The first time you hear a good song, your mind attaches that singer to that song. It is how the song should sound. Some songs are just written by and/or for that specific singer and no one else can come close. However, what happens when another singer covers the song and does come close? Or *gasp* surpasses the original. Here are seven songs in that category that saved me this week.
7. “Something So Right” (Phoebe Snow – Never Letting Go — Original by Paul Simon) – Paul Simon is an all time favorite of mine, and I guarantee appear several times in this series over time. Phoebe’s voice always feels like an intimate conversation. It’s comforting, even when she’s singing about doubt and flaws and it shines through here.
6. “Superstar” (Sonic Youth – If I Were A Carpenter — Original by Carpenters) – Karen Carpenter’s voice was so rich here, the only person who actually surpassed her here was Luther Vandross. But Thurston Moore’s just-above-a-whisper vocals with intense guitar riffs makes me forget that this song was playing when Mark got all creepy and inappropriate with Juno.
5. “Hallelujah” (k.d. lang – Hymns of the 49th Parallel — Original by Leonard Cohen) – k.d. lang wraps this song around you and lovingly squeezes. I love her voice all the time, and with the added layer of longing she brings here, she sets herself apart from every other cover of this song. Yes, even Jeff Buckley’s.
4. “Killing Me Softly with his Song” (Fugees – The Score — Original by Roberta Flack) – Iconic. Lauryn Hill delivers. The original is perfect in its own way, with a hint of sad sweetness. Lauryn’s vocals add an element of “and who the hell does he think he is and what is he trying to pull,” without even trying. She is an amazingly talented vocalist. Wyclef’s production was the cherry on top.
3. “Valerie” (Amy Winehouse (Revisited w/Mark Ronson) Versions – Original by The Zutons) – I love this song because something about it feels like a throwback. The original is one of those cases of “like but didn’t love.” Amy’s BBC Radio 1 live cover added a bouncy soulfulness to it that made it feel like a smooth groove. Amy doesn’t really need much help when it comes to changing your life with a song. But Mark Ronson’s added touch makes something magical happen for me.
2. “She’s Always in My Hair” (D’Angelo – I have no idea where this studio version is…sorry — Original by Prince) – Prince heard someone else perform his song and wholeheartedly approved. That is all you need to know.
and one listen will make it haunt you for days. This would blow even Lenny Williams out of the water in a hurt-off.
You have all the links. Give the originals and the covers each a listen and get that salvation.