Will Bueché

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Music explorations of Black Friday

Posted in Personal by Will on Friday, November 28th, 2008 ~ 6pm

So… I “braved” the non-existent crowds today, the supposed uber-shopping day of the year. The crowds were not around, at least not in this hamlet. I set out with the intent not to succumb to low prices for things that I do not need. And I succeeded. When everyone is saying “times are tight”, it reinforces restraint. I spent only $20 — on four used CDs and 1 dvd.

My Music Discovery of the Day is different, in that here I am only saying that I liked some cover songs, NOT that I liked the bands beyond their covers.

I was searching for cover versions of Queen’s “Under Pressure” and the other Queen ballad “Who Wants To Live Forever”. There are many cover performances of these songs, and about a third of them are good! (I was reading about Highlander recently, thus the interest in the signature song from the films and tv series.)

  • Xiu Xiu do a nice cover of “Under Pressure”. I found their album Woman As Lovers today at Bart’s for $4. UPDATE: The rest of Xiu Xiu’s album is just noise. Only the cover song is any good.
  • Jennifer Rush (with guest Brian May from Queen) does a strong version of “Who Wants To Live Forever” that is only marred by supporting vocals that sound as if they’re by someone who studied under Andrew Lloyd Webber. I don’t plan to explore Ms Rush beyond that one song, because her collagen-injected lips frighten me — however, of all the bands mentioned in this entry, she appears to be the most professional singer.
  • Dune, a now-defunct Swedish group, does a new age version of “Who Wants To Live Forever” that sounds just like — but predates — Sarah Brightman‘s version of “Who Wants To Live Forever”. Both Dune and Brightman’s versions are worth keeping but neither “own” the song. I listened to some other music by Dune and I can’t recommend them. Sarah Brightman — a Broadway performer who, come to think of it, has sung in several Andrew Lloyd Webber productions — has the better voice, but be warned her albums are adult-contemporary.
  • Breaking Benjamin does a strangely accented version of “Who Wants To Live Forever” with a male lead, and though it threatens to be radio-friendly, I want to check out more of Breaking Benjamin in case some of the quirky bits indicate that the band has some original style. See comments for more about them — I am endorsing them in an extremely limited fashion: only for angry moods. They’re too heavy metal for me, though some reviewers suggest they are starting to mellow.

Moral of this blog entry is that cover tune performances cannot be used to judge music groups, but, sometimes even bands that one does not like can turn in a cover that will be worth hearing.

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  1. bassist said,

    on November 28th, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Xiu Xiu is some rough music. They were THE indie show to go to several years ago when I caught them live. I hadn’t actually listened to their stuff, so I was stunned when they were so out there and experimental, with screeching sounds permeating the entire venue. It’s possible you’ll like them, but for me, it was painful.

    Breaking Benjamin surprised me with how solid they were. Some of their stuff was just reasonable, but most was pretty good. Even my Dad liked them.

  2. Will said,

    on November 30th, 2008 at 12:06 am

    I listened to Xiu Xiu’s music, and it was painful and sounded really self-indulgent of the singer — he gasps his lyrics as if they were so important that they cause him to shudder, while various noises happen around him. Bleh.

    I will pick up the used Breaking Benjamin disc (I believe it was priced low) per your liking them well enough.

  3. Will said,

    on November 30th, 2008 at 2:01 am

    …I am listening to We Are Not Alone by Breaking Benjamin and although much of it is sort of heavy metal, the singer only uses a Cookie Monster voice some of the time. Other times, he actually sings properly, and there are interludes of quieter, non-metal material. I think I’d like this for certain moods (angry moods). I think the used CD I spotted at Bart’s CDs is Phobia (2006). I wonder if Phobia is less metal than We Are Not Alone… ah yes, here’s a customer review on Amazon that says “Frontman Ben Burley’s voice has changed up a bit …Instead of mumbling or yelling the majority of the vocal parts, he has comfortably settled into a great singing voice, which makes these songs sound even better than much of what the band has recorded in the past.”

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