It’s an immediate disaster. You just can’t do that. Especially not to great songs. You cover either very old songs (like, 30+ years), obscure songs or songs that weren’t that great. Like movie remakes.
Witness Metallica’s Garage Inc. A rock-solid album of cover songs.
Or you realize that cover songs are possibly the most subjective form of music in existence. Sadly, “Faith” is the song that launched Limp Bizkit’s career. Oh well. At least Fred Durst did something worthwhile.
Who cares if someone “mutilates” a cover? Most songs suck anyway, so why shouldn’t the occasional cover? Bad example, by the way-- Faith wasn’t that good as an original.
I agree that faithfully reproducing a song is a waste of time, but that leads to point three: I do want the cover to be genre-bending. Again, I think you picked a bad example. A better one might “American Woman” by the Butthole Surfers. Or “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” by John Zorn. I like when a band takes a song and plays with it, makes it their own, and creates something new.
I agree with Angie. Having seen NIN do it in concert made me like the song much more with the noise and the fog machines and the lights and the giant rotating screens.
Cash’s rendition made it almost a completely different song in tone and meaning. I believe I liked it even more.
That is what I do like about covers. Just as any one song can mean different things to different folks, they can be remade by different bands and take on whole new views and be just as good.
I liked the Faith remake to, FWIW. It is, obviously, nowhere close to what George meant for it, but it kicked much ass on the radio and in small clubs. Everyone seemed to love it when it came out. Now that it is cool to hate Limp Bizkit Faith is the worst remake ever made.
The Ataris remake is pointless. Its the same song only performed with a much less talented bunch of pseudo-rockers.
I’m a huge Residents fan, and a lot of their best music has been done as covers of other entertainers. “The King and Eye” is probably their best album after “The Commercial Album”, and they did an interpretation of “This is a Man’s World” that is just brilliant.
Radiohead’s cover of “The Spy who Loved me” was absolutely inspired, also managed to show a lighter side to the band. In a similar vein were Travis doing “Hit me Baby one more time” and Carter USM doing “Uh-oh we’re in trouble”. Covers often allow a band to experiment with material that they would not otherwise come up with and sometimes allow them to find more elements to their sound. However, I have to agree that a bad cover of a song you like can be the worst thing in the world evar.
I’m probably too old for this as I haven’t heard of half the bands you guys are talking about, but my ageing, failing memory remembers some pretty good covers of Dylan songs. The Byrds’ Mr. Tambourine Man and Hendrix’s version of Hey Joe come to mind.