Wait, How’s That Not A Cover?

I am a HUGE fan of cover songs. I should be more specific, I’m a HUGE fan of cover songs that honor the original songwriter by reinterpreting the track with something new, fresh, or different than it was originally conceived. Otherwise it’s just a tribute song. There’s a big different (to me anyways) between a tribute and a cover. Too many songs that are presented as covers really just sound exactly like the original, with maybe a slightly different sound due to the singer. That’s lame. A great cover stands on its own. It’s the same effect that is experienced when you talk with Millennials or Gen Y-ers who think that Johnny Cash was the author of Hurt (really by NIN, or Trent Reznor more specifically). I’ve heard a lot of people say Hurt is their favorite Cash song. Cash’s version is so vastly different than Reznor’s that it stands on its own. That’s a kick ass cover.

Suffice to say that my love for great cover songs (see The Civil Wars take on I Want You Back for another great stand-alone) has led me down some interesting roads. Sometimes the quest for great cover songs happens by accident, such as stumbling upon a song hidden in a new album that wasn’t a hit originally but was a favorite of the band/artist covering it (see Nada Surf‘s version of OMD‘s If You Leave on the OC Vol. 2 soundtrack). Sometimes it’s doing a search for a song I like that I hope someone has covered. Strangely, there’s a lot of great music that hasn’t been covered yet by anyone, good or bad. This should be remedied, but I’ll leave that to people with better musical talent than I.

In this search, I’ve found a lot of music that has the same title as a very famous song, or one that sounds so esoteric that it should be a cover. However, after listening to this song it turns out to be a completely original song and not a cover at all. This leads to be scratching my head (or actually my goatee) and asking the question in the title of this post. Sometimes this realization that what I hoped was a cover isn’t can be disappointing. Other times it’s another great dish-covery in music and finding flavors I might not have ever experienced.

That’s why on the upcoming episode of The Appetizer radio program, I’ll be serving up music in pairs that have the same title, but are vastly different songs. It’s interesting to think of the billions and billions of songs that have been written in the last 100 years or so, we have so many original compositions made daily and we’re not rewriting other people’s stuff without knowing it. That does happen, I realize, but not as much as it seems like it could. So in a fashion you’re used to I’ll be serving up songs with the same title in different genres that share only a name but not melody, lyrics, or other ingredients.

Don’t forget that you can hear it right here on our page. I’m posting new episodes the Friday of our broadcast weekend. So if you hear it on public radio and want to go back and listen again, or if you want to just tune in here, you can do so. One other note regarding the show, starting on July 20th weekend, we’ll be broadcasting our program in 2 hour increments instead of one. That’s more music for you each week to dine on. Contact your local station for air times, or once again dine with us RIGHT HERE. Thanks.

Here’s a sample of what I’m talking about with same title, different song and two tracks I’ll feature this week:



DGrantSmith

Host of the syndicated radio program The Appetizer heard on public radio across Texas and online from our Listen Now link; enjoys conversations, music, food, art, storytelling, and people. Connect with me. Would love to hear from you.

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