This weeks’ playlist idea, Pulled Back Covers. These artists took a favorite track of theirs and stripped it down to the essentials while maintaining the integrity of the original and, in some cases, improving on the source material. Great to drop at cocktail parties and chill gatherings, and instant conversation starters, these relaxed covers are a great when played along side the original to spark maximum debate.
- Let’s Dance. M. Ward – This deliciously slinky rendition of David Bowie’s dance classic manages to make the invitation seem even more sexy and forbidden.
- Straight Outta Compton. Nina Gordon. – Such a strange thing to hear such a beautiful, angelic voice dropping gangsta rhymes. Even stranger that it works so well.
- The Way You Make Me Feel. Paul Anka. – If you’re gonna cover the gloved one you’ve got to take it in a completely different direction. Anka does just that on this lounge-y piece of brilliance.
- Down With the Sickness. Richard Cheese. – Another in the Sinatra vein, Mr. Cheese’s remake of Disturbed’s ode to embracing the crazy first got my attention for the way it was used in “Dawn of the Dead” (itself a remake). For some reason, this version feels even more appropriately insane than the original.
- Light My Fire. Jose Feliciano. – Using the spanish guitar as substitute for the late Jim Morrison’s panache, Jose lays into this one with all he’s got.
- Lay Lady Lay. Magnet. – Who wouldn’t want to cover Dylan? But to do it well is a whole other matter. Magnet is up the the challenge on this homage to all things female.
- I’ll Melt With You. Nouvelle Vague. – This 80′s classic never sounded better than it does on this updated offering featured in Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
- Boyz N The Hood. Dynamite Hack. – The leader of the pack in the white-guy-does-humerous-take-on-gangsta-rap genre. Eazy-E would roll over in his grave but this one still makes me smile.
- Such Great Heights. Iron and Wine. – Gentle guitar and whispered lyrics lead the way in a delicately handled reworking of the track that put The Postal Service on the map.
- Wonderwall. Ryan Adams. – One of my generation’s anthems is updated by one of the most talented original artists working in the music business. And though Ryan Adams has an entire catalog of his own material, this one rides the top of his sales charts.