Oct 14, 2010

Life's Soundtrack - Covers

39/365: Forest Light
Photo by Clare B from the Inspiration Studio Flickr Group.  
Doesn't it take your breath away?

The idea for today's post came when I received an email that made my geeky, music-loving soul's week, but before I get to the email I have to back up a bit.  Last week I discovered a beautiful cover of the eighties classic, "Take On Me" by Runar Eff and shared it on my blog.  Based on the comments, I wasn't the only one who loved his version.  A couple of days later, Runar Eff commented thanking us for listening and loving his song, the fact that he took the time to drop us a note filled me with glee, and had me thinking about cover songs and how much I sometimes I love them.

This week we're going to build a playlist full of amazing cover songs.  Covers come in all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes they are similar to the original and other times they take the song in a new and wondrous direction, and let's be honest, occasionally they just should have been left in the recording studio.

My favorite song of all time, Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah"only became magical for me when I heard the Jeff Buckley version and then k.d. lang's version.  While Mr. Cohen is an amazing songwriter, it took these two amazing vocalists to make the song the song heavenly to my ears, the versions aren't dramatically different, the true beauty and variation comes from the unique voice and interpretation of the singers.  A recent example of a cover that went in a new direction is Dierks Bentley, who this year took the classic U2 rock song, "Pride (in the Name of Love)" and turned it into a bluegrass version, nothing like the original, but amazing!  As much as I think U2's version is perfect, I love Dierks' version for being different and awesome.

Let's kick this week's list off with both versions of Hallelujah and just for fun, let me know which one you prefer.  We've discussed the magic of k.d.'s version before, but I'm interested in what you think after listening to both.  I'm also curious to know if you like covers to sound similar to the original or if you prefer when they go in a totally different direction.

Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
k.d. lang - Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
Dierks Bently - Pride (In the Name of Love) (U2)
The Corrs - When the Stars Go Blue (Ryan Adams)
Ryan Adams - Wonderwall (Oasis)
Adele - Make You Feel My Love (Bob Dylan)
Sarah McLachlan - River (Joni Mitchell)
Sugarland, Little Big Town & Jake Owen - Life in Northern Town (The Dream Academy)
Runar Eff - Take On Me (A-Ha)

I can't thank you enough for putting together such an awesome collection of songs to sing me home.  I've been playing them all week as I clean up the apartment and pack my bags.  I think the consensus is that Michael Buble's "Home" is one of the best.  For those of you new here, to listen to the playlist, simply click on the play button on the embedded player below.  The songs will play one after the other.

Don't forget to comment and share your favorite cover songs, I can't wait to hear what you come up with this week; based on what we've done in the past it is going to be amazing.

Happy Listening
Lyrical Journey


Clare B said...

Eeeck! So exciting to pop over and see my photo there. Thank-you!! My favourite cover albumn of all time is 'He will have his way' - a collection of Crowded House songs covered by Australian female singer-song writers. It's wonderful.

Krystal said...

the photo is BEAUTIFUL! I love her photography. and...this playlist makes my soul happy, listening now!

Krystal said...

p.s. my favorite cover song is an MGMT cover by Ooks of Hazzard called "Kids"...


Prairie Girl Studio said...

LOVE what you do and who you find to share with us, jamie ~ phenomenal!

ok, trying something new ...
going to comment as i listen ...

all selections are all so sentimental, soulful
and somewhat soothing ...

o.a.r. love their acoustic playing
dan auerbach so much feeling and conviction in this artist : )
3 doors down beautiful ~ awesome video ~ love the quartet!!
alexi murdoch rockin on home ...
dido awww ... 'my heart has found it's home' xo
mary chapin carpenter mmm ... solid song
amy macdonald what a sweetheart!!
one republic lovely ...
lisa mitchell sweet piano intro ~ intriguing, whispy voice "living in that chest is a big big heart"
switchfoot positively upbeat!
michael buble this song was played at the service for our neighbour who lost his life in a farming accident leaving behind a wife and two young sons ~ i think of him each time i hear this song and think how much he would want to go home and how much his family forever wants him to come back home ...
frank sinatra tears hearing this ~ makes me think of christmas at home when i was little, a vinyl record playing on our little record player ... xo
simon & garfunkel heartwarming ~ classic ...
john denver love ~ singing word for word out loud at the top of my lungs! (this does take me home)
john denver soon you will be back home, jamie!
crosby stills nash & young more tears as i sing along ... when hb bought our house for us, he did so sight unseen and our first night here we played this song, i bought a new vase and put flowers in it on the mantel and we slept in front of the fireplace ... "our song"
bob dylan he just makes me smile ... : )
zero 7 cool
bob seger sigh.
howlin' wolf me and hb love howlin' wolf ~ raw blues!
beatles goosebumps always ... i really do love john's whistling ...

hope you are whistling all the way home, jamie ...
safe and happy travels, dear friend!
ps. off to do my 'cover' assignment ... ; )

justine said...

what a great playlist and stunning photograph.

