time to change the way we view music and the arts

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery or It Can Just Fall Flat

Simply a post for observing and feeling –not necessarily heavy thinking and analysis. (After sitting through Mahler in my last post, I think everyone deserves a break, hm?)

During an hour or so of perusing Google’s News search for industry chatter, I came across three covers of different songs that all occurred within the start of this month. Each song deviated markedly from the given style of the artist doing the performance, in one way or another. My reactions went from positively impressed to unfavorably bored to a balance in between the two. Cover performances usually hear artists doing one of a few things:

A) Performing a song in the style of their own music, therefore possibly changing the sound drastically if the song genre is significantly distant from the performer

B) Attempting to perform in a style as akin to the original artist as much as possible and simply showcasing whatever differences are unavoidable (e.g. vocal articulation) and getting a compliment of an interpretation or,

C) Trying to pull off “B” but doing so poorly, showing that the artist may not know when a style is out of their executable reach, whether because of musical or vocal disparity.

The covers I heard?
American, Rock / Alternative Metal group Linkin Park performing British, Blues / R&B singer, Adele‘s, “Rolling in the Deep.”

British, Pop-Rock / Soft Rock singer, James Blunt performing American, Pop-Rock / Dance-Pop singer, Katy Perry‘s “California Gurls” and

American, Pop-Rock singer, Nick Jonas performing American, Pop-Rock / Dance-Pop singer, Lady Gaga‘s “The Edge of Glory.”

Linkin Park’s lead vocalist Chester Bennington is quoted as saying “It feels good to be down here with a bunch of people who really want to f-ing be here.” The Adele cover was fitting for and appealing to the crowd from this year’s (London based) iTunes Festival.

In Blunt’s small clip after his performance for the online video series, “Mashup Mondays,” he tells Billboard.com, “I suppose I’ve always admired her cause I think she’s just got great hands, so I was just trying to emulate that a little bit and I sing like a girl myself, so why not?” (Not sure what great hands have to do with singing… but they’re his feelings I guess.)

And in the case of Nick Jonas, during a concert at the Westfield Century City Mall, he soloed out Gaga’s single after asking the audience if he could “play a couple of songs [he] like[s] from pop radio right now [and] Would that be OK?” His feelings on the song are further expressed when he replies to Gaga on Twitter after receiving her compliments, saying “The pleasure is all mine. That is a beautiful song. Keep inspiring the world.”

At the very least, regardless of how anyone might feel about the way the songs came across, it’s clear all the covers were chosen or put out there because of admiration and respect for the artists (and their fans), based on what the three performers had to say to the public.

Which of my scenarios for covers do you feel applies to each performance? Have a different opinion than the ‘choices’ I laid out?

Linkin Park

James Blunt

Nick Jonas

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