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?