I had this thought a while ago, but only today did I think about writing it down. Don’t worry, it won’t take long. It’s to do with covers of songs. More specifically it’s to do with how we judge them. We’ve been doing it wrong. Couldn’t help but sound like Teen Vogue or Buzzfeed for a second there and I apologise… “You’ve been pronouncing such and such all wrong!”. 9 times out of 10, I haven’t been. Anyway, before I wander too far from the subject, let’s get back to it. For starters, just so there is no confusion, let’s take a look at Wikipedia and find out what a cover is:
In popular music, a cover version, cover song, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording of a previously recorded, commercially released song by someone other than the original artist or composer.
Now let’s take a look at an example. Here is the original and cover of Got To Have Your Love.
So, is that a good cover, or not. The most common answer you’ll probably get is “No, it sounds exactly the same”. This is where we’ve been getting it wrong though. A good cover should sound more or less identical aside from maybe the vocals. When you go see a cover band, no one is ever happy if the band changes all the songs and puts their own spin on it. People expect cover bands to sound exactly like the original, which is precisely why that makes it a good cover.
What people should be expecting from artists that do other people’s songs is a rearranged version. Literally. The way the music is laid out and performed is the arrangement. This isn’t a cover, it’s a rearrangement. Example follows…
So yeah, stop calling them covers if they aren’t, and stop saying covers are bad when they’re not. Sort your fucking life out.