A while back, I made a series of posts on Twitter describing ways I would cover some songs. Let me list them here:

  • Bruce Robison’s "Wrapped" in the style of U2’s "Stories for Boys"
  • Duran Duran’s "Planet Earth" straight-forward with lyrics in Japanese
  • Janet Jackson’s "Miss You Much" in the style of Alice in Chains
  • Linda Ronstadt’s "Hurts So Bad" in the style of Garbage.
  • Marilyn Manson’s "Tourniquet" in the style of Enya. (Actually, I ended up covering Neutral Milk Hotel’s "The Fool" as an a capella piece.)
  • Roberta Flack’s "Closer I Get to You" in the style of Explosions in the Sky and mono.
  • The System’s "Don’t Disturb This Groove"in the style of Sam Amidon and Nico Muhly

As much as I’d like to think these interpretations are beginnings of a cover album, I don’t get much of a thematic thread from them. The source material is all over the place, and their planned interpretations are incongruous. It wouldn’t feel like an album to me.
Now there’s another wrinkle.

I finally got around to cataloging my 7-inch singles, and I ran across a number of titles I haven’t listened to in years. A significant number of these singles date from 1980, when my siblings and I engaged in a collection war. I won because my mom spoiled me.
Thing is, these songs which were hits in the day are pretty obscure now, and they would actually make interesting source material for a covers album. I mean, really — do any of these titles really ring a bell?

  • "A Lovers Holiday" by Change
  • "Let Me Talk" by Earth, Wind and Fire
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Stephanie Mills
  • "Stomp!" by the Brothers Johnson
  • "Special Lady" by Ray, Goodman and Brown
  • "Twilight" by Electric Light Orchestra (which is from 1981)

A lot of these songs marked the end of the disco era and coincide with the emergence of post-punk, the music that really informs my identity. And yet, I like these songs too. Some of them anyway.
And the time factor makes a far better thread than just a bunch of random — if not somewhat interesting — interpretations.
So on what should I work? A cover album of songs from ca. 1980? Or a cover album of songs with unlikely interpretive pairings?