Tag Archives: cover song

The Alphabet Playlist – in progress and need your help!

I’ve started a monsterous endeavour in the last few weeks. A playlist for every letter of the alphabet. One word to describe the tunes on the list. I’ve had an A for Acute playlist for some time and added songs that I find clever, razor-sharp and intelligent – still a work in progress but examples are Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Gold Lion”, The Neighbourhood “Female Robbery”, and Bon Iver “Skinny Love”. I will share full playlists as they are complete.


B is for Breaking – and I haven’t actually given this one much thought. I just threw some songs on there with no meaning and need to develop it a bit more. Perhaps Breaking Bad influenced songs? Who knows at this point, I welcome suggestions.

C is for cover. I love a good cover tune and this playlist is developing fast and could be one of the longer ones. I’m open to any suggestions for great cover tunes! I have Arcade Fire doing Peter Gabriel’s ‘Games without Frontiers’ and Ryan Star’s affecting rendition of Tom Petty’s ‘I Won’t Back Down’ and the classic Jimi Hendrix version of Dylan’s ‘All Along the Watchtower. However I would like to develop this playlist with covers from all genres….hit me!

D is Dead. Lou Reed dying this week gave me motivation to start this one and I was able to add 43 songs to this list just from songs on my phone! TuPac to Johnny Cash!

The only other letter to date is I for Indulge and that list is a personal list of songs that are for me indulgent. Again a work-in-progress!!!!!!

So I as of you a few things….help me add to the lists I have going and give me suggestions for the letters I don’t. What the hell will X be? Comment here, email me at beatandlyric@gmail.com or post on the facebook page!

I look forward to your suggestions.


Hey Hey My My

Neil Young – icon.   But this isn’t a post about him.  The man is weird, writes a mean tune and is a living legend, and people cover his shit.  All.the.time.  Can’t say I blame them.

Driving today I heard one such cover.  Obsession took over.   Into the Black is a short song lyrically…..for the few words it really does say so much.  The Chromatics, a band from Portland Oregon takes this one make it dreamy and haunting, different intensity than the orignal but with the same brililance.  Admittedly I do not know the Chromatics beyond these last few moments, but I will by the end of week, that I can guarntee.

This is the second single from Kill For Love which was released on March 26th.  I’m off to listen to the rest and go back in their discography to see where and how they got here……what are you doing?

Into The Black







Joni Mitchell’s River – Cover Challenge

Here is Ryan Star covering River – from the An Alternative Christmas released in 2008.  Thanks to my twitter peep for uploading this to youtube!

Here is Robert Downey Jr. covering River – from my friend Sophie’s Facebook page, no idea why RDJ covers this song, I didn’t even know he could sing!

So which do you like best?  A poll below for fun.  We must apologize for the lack of posting on our blog, it’s just a busy time of year!!

Happy Holidays


A night of velvety goodness…

Typically I don’t get to see many shows unless I travel south.  So when my good friend Nom sends me a message about an art gallery (The Bohemian Gallery in Bracebridge) she is affiliated with is hosting musicians now for small intimate gigs then I jump at the chance.   Nom and I share many music likes (and dislikes) and she fits in with the groove that Betty Beat and I dance too.  I trusted that she wouldn’t take me to some off-the-wall artsy fartsy gig, and she didn’t.  Tammy at The Bohemian Gallery is a sweetheart and makes a mean cup o’ Joe, I will return.

The gig consisted of two young folk musicians.  Two cute Canadian boys from British Columbia, travelling across the country playing their tunes for anyone that will really listen, well I really listened.  I love their vibe, I loved their gumption to just travel and play anywhere.

