Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Listening under the covers

Over the weekend, it occurred to me that I've been listening to a lot of cover songs lately. One CD I've been playing a lot is "Under the Covers, Vol. 1" by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs. (Or is it Sid 'n Susie? I can't keep up with these things.) I'm still not sure if it's good, but I'm warming up to it. (Ah, remember the days when you'd let an album grow on you, like a wine that needs to air out before you drink it?)

And judging by how often I replay it, my favorite track on "Rabbit Fur Coat" by Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins is apparently "Handle With Care," a redux of a beloved Traveling Wilburys tune.

I also like Gnarls Barkley's cover of the Violent Femmes' "Gone Daddy Gone."

But the moment of clarity that I experienced regarding my recent listening habits hit me in the bathroom at Mongolian Barbeque. The Power Station's version of "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" was playing over the loudspeakers. That song is an invitation to air guitar. And that's not necessarily a good thing while standing at a urinal, where (at least one of) your hands should be concerned with pressing matters. But to me, it's so much better than the original T-Rex song, which sounds feeble in comparison. And it just might be my favorite cover tune.

I forget whether Donutbuzz or Pop Candy had a post on this already, but if you're up for it, I'm hoping you'll chime in on which cover tunes you love. Are there any you consider far better than the originals?

Or for that matter, which ones do you hate? I'll start off with Soul Asylum's rear-end violation of Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing." They totally destroyed that song. Dave Pirner's wailing brings tears to my eyes - and very much not in a good way.