amazing icon

What Makes A Great Cover Song?

We hear cover songs all the time. Entire bands exist for the sole purpose of covering the work of another artist or group. Big name musicians perform the music of their fellow artists all the time to pay tribute to the ones who inspired them. And more recently, we’ve seen up-and-coming singers become famous from posting their cover songs on YouTube. Fourteen-year-old Greyson Chance, who has already released his debut album, got his big break from covering Lady Gaga‘s “Paparazzi” at a school event. OurStage’s duo Karmin has received over 40 million views on one of their captivating and unique hip hop covers. Just a couple of weeks ago, they performed at the iHeartRadio festival among artists such as Lady Gaga and Jay-Z. But with so many people recording and performing cover songs, we have to wonder “what makes the good ones stand out?” We’ve found some of our favorite from the Cover Bands Channel to show you!

Karmin

 

Take, for example, the talented a cappella group called Rockapella, who covered Vampire Weekend‘s hit “A Punk”. The group took a song that is upbeat, fast-paced and performed by a full band, and recreated it with just their voices. Their version is slowed down and focuses on the harmonies created by the members of the group. It sounds more soulful and catches your attention right from the start.

Sound And Vision: Fake Pop Stars — The Rise and Continued Rise of Rebecca Black

Paris Hilton.

Kim Kardashian.

Heidi Montag.

Julianne Hough.

In a world where making a record is as easy as starring on reality TV, and even easier when you have your own show, Rebecca Black was bound to happen.

Don’t worry. Black, the fourteen-year-old from Anaheim, California, who made us wonder if she was making fun of shallow pop stars or being one herself in her viral YouTube video “Friday,” hasn’t gotten her own reality show. Yet. But isn’t it only just a matter of time?

What she does have is a level of fame”or infamy, depending on how you want to look at it”without having any discernible singing talent. Before it was yanked from YouTube in June over a dispute between Black and her former record label, Ark Music Factory, her “Friday” video had logged some 161 million views. Black became an Internet favorite, with article after online article devoted to her and her music”well, her song. Some people loved her; some people hated her; everyone was talking about her. Everybody’s still talking. Katy Perry even invited Black to costar in her “T.G.I.F. (Last Friday Night)” video.

Yes, Rebecca Black is a huge hit. Ironically, though, she has yet to have one. For all of the hoopla surrounding it, “Friday” was never a commercial success as a single. It peaked at No. 58 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and didn’t fare much better anywhere it was released.

Australia, one of the few places where “Friday” made it to the Top 40, is about to launch its own fourteen-year-old star, Jack Vidgen, recent winner of Australia’s Got Talent. Sadly, it’s gonna take a miracle”or maybe a Black cameo in his video”to give Vidgen’s career any momentum in the US, which Justin Bieber aside, has been resistant to young male solo pop (i.e., white) stars since Justin Timberlake went Hollywood.

(more…)

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Christian Bale dances to Gaga

Don’t know about you, but all that oil spill footage had us in a deep, greasy funk this week. So it’s nice to get some levity, especially when it comes from an unexpected source such as the perpetually cranky Christian Bale. Watch this clever mash-up of Bale circa the 1992 Disney musical Newsies dancing to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. Yes, it’s another Gaga video. We promise we’ll stop. Right after we tell you about this one starring babies dancing to Telephone. There, done.

The Bad

Chris Brown denied visa to UK

Chris Brown

Days before his UK tour was set to begin, Chris Brown was notified this week that his application for a visa had been rejected due to his February assault conviction stemming from a fight with ex-girlfriend Rihanna. The UK Home Office reserves the right to deny entry to anyone guilty of a criminal offense. Brown indulged in a little pity party in the Twitterverse after hearing the news, writing, U ever feel like the storm clouds are too thick for any sunshine to get through? [sic]. We would feel sorry for him if not for, you know, that whole oil spill thing going on. And every other thing happening in the world.

Gorillaz and Pixies pull out of Tel Aviv music festival

First it was Elvis Costello, now Gorillaz and Pixies have canceled their appearances at a Tel Aviv music festival after Israeli forces attacked ships bringing aid to Gaza, resulting in nine deaths. Costello’s wife, chanteuse Diana Krall, is still scheduled to perform this summer.

The Ugly

Lady Gaga debuts Alejandro video, ruffles feathers across America

Remember that time we said were done with Lady Gaga videos? Kidding! This one is the latest from the woman herself, and it’s a doozey. The concept is sort of all over the place, but in a nutshell it’s about gay men in fishnets and bowl cuts simulating sex with Gaga. Oh, and she wears a nun’s habit and eats a rosary, too. If you listen closely, you can hear the message boards on Fox News screaming.

