With recording mere weeks away, The Backlash have been battling with a tough decision: which cover track do we spend time and money laying down? Mulling over the pro’s and con’s of many a chanson, I have gotten to thinking: what makes a good cover song? Many would say there’s no real science to it. A track is either good, or it’s not.
For me however, the ‘science’ boils down to two fundamentals: firstly, the relationship to the original (almost unrecognisably different right the way through to exact copy), and secondly, whether the personality of the band is present on the track. Not wanting to come over all X-Factor judge, but have the band/artist made it their own? If you distil it further, what appeals to me most in a cover song is if the track sounds like a cover, or in fact sounds like a brilliant song in its own right.
One song that almost made my top 5 was The Pretenders‘ I go to Sleep. Although The Kinks’ original is great, The Pretenders took that song and OWNED it. It eclipses the original. Another example of this would be Valerie by the Ronson & Winehouse. Crappy and slightly annoying song by The Zutons turned into a right good’un by adding horns and big ole vox. Both these cover versions sound like brilliant songs in their own right, forget the original.
So, here are my top 5 cover songs by lady music-mongers. This is not a definitive list by any means, merely a taster. Tracks that just missed the cut include Letters to Cleo – I Want You to Want Me, Save Ferris – Come on Eileen, Blondie – I’m Gonna Love You Too, and Dollymixture – Baby, It’s You.
5. No Doubt: It’s My Life
4. The Be Good Tanyas: When Doves Cry
3. The Raincoats: Lola
2. Gossip: Careless Whisper
1. Thee Headcoatees: Ca Plane Pour Moi