March 11, 2008

Tuneful Tuesday Part 1

(Tuneful Tuesday happens when my Music Monday post is a day late. As they have been a lot lately.)

Kat from The Secret Life of Kat has a meme each Monday that I think I'm going to start taking part in, if only to get me actually doing the music blogging thing again. This week, the topic is cover songs.

I love cover songs -- it's always fun to see what new interpretation a different band can bring to an old song. I used to have several tapes full of cover songs; one of the first podcasts I subscribed to was Coverville. But a recent post at PCCBoard got me thinking about covers again.

Here's the cover -- my take on it is below the fold:
Nena's original song was more than just a catchy tune and interesting lyrics. It was social commentary about WWIII written by the people who had the most to lose -- Germans. When the song came out, it was a given that NATO and the Warsaw Pact would meet on the border between East and West Germany and duke it out for Total Global Domination(tm). A song in German about a simple mistake that turns into WWIII had an impact -- especially the lyric "This is what we've waited for/This is it, boys, this is war." The attitude that war was coming no matter what, and the folks in power were just looking for an excuse, was powerful back then, just because of the devastation that such a war would produce on a global level.

Fast forward 20 years or so. We're IN a war that many people believe was declared on evidence that was as flimsy as 99 red balloons. People believe that the war in Iraq was inevitable -- President Bush was just waiting for an excuse, and he got it. But now we have the song covered by an American band, in a much more aggressive style. Probably fitting, but the song has a far different impact today than the original did. This isn't the song of a people caught in the middle of someone else's fight. This is the aggressor -- the people who are involved in the war, the stronger nation, the super power. Singing about a mistake made that ignited the conflict. Totally different feel to me.

Based just on the music, I like Goldfinger's version better. I like that style of music. But seen as a whole, I'm still partial to Nena's original, especially the ending. The sad, somber ending doesn't seem to fit Goldfinger's cover at all.

One of my favorite covers, though, is Ghoti Hook's cover of "I Love Rock and Roll." This video was filmed at their last Cornerstone appearance in 2002.

And then, of course, there's Pillar covering U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday" (NOT the official video, BTW):

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