Suki said...

Absolutely beautiful playlist. Music has such power in everyones soul.
My most favourite cover song is from the Noisettes (when you were young)! I absolutely adore them. :)
That song gives me some positive energy and makes me happy and upbeat again.

Marcie said...

Listening and loving your soundtrack..while finishing up some late afternoon work. THANK-YOU!!!

kelly@thebluemuse said...

a gorgeous photo, and a gorgeous list of songs. i am so in love with O.A.R.'s song, i listen to the one when i run. and so many other great choices. Two of us has always been a favorite.

I have always loved Cowboy Junkies covers, Powderfinger (Neil Young) is a great one, and of course Sweet Jane.

And Red House Painters cover of The Car, All Mixed Up.

can't wait to hear the list!

Prairie Girl Studio said...

now to the 'covers' ... : )

love your list ...
adele is AMAZING with this dylan song ~ i haven't heard him sing it, and couldn't find a version ... doesn't matter as discovering adele was so worth it!

hmmm ... joni and sarah - river
joni has such an edge to her singing
and sarah sings so soothingly ...
both so beautiful ...

a couple of covers jumped right to mind that i would be interested in getting yours and others feedback on ...

susan boyle ~ wild horses (mick jagger)
i find mick's to be raw as he is ...
susan brings a majestic grace to the song ...

adam lambert OR adian grimshaw ~ mad world (tears for fears)
love this song so much ...
was blown away when i first heard adam sing it ~ haunting...
just heard adian's version today for the first time ~ while his performance was riveting, his voice didn't do it the same for me ...
both solo versions are so different than the tears for fears original ...

loving the cover challenge, jamie!

bee said...

This is yet another fun one - I love these mix ideas!

First of all... k.d. vs. Jeff Buckley. While i love k.d. lang and marvel at the beauty of all her covers on her 'hymns of the 49th parallel' album, for me, jeff buckley's version of hallelujah is probably the best cover song of all time. The softeness, the vunerability, the sadness, and the beauty of the guitar and his voice just compliment the amazing lyrics (thank you mr. cohen) perfectly.

Some other thoughts for your list...

Johnny Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails' Hurt is simply beyond belief (and the video is absolutely stunning too).

Leslie Feist's cover of Secret Heart (Ron Sexsmith) is pretty sweet.

Iron and Wine did a beautiful cover of "Such Great Heights" (originally the Postal Service) that for me, anyway, improves on the original.

Nirvana's unplugged cover of Bowie's "Man Who Sold the World".

And my sweet PG... make sure you check out the Gary Jules' version of "Mad World"... my personal favourite!

Finally... my favourite band in the world is Radiohead. There is a pianist by the name of Christopher O'Riley who did a whole album of Radiohead tunes on the piano. Super, duper cool.

Sorry... I'm getting a bit long here! Looking so forward to the results from this one!

Prairie Girl Studio said...

hide my lunch and call me hungry!

bee! you are so right!
when i was listening to adam and adian's version, it kept going through my 'menopausal' mind "where IS that version with the video with all the people on the street below" ... {huge sigh of relief} ...

it is true, it is the gary jules cover of mad world i love best ... hands down ... thanks! xoxo

Prairie Girl Studio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelli said...

Just put a dent in my itunes budget...
Love these covers.
One of my favorites is Shawn Colvin's cover of The Talking Head's Naive Melody.

Kelli said...

I think you created a monster!
Here are some more:
~Little Sparrow (Dolly Parton) by Kasey Chambers
(Actually the entire album "Just Because I'm a Woman" is fantastic - all Dolly Parton covers)
~Heaven (Bryan Adams) by Jason Aldean
~Love Reign O'er Me (The Who) by Heart
~Fields of Gold (Sting) by Eva Cassidy
~Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana) by Tori Amos
~Rollin and Tumblin (Cream) by Jeff Beck and Imogen Heap

ELK said...

jamie..look and listen to music is such food for the soul!!

Relyn said...

I love this post. If I had written it, my list would have looked very similar. Which makes me excited to explore the ones I don't know. Thanks.

urban muser said...

Love the Johnny Cash cover of Nine Inch Nails as well.

I'll add Regina Spektor's cover of Radiohead's "No Surprises".

Karen said...

Hi Jamie,
Gorgeous photo and a once again a really fun post.
I'd have to say that I"m going to vote for Leonard Cohen as I love his version of Hallalujah...
My cover?
Hands down it would have to be:
Satisfaction (Rolling Stones) Cat Power.
Thanks for keeping us thinking about the music.