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Under the Covers, Vol. 2

Under the Covers, Vol. 2

Under the Covers, Vol. 2

Last week, I introduced a brand new series to Electric Mohawk, called Under the Covers, which showcases 5 cover songs along with their originals and I pick which version I believe is better.  More importantly, I am using the series as a way of means to introduce new music to readers. In the first volume, we looked at covers by 10,000 Maniacs, 311, AFI, Alien Ant Farm, and Orgy.  All very good covers, and some of the decisions on the better version were very tough to call.

Now on to this week’s picks….

Anberlin – “Enjoy the Silence” (Depeche Mode)

Released as the second single from Violator on February 5, 1990, “Enjoy the Silence” is Depeche Mode’s signature song. It’s one of the most recognized songs of theirs and one of the most covered. I’m not sure when Anberlin originally recorded and released their take on the classic, but I do know that it’s readily available on their b-sides and rarities collection Lost Songs.

Original Version

Cover by Anberlin

Which is better?

The Anberlin version of this song is one of the better covers I’ve heard, but the vocals tend to get a little too whiny for my taste. Whiny vocals are a ball deal breaker for me, but I give them mad props for the guitar work done on this arrangement. The winner this round is Depeche Mode.

Fiona Apple – “Across the Universe” (The Beatles)

“Across the Universe” originally appeared on a charity album in 1969, but also released on the The Beatles’ final album Let It Be. Fiona Apple released her version of the song in 1998 for the Pleasantville soundtrack.

Original Version

Cover by Fiona Apple

Which is better?

I think Fiona Apple arranged a solid version of this song that I’m more inclined to listen to than the original a lot of times. I dig her approach and her vocals really demonstrate her talent as a musician. I’m gonna give Fiona the benefit of the doubt on this one. If we’re talking the Let It Be…Naked version, though, The Beatles win hands down.

Placebo – “Holocaust” (Big Star)

Big Star is one of those bands that not many people know much about. Do you know the theme song to That 70s Show? If you do, then you’ve been introduced to a Big Star song (the tv show’s version, starting with Season 2, is a cover by Cheap Trick) called “In the Street”. “Holocaust” appears on Big Star’s third album Third/Sister Lovers, originally released in 1978.  The Placebo version originally appears as a b-side on one of the “Slave to the Wage” singles, and again on a bonus disc/release called Covers.

Original Version

Cover by Placebo

Which is better?

This is a tough call. It really is, so I am going to measure it based on how long a person can listen to either version of the song without wanting to kill themselves. Seriously, folks, the song is that depressing. The Big Star version wins out as most depressing, but I think Placebo did a fine job polishing up the instrumentals on the song.

Puscifer – “Holiday on the Moon” (Love and Rockets)

“Holiday on the Moon” was on the original cassette and CD release of Express, the second album by Love and Rockets. In 2009, Maynard James Keenan of Tool and A Perfect Circle (under the moniker Puscifer) made a cover of the song for the tribute album New Tales to Tell: A Tribute to Love and Rockets.

Original Version

Cover by Puscifer

Which is better?

As much as I dig and respect the former members of Bauhaus, I found it really hard to get into the original version of this track, even though I heard it way before the Puscifer version. There’s just something that Maynard does when covering songs that transforms it into a new piece of music, interpretation, and art. Sorry, Love and Rockets, but Maynard did a fine job with this song.

Everclear – “Brown Eyed Girl” (Van Morrison)

The original “Brown Eyed Girl” was written and released by Van Morrison in 1967. Everclear covered the song and released it on their album Songs from an American Movie Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile, and was also the last single released from the album.

Original Version

Cover by Everclear

Which is better?

Do I really have to answer this? Love Everclear, but Van wins. Enough said.

That wraps up our second volume of Under the Covers. Miss last week’s article? Check out Under the Covers, Vol. 1.  As always, you can get the Spotify playlist for this edition.

Spotify URI Playlist
Spotify HTTP Playlist

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