Today’s vocabulary word is “leverage,” and I don’t mean the TV show about happy-go-lucky con artists who police the global economy but can’t figure out how to date. I have leveraged my blog into a regular slot at www.thenervousbreakdown.com, and if you enjoy what I’m dishing out here I hope you’ll visit me there. My first post is up and it’s about my voyage to extreme manliness. My second post will probably be about how to turn blogging into cash money. Special D will be especially interested in that one.

What then is the future of Run-DMSteve? I’ll continue to write about music here, as I still have plenty of elitist opinions, judgments, and body slams to dispense. My goal is to post to each place once every two weeks, on alternating weeks. If that turns out to be overly ambitious I’m sure I’ll complain about it. If you’d like to be alerted, or warned, that I’ve published something, you can subscribe to my little corner of The Nervous Breakdown just as you can subscribe to me here.

The Clash sang, “Know your rights/all three of ’em.” I’d like to thank my readers, all three of ’em, for your continuing flow of encouragement, comments, and surplus food.

Cover me
It seems to me that there are four types of covers:

1)     You can transform the original and make it your own.
2)     You can fail to transform the original and make everyone laugh at you.
3)     You can transform the original but no one cares.
4)     You can hew close to the original but still rule by simply changing the vocal.

Transformation and total ownership: The Clash’s “I Fought the Law.” The original, by The Crickets, doesn’t measure up. (The Bobby Fuller 4 version doesn’t cut it, either.)

Failure to thrive: Hall & Oates going postal on “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.”

A tree falls in a forest and nobody hears it: The Charlie Hunter Trio’s “Come As You Are.” This jazz version of the grunge anthem is fantastic, but Charlie Hunter is not going to make anyone forget Nirvana, not even on an album that includes the evocative “Fistful of Haggis.”

That leaves the miracle of a good voice. Here are two examples:

Chris Isaak, “I Want You to Want Me”: Musically, this one’s close to the Cheap Trick original, and it makes me realize the main reason I dislike Cheap Trick – the lack of a decent singer. Chris Isaak usually makes you cry but here he’s almost exultant.

Elizabeth Harper & The Matinee, “Pictures of You”: This Elizabeth Harper is not the 7-foot Amazon who married Dennis Kucinich. Her wistful voice is perfectly suited to this classic from The Cure:

I’ve been looking so long at these pictures of you
That I almost believe that they’re real
I’ve been living so long with my pictures of you
That I almost believe that the pictures are all I can feel

Compared to Elizabeth Harper, Robert Smith sang the original as if he and his emotions were spending the night in separate rooms. Harper and her band add a couple of strategic pauses, but otherwise it’s her voice that brings the song home.

“Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”
A while back I wrote about a startling trend in naming songs: using four consecutive nouns. Here’s a statistical offshoot. If you haven’t spent some time singing “Na na na na, na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, good-bye,” you’ve at least heard other people doing it. And in either case I’m sure you’re sorry.

It took 40 years, but this “song” by “Steam,” a band that never existed, has spawned what I thought at first was a sequel: “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” by My Chemical Romance. A close examination of both works reveals that the only element they share is the doo-wop na na nas. While I give MCR credit for rhyming “From mall security” with “Get plastic surgery,” their paranoid drug rant is not going to become a staple at sporting events anytime soon. Hey hey hey, good-bye.

Comments
  1. Sherry says:

    That was a weight off my mind..

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