. Pisses me off for all the same reasons and more."

How pissed off do you want to be?
posted by Reverend John at 5:34 PM on August 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


"The more I learn about They Might Be Giants, the more I like them."

If you want, you could come over and I'll talk at you about They Might Be Giants until they are your favorite band.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 5:56 PM on August 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


How apropos, I just saw the Screaming Females as guests on an old Chris Gethard Show episode.

Can watch their two songs here.
posted by Flaffigan at 6:11 PM on August 22, 2015


If you want, you could come over and I'll talk at you about They Might Be Giants until they are your favorite band.

Did you hear them on Ask Me Anything? Their perfection of a trolling quiz? I listen to it when I need glee.
posted by Deoridhe at 6:28 PM on August 22, 2015


This wasn't bad, though I admit I wanted something more ... punk. The guitar solo was great, and the vocals were actually pretty good as well. But 1989 made me into a Taylor Swift believer, and it all started with the Shake It Off outtake videos (first of several YTVs, one for each dance style). This isn't subversive enough.

And yeah, I got the new Carly Rae Jepson music today, can't wait to listen to it.

(Why have I suddenly gotten into pop in my old age?)
posted by lhauser at 6:31 PM on August 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


alasdair, thank you for the link to the TMBG cover of Chumbawumba. I think it's the best thing I've heard this month (so far)
posted by lhauser at 6:42 PM on August 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wanted to like it. I guess it's just not my cuppa. I've never heard the original either though. I'm going to go back to my porch, if you could all just stay of my lawn? Thanks.
posted by evilDoug at 7:06 PM on August 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


This one was meh for me, I can't quite place why.

That was kind of my reaction as well. It wasn't awful, ut well...I guess part of it was that the singer just seems to be trying to hard. I think the vocals on Shake it Off should be simple and straightforward to emphasize the lyrics. And yeah, maybe if they had pushed the arrangement and guitars, made it REALLY punk.

so...72. Didn't regret it, but wouldn't watch again.
posted by happyroach at 7:24 PM on August 22, 2015


Because of Metafilter music threads, I've found a bunch of new (to me) music to love in the last few years. Parquet Courts, Thee Oh Sees, Wild Flag ( I don't get out much) and now Screaming Females. I'd include Parquet Courts, except I first heard them on KEXP.

Thanks, MeFites!
posted by Gorgik at 7:48 PM on August 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Another warren of rabbit holes for the cover-positive is the Five Good Covers feature on Cover Me. Here's the take on Gary Numan's Cars, which has a couple of real gems. Your gems may differ from mine, but if you can resist clicking on the "You Might Also Like" at the bottom (Blitzkreig Bop! I Can't Explain!) you're a better hominid than I.
posted by Devonian at 8:21 PM on August 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


The definitive Postmodern Jukebox 15 min extended version is a party.
posted by euphorb at 8:22 PM on August 22, 2015


Skating Polly - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap Female fronted (and backed) punk version, played straight.
posted by signal at 8:37 PM on August 22, 2015 [1 favorite]




I guess I'm in the small group who prefer this cover to the original. I've been able to appreciate the writing/structure of the song but the production, vocals etc. just don't do it for me. Can't get enough of the Females though, I guess it's the cover I've been craving without realizing it.

But then I also tend to prefer Springsteen covers over the originals, so I am crazy like that.
posted by mannequito at 11:47 PM on August 22, 2015


PS I hope everyone is listening to Carly Rae Jepsen's Emotion (released yesterday) because holy hell it's perfect and amazing

holy amazeballs. this is just incredible.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:58 AM on August 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


They Might Be Giants made another appearance on the AV Club Undercover in June, doing Destiny's Child. It's just completely wonderful.
posted by Catenation at 2:00 AM on August 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had a really strong reaction to that video. I hated that woman's singing voice. Different strokes and all.
posted by papercake at 5:08 AM on August 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


it is perfectly reasonable for somebody to like the cover better without having their musical acumen called into question

[In whiny kindergarten voice]: But... But OP started it!!!

I assume this is in reference to my comment (and if not, it should be). You're right, my comment was obnoxious. I take it back. But the overly editorialized FPP really rubbed me the wrong way.

I guess I'm getting old, but "punk-as-fuck" used to mean playing out of tune while intoxicated, trashing your gear, and spitting on your fans. All I see these guys giving the finger to is haircare products and clothing size labels. To each his own.
posted by subliminable at 5:29 AM on August 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


My personal fave AV undercover is Sharon Van Etten+Shearwater doing Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty.

I'm quite fond of the one with The Melvins, an icecream truck, and a bunch of kids who couldn't care less about about some sludgy noise rock when it's a sunny day and there's free spendid ice cream to be had.
posted by effbot at 5:42 AM on August 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Having fun digging through the AVClub YouTube site. Local H doing Shock the Monkey might be my favorite so far.
posted by octothorpe at 7:59 AM on August 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


oh lord save us from the punk defenders.
posted by nadawi at 8:14 AM on August 23, 2015


I really love this cover, but I'm not sure I think it's that great on it's own. I love the original and I love Screaming Females so I like them together; but the song isn't a great vehicle for them (covering "Because the Night" with Garbage, though... yes).

I have loved Screaming Females since a friend started raving about "Bell," they blew me away live and kept putting out great records. I don't think I've heard a better record this year than Rose Mountain. (My favorite song on there is "Wishing Well," though "Ripe" rocks right away and has a delightfully static video).

Finally: Lip Sync Battle with the Rock doing "Shake It Off," and you know he gets into it.
posted by mountmccabe at 8:56 AM on August 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


ctmf: My fave yt . It's like a whole science fiction story condensed into the smallest essential maximum-efficiency three verses and leaves you with that wistful, disappointed, cynical feeling at the end.

That is also my recent favorite. And I had not heard Sylvan Esso before this Undercover performance and am loving her music. Her voice works so well with Jenn Wasner, which makes me want to give Wye Oak another try (even though the Flock of Dimes songs don't do much for me either).

The Gillian Welch original (live video) is also lovely, as is the previous cover by the Secret Machines (though I can't find this on YT or similar!)

Similarly, Sharon van Etten and Jonathan Meiburg sang so well together. Would listen to more.
posted by mountmccabe at 9:03 AM on August 23, 2015


Funny how "authentic" always tends to be defined as "produced by insufferable white hipsters, generally vastly less technically proficient and musically talented than the original artists", too.

That's kind of a weird objection though, given that Taylor Swift's biz has huge money to spend on production and an entire segment of US media who exist to promote her work. Presumably someone did the cover because they liked the song? (But maybe not, too - Hipster comes right before Irony, after all.)
posted by sneebler at 1:10 PM on August 23, 2015


I love the Screaming Females. I saw them on tour with Vacation about a week or so ago and they were fabulous. At one point King Mike gave his bass to the lead singer of Vacation so he could join the crowd and dance around for a bit. And when they were finished he came out and got in the crowd and cheered them back on stage for an encore (Criminal Image) with everyone else. Just goofball fun. Totally great band that really seem like decent people.

Not a patch on that Taylor Swift original though.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 10:56 PM on August 23, 2015


Man, I just cannot get on board with her voice. The sort of ruminant trill that she brings to sustained notes grates on me.

Interesting cover, and no knock on anybody that loved it, but I found that they didn't really bring anything unique or interesting to their take on it.
posted by jgooden at 8:25 AM on August 24, 2015


You know, I am finding this cover grows on me, several days in. But I liked her voice to begin with.
posted by Diablevert at 3:34 PM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


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