Antony’s heartwrenching take on “Crazy In Love” last night capped off a week where cover songs were seemingly dropping into my lap on a daily basis. Why not take time out of your schedule to enjoy them now?
Kelly Clarkson, “My Man” (originally by Fanny Brice)
Kelly Clarkson’s show at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday was marked by a fair amount of covers—not too surprising, since she rose to stardom through the other-peoples’-music heavy American Idol. Her version of Florence + the Machine’s “Heavy In Your Arms” was stark, with only a drummer and a super-fuzzed-out bassist accompanying her for the bulk of the performance (who knew that Kelly Clarkson would make me think about godheadSilo for the first time in months?). But when she covered this standard, which served as her tribute to Broadway (Barbra Streisand performed it in Funny Girl), the room lit up.
Arctic Monkeys, “Katy On A Mission” (originally by Katy B)
Wednesday night I saw the pop-dubstep star Katy B for the third time, and her show was a lot of fun; she was charming from show one but she’s definitely refined her approach to winning over a crowd, and perhaps next time she won’t even need a hypeman to help her out. This cover transforms her signature song from a jittery dancepop tune into something that might better describe a night at one of those giant dive bars that seem to exist in towns where there isn’t much else going on.
Shyvonne, “Show Me Love” (originally by Robin S)
Opening for Katy B was the R&B singer Shyvonne, who showed off her pipes with a cover of this ’90s WKTU classic and won me over by absolutely nailing it.
Greg Dulli, “Paper Thin Hotel” (originally by Leonard Cohen)
Rolling Stone is celebrating the release of Leonard Cohen’s very good Old Ideas with a battery of covers of the troubadour’s back catalog. I guarantee you none of the ones posted over the coming weeks will be as brain-meltingly good as this one. (Only four months until the Afghan Whigs reunion! Will they do “Beware”? Oh, whatever, I’d be 100% fine with watching Greg Dulli rip his heart to shreds via, I don’t know, singing a collection of takeout menus.)
Mike Patton and the Dillinger Escape Plan, “Like I Love U” (originally by Justin Timberlake)
Last night at the Antony show SOTC’s Michael Tedder asked me what I thought of the Beyoncé cover. When I told him I loved it he seemed confused, thanks to my recent crusade against white people being all ha-ha with hip-hop. No, I said, what matters in the unexpectedly-covering-pop-songs game is respect for both the composition and the mechanics behind it working on a pure-pleasure level. This cover, from a concert in 2002 and passed along to me by SOTC pal-for-life Chris Weingarten, also qualifies. Also, what a way to segue into a Melvins set!