s skippy the bush kangaroo: you can't judge a song by its cover part two

skippy the bush kangaroo

Sunday, July 02, 2006

you can't judge a song by its cover part two

the scissor sisters - comfortably numb

when amanda of pandagon was "covering" for michael berube at his blog, she mused about the best cover songs of all time (she loved devo for their covers). we opined that aside from the flying lizards "money," the best cover of all time was probably sinead o'connor doing "nothing compares 2 u."

but we had not yet even heard of the scissor sisters.

named after and interesting position that lesbians engage in, this group out of new yawk has done an incredibly imaginative cover of pink floyd's "comfortably numb."

the scissor sisters manage to take floyd's laconic, ennui-laden whine and turn it into a dreamy disco surreal anthem about anesthetising yourself with partying until you can't feel any more.

other covers of this song (most noticably by smashing pumpkins) seem to simply re-score, rather than re-interpret, gilmore's frozen world-weariness. we love the sisters' bee gee falsettos and rip-off of stayin' alive on the hook "i-yi-yi have become (come) com-fortably numb."

a good cover goes past the orchestrations and beat, the musical components of a song, and aims straight to the emotional content of the piece, deconstructs it, then re-imagines that content in a new way.

that's why soft cell's "tainted love/where did the love go" is brilliant, and why the pussycat dolls cover of the exact same two songs is lame. come on, girls, think of your own two songs to meld together! oh, that's right, the pussycat dolls are as much a real band as the banana splits ever were (perhaps even less. any band with paul winchell and daws butler on vocals is pretty damn rockin'! and, we bet more approachable)!

posted by skippy at 10:21 PM |


if you want a cover version of comfortably numb that surpasses the original listen to van morrison doing it. it's more accessible now that scorcese used it in "the departed."
commented by Blogger The Minstrel Boy, 8:27 AM PST  

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