First up – My Boy Rascal – Nom gave me a bit a background as she had youtubed to get a feel for what we were getting into that night.  She was bang on – he did have a Ben Harper vibe.  He played an eight song ‘unplugged’ set and I was a fan right at the first tune “OK”.  Nom and I had been chatting and prior to the show about cover songs, about the new show Cover Me Canada and about Betty’s previous blog post about covers and over-played music at her  job.  We were talking Alannah Myles and Black Velvet.    My Boy Rascal softly says after he played three original songs ‘this is a cover of a Canadian Classic, I think you will know it’.  I leaned to Nom and said ‘Black Velvet’ before one note was even played.  I nearly spit coffee across the gallery when I heard “Mississippi in the middle of a dry spell’.  Seriously, I must be musically psychic.  I loved it, even if I couldn’t look at Nom as she was red-faced and on the verge of tears.  It was a funny moment for us, but in an art gallery immersed in the mellow vibe of an amazing musician we had to contain it, we did and all was good.

Next up – Folk Thief – The first note in gave me the chill, the chill of nostalgia and he is clearly influenced by the country folk twang of Johnny Cash.   As I’ve blogged before, JC is a huge reminder of my Grandpa Smith, and I always appreciate the memory.   I didn’t just love Folk Thief’s tunes – the nine song set was completely original music, but his interaction with his intimate audience (and vibrant wee babe) was charming and entertaining.  The shoe stompin’ on the guitar case, the squeal of the strings all added to the great set. 

The final was a song where both My Boy Rascal and Folk Thief played together and it was a great close to the evening.

I’m a fan, and I will follow these boys virtual as the finish out their tour.  Look them up and give them a listen.

My Boy Rascal – http://music.myboyrascal.com/

Folk Thief – http://folkthief.com/home.cfm

And keeping in the ‘if you post/tweet it, I will listen’ theme of things, I found My Boy Rascal had posted a youtube video of ‘Black Velvet’




If you tweet it, I will listen……

When a certain twitter pal posts about music I listen. So here is a link to The Horrible Crowes, a side project by Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem.

Streaming here:


It’s good, but here in Canada again with iTunes the bonus track is left out. They put an interesting spin on “Joey” an old Concrete Blonde fav…..I will keep my eyes on the interwebz for a video/stream of this bonus track and post when I can, I’ve heard it and I say ‘LIKE’.


Song for Today – Three Way

Lila says I’ve been obsessing over the Sucker Punch soundtrack lately. She’s probably right. That’s what we do. Hear a song, or a group of songs and obsess over them. Interesting side note – Emily Browning, who plays Baby Doll in the movie also sings on the soundtrack. A feat I truly admire (I’ve been a fan of the Australian actress since watching Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events with the oldest Little Beat). Plus, she sings the songs well – for those keeping record, she is featured on Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics cover), Asleep (The Smiths cover) and Where is My Mind (Yoav performs, Emily is features – it is a Pixies cover).

Perhaps that is why I enjoy this soundtrack – there are a great number of cover songs and remixes. Bjork’s Army of Me remix being one of my favourites – although both Lila and I copped to having the Queen remix on our running list.

 Where is My Mind is the Song for Today. I’m serving up three versions – the original Pixies version, a Placebo cover (sigh, Placebo.. memories of my 20s) and the Yoav cover featuring Emily Browning. I’m still undecided which version I prefer over the others. Right now, it’s an equalized obsession. Listen and drop thoughts of your own.

Where is My Mind – Three Ways


From the Surfer Rosa album, circa 1988. The original good.


From the Sleeping With Ghosts disc, circa 2003.  It was a bonus track – a great bonus.

Yoav, Featuring Emily Browning

Obviously, the most recent, from the Sucker Punch soundtrack.  Side note – this isn’t the first time the Pixie’s song has been featured in film.  Most people will remember it best after the original Pixies version was featured on the Fight Club soundtrack.

Just for the sake of interest, apparently Arcade Fire has also covered this song in 2007, although I’ve yet to find a version.  Kings of Leon (who I’ll be seeing with my favourite Frenchie in October) also covered the song in many of their concerts in 2010.

Happy Listening!


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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Vy1OoBAL-E )

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.

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