Song for Today – When Covers Go Wrong

It’s no secret that I have a penchant for a good cover song. Currently, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals’  White Rabbit is a near constant feature on my iPod.

(find GPN’s White Rabbit cover here: )

It’s also no secret that my job can be somewhat… mundane. I mean, looking at more than 100 cars every two hours leads to a lot of time spent in your own head. Additionally, when you work around people who love music the way you do, conversation often turns to all things music.

Today, Sean B. (fellow musical aficionado and oft-mentioned music friend) and I were discussing a good “Song for Today”. Which ended up with our discussing the covers-that-should-never-have-been. You know, when an artist you love covers a song so badly you try to pretend that track never existed? Or when a song you really loved gets covered by a one-hit-wonder trying to make it a chart topper (again), banking on nothing more than our nostalgia and the fact we often know all the words?

I wanted to pick Black Eye d Peas, Dirty Bit, since they destroyed any semblance of happy nostalgic goodness I had from Dirty Dancing soundtrack’s Time of my Life. Sean pointed out it’s merely a sample or remix at best, not a true cover. Fair point. Our Top 5 was fairly easy to come up with, even without this addition.

So, here it is. A combined Top Five Worst Cover Songs for Today (and I reserve the right to add/remove the Top 5 at any given time, depending on my mood).

Number Five 

Smashing Pumpkins, Landslide

I love the Pumpkins. I do. I’ll admit it. I’ve been a big fan since my early, early teens (or “tween” as it’s so aptly called now). But Landslide? No. And I give all the credit to Sean B. for introducing me to this atrocity. Without him, I’d still be in my happy world where the Smashing Pumpkins did no wrong.

Sigh. I feel disenchanted. Minor blip on the Pumpkins’ success. But it’s really bad, so it had to go on the list.

Number Four

Sheryl Crow, Sweet Child o’ Mine

“Music I heard on a Soundtrack Once” for 100, Alex. What does it have going for it? It was marketable (well, Crow was marketable). It was also nothing original. Boring. But not so terrible that I wanted to punch Sheryl Crow in the face for it. Minor fail.

(Taken by Trees does do a decent cover of Sweet Child, just to note that I don’t hate all covers)

Number Three

Avril Lavigne, Basket Case

Okay, let’s look past the bad key, the bad singing and, well, the overall crap of it. We’ll even ignore the “radio version”ness of her omitting the “bad” words. How about the fact that Avril was all of 10 when Green Day released the song (as part of their third studio album)?

All unforgivable sins. Fail.

Number Two

Foxes in Fiction + Weeds, Teenage Dream

Why this sucks: first of all, it’s a cover of a song I hate that was done originally abhor; secondly, it’s just… bad. I once sent this to someone fully knowing it was terrible. Luckily, this person is pretty smart and heartily agreed (although they went on to mock me incessantly in the future for shitty music tastes…. I think they’re kidding.. mostly).

I even chanced upon this song – picking it up off of Blalock’s Indie Rock Playlist (now BIRP!). I thought, maybe, just maybe, someone improved on an already pretty shitty song done by Katy Perry (have I mentioned I dislike her?  Yes? Oh, let me say it again…). No. If anything, they made it worse. I’m always amazed at life’s possibilities.

Sizable Fail.

Number One

All Saints, Under the Bridge

What happens when you take a Girl-Band-trying-to-bank-on-Boy-Band-successes and a classic Chili Peppers song?

You get All Saints covering Under the Bridge.

There are no words. It’s all kinds of bad and worse. Anthony Kiedis summed up my thoughts well in his reaction: “It was kind of funny, they looked so pretty and clean; they looked like they didn’t know what they were singing about.”

And, like my Number Five choice, my guess is? They didn’t. The song was chosen because it did well and they probably heard it on their ghettoblasters a few times. Aww. Pretty girls singing about.. nothing. Cute.

Clueless doesn’t negate that this is… Epic Fail Number One.

Feel free to share your Best of the Worst. As always, a special shout-out to Sean B. for getting me through another two hours of car-watching and helping me compile the list.


About Betty Beat

Musical afficionado extraordinaire. View all posts by Betty Beat

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