I’ve been listening to lot of covers this past week. The Across the Universe OST, The Mamma Mia OST, Perfect Circles cover of John Lennon’s Imagine, a musician friends cover of Pearl Jam’s Just breathe. Don’t wrinkle your nose. A lot of times, at gigs, when amateur artistes start their set with a cover or two, they’re all these annoying hipsters/indie lovers who grumble and groan because they want original tunes. I personally love covers whether they’re sung by amateurs or professionals and I really think there’s no greater tribute than starting a set, or including a song on an album with a song that’s your version of someone else’s creativity. And as a listener, it’s always amazing to listen to these interpretations of your favourite songs.
For instance, the only thing that connects me to Glee, a show I don’t follow at all, is the fact that it has covers from artists I like. Yeah, sometimes they get commercial and annoying but I can just skip those particular episodes and move on the one’s that I like. Win win.
As far as I’m concerned, Across the Universe had the most rewarding covers I’ve ever heard. First off, the movie was just amazing. Each song had a different angle, added to the plot and were beautifully rendered. The happy-sounding I wanna hold your hand? Suddenly, a yearning plea. If I fell in love again, when sung by a girl, takes on a whole new meaning. The cinematography of I am the walrus, and being for the benefit of Mr Kite, made all the difference to songs that are mostly gibberish, lyrically-speaking. That’s another thing about Across the universe. The film wasn’t just a plot strung through with musical numbers. It had subtext. Beatles moments, that are ingrained in a pop culture consciousness, were brought out- the rooftop concert, for instance. The movie had big shoes to fill and they walked a mile or so in them to boot.
Mamma Mia, which came later, not so much. There was no originality in any of the old Abba favourites. Gimme a man after midnight? Sure, let’s bung it in at a bachelorette party filled with horny women. Does your mother know? Cougar to young beach boy. Take a chance on me? Yeah, if its sung by a woman who wants to get with a man who just got available, that’s totally original. Just make it funny and everything’s forgiven. There’s really nothing to be said about a film so insipid, that even Meryl Streeps’ cheekbones and kind eyes, couldn’t save it. Then again, it did have that plastic looking Amanda Seyfried. I’ve never liked that chick.