COVERS WEEK! Days 4 and 5
Radiohead, “High & Dry”
Bilal, “High & Dry”
(My apologies for yesterday’s absence. My mind and my pen were elsewhere. Anyone who’s ever written a 20-page paper on American regional free trade agreements will understand. I have included two covers today as an attempt at reconciliation.)
Radiohead is one of our generation’s great bands. Completely under appreciated (or even unknown) by many, these British lads have grown immensely with each successive album, transforming themselves from the standard Britrock of their early Pablo Honey days (a sound which Coldplay subsequently aped for millions of dollars) to the boundary-pushing experimentation of their more recent work. “High & Dry” comes from Radiohead’s excellent second studio album, The Bends, which represented a huge creative step forward for the band. Boasting vocalist Thom Yorke’s ungodly falsetto and gorgeous melody, the original recording is beautifully restrained compared to its fellow Bends tracks, which tend to rock a little harder.
However, regardless of how much I love Radiohead, Bilal’s cover of the track just about blows the doors off the original. Recorded for a 2006 tribute album, this jazzy cover features the American neo-soul singer turning the song into a bumping lounge jam. Matching weird, depressing British rock with smooth American soul is perhaps the strangest match-up in the world — but works oh so well.
Cyndi Lauper, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”
Greg Laswell, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”
In honor of the death of 1980s teen movie master John Hughes earlier today, we’ll throw in this melancholic cover of Cyndi Lauper’s hit song of the same era. Although he was not involved with Girls Just Wanna Have Fun in any way, the Sarah Jessica Parker flick embodies the type of movie Hughes perfected: the ’80s teen comedy. After writing and/or directing so many of the classic films of the decade, including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink, John Hughes and his lovable, very human characters will always live in the hearts and minds of an entire generation of moviegoers. I will confess that Ferris Bueller is one of my all-time favorite films and, at the risk of sounding melodramatic, I felt like a lost a little piece of my childhood when I learned of Hughes’ passing. Hopefully he is in a better place. His wit, humor and humanity will be missed.
Here’s Greg Laswell to play out a movie legend. Rest in peace.
Listen to: Greg Laswell, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”
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