Kanye West’s car stolen, totaled

Kanye West

Looks like Kanye West’s black Porsche Panamera was stolen in Honolulu and crashed into a house shortly thereafter. We anticipate an explosion of caps on West’s blog in 3 ¦ 2 ¦ 1 ¦

Miscellany

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Ellen starts music label, signs Greyson Chance

Greyson Chance on Ellen

OK, remember last week when we made up that big lie about wunderkind Greyson Chance being signed to Interscope? Kidding! Yeah, looks like that was just one of those Internet rumors. Sahhrrry. Chance was actually signed by Ellen DeGeneres ” he’ll be the first artist on her brand new label, Eleven Eleven Records. We’re not sure if Eleven Eleven is actually an imprint of Interscope or an indie, and until we’re sure, we’re not saying a word.

Ludacris builds playground for Atlanta school kids

Ludacris

That Luda, bless his heart. When he’s not going door-to-door reminding people to fill out their Census forms, he’s providing for the children. This past weekend the rapper joined volunteers to help construct a playground for Venetian Hills Elementary School in Atlanta. The charity event was a collaboration between KaBoom ” a national nonprofit that provides play areas to underserved areas ”The Ludacris Foundation, United Healthcare’s Do Good. Live Well campaign and EIF’s iParticipate program. Look, we knew how low he could go, we just never knew he was such do-gooder to boot . Hats off to you, Mr. Bridges.

The Bad

Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato break up

Sniff. Sad. Moving on ¦

Lady Gaga tested for Lupus

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga revealed to the London Times this week that she underwent testing for Lupus after collapsing from exhaustion and cancelling shows in March. But when it comes to the results of those tests, she’s keeping her lips sealed. I don’t want anyone to be worried, she explains. The singer lost an aunt to the disease, which is genetic and causes the body’s immune system to attack itself. Lucky for all of us little monsters, Lady Gaga is superhuman and immortal. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.

The Ugly

Liza Minnelli sings Single Ladies for SATC2

Liza Minnelli

Looks like Liza Minnelli will be croaking out Beyoncé’s hit in the new Sex and the City movie. According to SATC2 promos, the 64-year-old performer tackles the number during a wedding scene. And, since Minnelli has a brand new replacement knee, maybe she’ll even attempt to do the choreography, too. That would be infinitely better than watching the chicken dance.

Key of Awesome spoof Owl City in Electronic Wuss

Ugly for Owl City, but hilarious for the rest of us.  Musical parody group, Key of Awesome,  delivered a sonic smackdown to the maudlin vomit that is “Fireflies” with their spoof, Electronic Wuss. Enjoy.

Miscellany

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Greyson Chance signs to Interscope

Bieber, beware! There’s a new kid on the block, a tween heartthrob by the name of Greyson Chance whose got the same shaggy mop and babyface as you, but with even more youth. That’s right, gramps. Chance, a 12 year-old musical prodigy became an Internet sensation thanks to a YouTube clip of him performing Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi on piano to a rapt audience of 6th grade girls. Looks like Gaga’s own label, Interscope, nabbed Chance. Whether they planted him on YouTube to drum up interest or stumbled upon him like everyone else remains to be seen. One thing’s for certain, kid’s got talent. Watch him killing it below.

Joy Division honored with children’s symphony

To commemorate the 30-year anniversary of Ian Curtis’ death, schoolchildren from the singer’s hometown of Macclesfield, England will perform songs from the Joy Division canon with help from the Northern Chamber Orchestra. The concert is slated to take place from July 29th “ Aug 7th.

The Bad

Ronnie James Dio dies

Dio

If you’re a child of the ˜80s or a vintage metal afficionado, Ronnie James Dio needs no introduction. For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Dio was 5’4 inches of pure metal fury, lending his powerhouse vocals to bands such as Rainbow, Black Sabbath and (of course) Dio. The singer and songwriter succumbed to stomach cancer this week at the age of 67. R.I.P.

Ryan Adams releases sci-fi metal-ish concept album ORION

Ryan Adams

Back in March prolific songwriter/perpetual critic provoker Ryan Adams (or Mr. Mandy Moore) promised us an album of Most Legit METAL. Well, it’s happening. Except, it’s not really metal, but more just really, really fast country with screaming and crap, says Adams. Today you can pre-order the screaming and crap (entitled Orion) online on Adams’ site. We’ve yet to be disappointed by any of Adam’s musical outpourings. Will Orion be a first? We’ll consult our astrological charts and get back to you.

The Ugly

Black Keys get physical in Tighten Up video

What happens when two young boys compete for the attention of a cute girl on the playground? Or when two grown men go after that girl’s equally comely mother? Blood, tears, donuts and a lot of hilarity. Enjoy.

Miscellany