The art of the well-done cover song is a tricky one. We've already seen how bad things can get in the vast realm of YouTube. But covering a popular song is, as my friend Steve would say, a total stitch-up. If you play it safe, and keep your version relatively similar to the original, it inevitably begs the question-- why even attempt a cover in the first place? On the other hand, if you truly make it your own, you risk butchering something that people already love just the way it is. This is why an well-executed cover is extra impressive. In this weekly column, we'll feature one super version worth checking out.
Florence and the Machine, "Addicted to Love"
Original by Robert Palmer
At first I thought it was because Florence Welch is perfect and everything she sings turns to gold, and so in my ceaseless envy thought to myself, "Hell no, there's no way she's going to be featured in the inaugural installment of Take Cover." But then I heard her cover Beirut's pitchy ballad "Postcards from Italy," and it was only lackluster, effectively curbing my jealousy enough to fully support this outstanding version of an 80s classic. Welch has managed somehow to strain out the 80's pop entirely from this and replace it with a healthy dose of attitude and rhythm-and-blues sensibilities. Her impeccable a capella vocals lure you in from the start, layered over some restrained piano tinkling until after the first chorus. From there, she takes off, soaring and foot-stomping with a dark, slightly haunting soulful vibe a la John Fogerty. Check out Palmer's version and amusing music video after the jump.
-- Caroline Klibanoff, Host "Melodious Intoxication," Thursdays 12-2 pm on WGTB