Hello, my darlings!
I know I’ve been gone for two weeks, but sometimes Adulting isn’t all excellent champagne and choosing your own bedtime and eating dessert first. Sometimes it’s two weeks of one sickness after the other, and Life isn’t even considerate enough to give you a least a day off between them all.
How very dare you, Life. Happens.
I think Husband and I are finally better, but this February winter storm business is making it really difficult to tell.
Look at this adorable face I have next to me to make it all better, though! I had a virus last week, so Husband had to keep her away from me…’displeased’ is a mellow adjective to use describe how she felt about that. She’s been glued to my side since. It’s adorable and distracting.
I mean, come on. Couldn’t you just!?
To make it up to you (and me!) for being gone, I have wayyy too many posts lined up for this week AND two guests with me for this post!
Two other music souls, Katelyn and Tori, are joining me here to talk about MUSIC. I’m so excited about this one, y’all.
You can blame Hozier and Annie Lennox for this post- their mashup at the GRAMMYs gave me chills and got me to thinking about a way I could write a blog about music.
Music is very much a part of my heart and my soul and sometimes, it is the only way I can interpret an emotion or release it. My music tastes are too eclectic to pin down and honestly, even I have no idea what Music Shan is going to want from day to day. All I know is that there is not a single day in my life that does not include music.
The one thing I do know Music Shan always loves? Covers of songs. Always. I’m always keeping an eye for good covers of songs that I can love just as much as the original song (and sometimes more.)
So I called my lovely Katelyn and she, in turn, grabbed her amazing friend Tori, and we decided to create playlists of our favourite covers of songs to share with all of you.
I created each playlist on Soundcloud, but I’m rather new to that site so… let me know if they aren’t working out. They should do, but let me know.
First up… my Dorito!
Katelyn is a recent college graduate and writer from Tennessee. She spent most of her college career learning how to help children of trauma and abuse victims. There is no other person in the world who could have her gorgeous, tender heart AND the ability to meet my sarcasm, quip by quip. I love this girl to absolute pieces. We didn’t make our playlists together, and I was terrified that they would be identical. Not exactly, but they DO both contain Birdy and a rap song that has been transformed into a mischievously funky acoustic number. That’s my girl. (Her cover choice by Sara Bareilles is the only ONLY version of that song I can handle. SORRY NOT SORRY, YALL.)
From Katelyn: “These covers are a mixture of songs I’ve always loved with fun new mixes (“Girls Just Want To Have Fun” and “Boys of Summer”) and songs that made me love the original (“Lilac Wine” and “Black and Gold”) When an artist does a cover of a song, it shows a more personal side of them. I love seeing well-known or favorite artists of mine doing a song that meant something to them. It shows that music impacts the artist just as much as it impacts me.”
Don’t miss the cover of “Sexy and I Know It” from her list- you won’t be sorry…except maybe when you’re accidentally singing it later and someone catches you.
Next up: Tori
Tori is an art student from Tennessee, whose music recommendations have had me seriously consider proposing to her, which is ridiculous because I am already married AND in love with Natalie Dormer. Stop being so awesome, Tori, gah! You know I’m spoken for! Tori’s playlist is a mix of playful and jazzy, and I love every second of it. There is a particularly good cover of “Why Don’t You Do Right?” by The Carolina Chocolate Drops HERE that I couldn’t find on SoundCloud, but I bought it immediately and you should too.
From Tori: I’ve always been a sucker for a good cover. Of course, the definition of a “good” cover varies from person to person. Do you stick close to the original? Flip it on its head? Either way, someone’s going to get offended. In my opinion, a good cover lies between those two extremes. The song is respectful to its original, to its bearing in the world, but it also allows for a new perspective. Often, that’s a new level of heartbreak. Or longing. Or loving. But the reiteration of lyrics you know and love by someone new just carves them deeper into your heart. Or it may bring you an appreciation to a song you would have never attached to in the first place. Covers allow a song to transcend any individual artist and live on its own in your consciousness. That’s why I love cover songs. These are my favorites, my idea of the cream of the crop. These are the songs that make me feel so strongly about covers in the first place.”
Don’t miss the cover of “Straight Up” from her playlist- Don’t lie to yourself…you know you love singing along to Paula Abdul!
And now for my choices…
I don’t know what it is about covers that draw me in, as a musician* and as a consumer of music. There is a certain delicate talent, I think, in taking a song, breaking it down and rearranging the bare parts into something more than what you started with.
It could be just a simple rearrangement of the song or a method to draw the lyrics into a brighter spotlight than the original offered. Or maybe it’s how some artists take an upbeat song and switch the key and the tempo until the new creation is a fascinating and melancholy juxtaposition of itself. Yes. YES. I like it all.
The covers I like don’t necessarily have to be shockingly different. The vinyl in the picture has Jeff Buckley’s cover of “Hallelujah” and while I adore that song more than ANY other version, Buckley didn’t reinvent the wheel in that studio. I walked down the aisle to The Civil Wars’ cover of “Dance Me To The End of Love” which is technically a “karakoke cover” of the original. There is just a certain spark, some emotion, some secret hidden in the song by the covering artists that I don’t think I’ll ever tire of discovering.
Sometimes it’s the lyrics, sometimes it’s the music, and sometimes it’s the minor key. (It’s always the minor key.)
But I DO take a perverse pleasure in hearing a rap song or bubbly Top 40 pop song turned into a deliciously boozy jazz song that positively melts into your ears makes you want to slink into some speakeasy with pearls and dance the night away. **
Don’t miss the cover of “Bad Moon Rising” on my list- I CANNOT choose a favourite, but that one is something special.
I discovered it while watching Teen Wolf. I love my sister SO MUCH for bearing with me through my binge of the show (from a different hemisphere, no less!) and never once spoiling me on the AWESOME SCENE with AWESOMER MUSIC that was going to BLOW MY MIND IN AWESOMEST WAY. Thanks, Banana. I owe you one.
Cheers! (And many thanks to Katelyn and Tori for sticking with this idea and not shattering completely when I gave them a song limit for the playlist. You girls are too good to me!)
*In the LOOSEST sense of the term. Literally. The very, VERY LOOSEST. I’m not telling you how long it’s been since I graduated and therefore played an instrument or sang for an audience. I’m not embarrassed, I just don’t do math or count dates very well (or like other humans, apparently) and I don’t want to shock myself. I’m very fragile, you know.
** Lana Del Rey’s cover of “Once Upon A Dream” was too well-known*** for us to add it to these lists, but MAN, DO I LOVE THAT SONG.
***Yes, I KNOW you saw the commercial with “500 Miles” and I DON’T CARE.