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Five Song covers that are better than the original

Covers are often given a bad name. People see artists who cover others’ work as “unoriginal” and “copycats”. While I, too, grew tired of seeing endless covers of Anna Kendrick’s (originally Lulu and the Lampshades’) “Cups” popping up on my news feed every day, not all covers are irritating.

In fact, some are absolutely fantastic and give the original song a run for its money. Although it’s common to hear, “I like it, but the original was better,” when a cover of a song comes on, there are times when this statement is completely false. Here are five times that the cover completely annihilated the original:

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“In addition to her heartbreaking lyrics, JoJo’s sultry R&B vocals make the cover infinitely better than the original.”

1) “Marvin’s Room” cover by JoJo (original song by Drake)

While the original song by Drake was great, JoJo’s cover was absolutely phenomenal. The female singer/ songwriter completely rewrote the lyrics so to present them from a girl’s perspective that perfectly captures the pain of going through a breakup and seeing your ex with someone else. In addition to her heartbreaking lyrics, JoJo’s sultry R&B vocals make the cover infinitely better than the original.

2) “Tainted Love” cover by Hannah Peel (original song by Soft Cell)

Featured on American Horror Story, Hannah Peel’s version of the 1980’s hit song is pleasantly creepy. Peel’s rendition replaces the backup instruments with an electric sound that sounds eerily like a music box. The song not only works perfectly with the theme of the show, but also makes Soft Cell’s original track irrelevant.

3) “House of the Rising Sun” cover by Lauren O’Connell (original song by The Animals)

This song has been covered a million times by a plethora of extremely talented artists, however, Lauren O’Connell’s take on the classic song is so haunting that you can’t get it out of your head for days. The chilling cover was featured in the season three promo for American Horror Story and since then has become one of the most popular covers of the 1960’s hit.

4) “Hotline Bling” cover by Sam Smith & Dispatch (original song by Drake)

Let me start this by saying that I love Drake. He’s extremely talented. But you just can’t beat Sam Smith’s vocals with anything. Sam Smith could sing an album of children’s songs and I’d buy it. That being said, this cover is amazing and Sam Smith was born to cover this song. Sorry, not sorry, Drake.

5) “Sally’s Song” cover by Amy Lee (original song by Catherine O’Hara as part of “The Nightmare Before Christmas”)

Amy Lee, the lead singer of the gothic rock band, Evanescence, was asked to cover the iconic song from the Disney movie, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” for a special edition of the soundtrack featuring covers from a bunch of talented musicians. Everyone knew that Lee could sing, but I don’t think anyone expected how brilliant this cover would turn out. While the original song will always have its allure for the fans of the movie, Amy Lee’s version completely blows it out of the water.

I definitely recommend checking out all of these awesome covers and don’t be so quick to dismiss a song in the future just because it’s not an original- it may surprise you.

Ryan Adams vs. Taylor Swift

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that singer-songwriter, Ryan Adams has just come out with a cover of Taylor Swift’s entire album, 1989. Ryan Adams is mostly famous for his covers of popular songs such as Oasis’ “Wonderwall”. Despite covering many artists’ songs, Adams always finds his own sound, making his covers extremely unique.

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“Despite covering many artists’ songs, Adams always finds his own sound, making his covers extremely unique.”

He made the decision to cover Swift’s newest album while going through a divorce with his spouse, Mandy Moore. Of the album, Adams said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly “there are elements that describe these situations—that describe interactions and the world of romance and the confusion of being alive and knowing how you fit in—all that stuff is there. It’s what we write about.”

While some fans were initially miffed at the prospect of their favorite songs being made over, as soon as Adams’ album dropped it became an instant success, albeit receiving mixed reviews.

Ian Crouch, in an article for The New Yorker,

describes Adams’ cover as “more sincere and sentimental than the original,” while others at Rolling Stone write it off as “melancholy”. One thing is for certain though, from his low tempo rendition of the pop hit, “Blank Space” to his chilling version of “Bad Blood,” Ryan Adams has created an album to rival the original.

While Swift’s sound is very “Top 40’s” pop, Adams’ has a much more “indie rock” meets “90’s alternative” vibe, causing the songs to sound vastly different than their originals. Ryan Adams’ versions of Swift’s songs are much less upbeat and sadder provoking many to speculate that the pain that Adams pulls from Swift’s music sets him above her talent-wise.

I, however, feel that Adams’ heartbreaking renditions of the “1989” tracks simply present Swift’s lyrics in a different light. Taylor Swift has released heart-wrenching albums before, such as “Red“. Her songs are naturally sad and full of disappointment over failed relationships.

Instead of playing up that aspect of her lyrics on “1989,” Swift instead masked the underlying pain with catchy dance beats. Adams’ take on Swift’s songs brings this hurt to light.

One twist that Adams’ takes with Swift’s songs that critics have yet to mention is the “80’s rock” feel to tracks such as, “Welcome to New York” and “I Know Places”. In fact each song on the album sounds like it’s from a different era of rock ranging from the 80’s to today. This nostalgic feel works well with the title of the album.

Both albums are truly phenomenal; Taylor Swift is a terrific performer as well as songwriter. However, Ryan Adams’ covers took an album that could’ve almost been written off as “cheesy pop” and gave it back the meaning that the lyrics demanded. While Adams’ album won’t get you amped up for a night out on the town like Swift’s original will, it’s amazing easy listening music and deserves five out of five stars.

Bloody fun times with “The Family”

There’s nothing quite like some charming French scenery, an exploding grocery store and Tommy Lee Jones to make a movie great.

For anyone who enjoys the mob-movie stylings of “Goodfellas” and Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic “Godfather” trilogy, “The Family” offers a darkly comedic modern twist on the tale of a good old boy behaving badly — since in this case, the Maznoni clan is (theoretically) trying to be good.

Continue reading Bloody fun times with “The Family”

BTO vs. Pinkberry: Radford restaurant reviews

BTO Self-Serve Yogurt is quite popular among Radford University students, but does it actually deserve its reputation?

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Mmmmmmmmmm. Photo from Creative Commons.

The answer is maybe, depending on what you’re looking for. BTO does have good frozen yogurt, and it also provides a hangout place that’s off campus and alcohol free; but the yogurt at BTO is comparable to the yogurt at Pinkberry in both price and quality. Continue reading BTO vs. Pinkberry: Radford restaurant reviews