[31 March 2008]
I’m currently enamored with Mechanical Bride’s dim lit dirge take on “Umbrella” and Taken By Tree’s suicidal rendition of “Sweet Child O’ Mine”. But I detect something of a rote, calculated maneuver in this gesture of ironically arranging despair around a song that’s more known for it’s upbeat, pop appeal. It reminds me of Bill Murray’s Nick the Lounge Singer routine, where popular songs are given a finger snapping, Wonderbread makeover in order to make them ready for hotel happy hour. At some point, I think this kind of trend also produces diminishing interpretive returns. I think it’s great when cover songs actually create new audible emphases, casting the original in wholly new emotional light. But finding the deepest depressive streak in a Top 10 single seems about as one-dimensional as some of the pop gloss the songs are tweaking. I also have to wonder aloud if the relationship of these covers to the original is derisive or complimentary. So far I’m easily amused by the beauty and the contrast, but I can easily see the day where I’m completely bored by say, a melancholy Hot Chip take on Lil’ Wayne.