Cover songs are nothing out of the ordinary. Cover albums on the other hand remain a strange, seldom-seen curio. It’s quite rare that a single artist will devote themselves to remaking an entire album by another band, ropey reggae reworkings of classic records (‘Dub Side Of The Moon’, ‘Radiodread’ and so on) aside. The Walkmen took on Harry Nilsson and John Lennon’s 1974 collaboration ‘Pussy Cats’ a few years back. Then there’s Beck’s Record Club to consider, which saw the Californian kook team up with everyone from St. Vincent to Liars to cover albums by the Velvet Underground, Leonard Cohen and more between 2009 and 2010. More recently, The Flaming Lips announced plans to tackle the Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’. Otherwise, it’s pretty much slim pickings.
Maybe if more were of the sparkling standard of rising Aussie troubadour Courtney Barnett’s spin on INXS classic ‘Kick’, posted online this week, more artists would give it a go. Putting a grainy, bluesy tint on tracks like ‘Devil Inside’ and ‘Need You Tonight’, it’s a sweet tribute to her fellow Aussies’ finest record – neither too close nor too far from the source material. Give it a listen below.
It got us chatting here in the office: what record would you love to see your favourite artist cover from start to finish? I’d love to see Kanye take on Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ – not only because his 2010 epic ‘Monster’ this generation’s answer to that album’s horror-themed title track, but because no one else understands the intense public scrutiny and media gaze MJ wrote that album under like Yeezy. Elsewhere, there were suggestions that Prince take on ‘OK Computer’: “He did an AMAZING cover of ‘Creep’ at Coachella in 2008. Imagine his coruscating guitar solos on ‘Paranoid Android’,” said Lucy Jones. “Sonic Youth should do a full Carpenters album. The Ciccone Youth cover of ‘Superstar’ is amazing and Thurston is obsessed with Karen – they wrote ‘Song for Karen’ for her,” said Jenny Stevens. Eve Barlow, meanwhile, reckons “Haim should DEFINITELY cover Destinys Child’s ‘The Writing’s On The Wall’.”
But how about you all at home? Should Kasabian prove themselves as heirs to Oasis’s everyman rock group throne with a version of ‘Definitely Maybe’? Should Jake Bugg hit back at his critics who say he’s a miserable grump by covering Hall and Oates’ ultra-cheery Greatest Hits? Could Speedy Ortiz do a decent job on Blur’s ‘Think Tank’? Hit us with your suggestions and we’ll post the best next week…