Friday, September 6, 2013

Cool cover song of the week...

It's funny how sometimes songs written for movie soundtracks gain more notoriety than the movies themselves. One shining example is Phil Collins' 1984 hit, Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now), recorded for the Jeff Bridges-Rachel Ward-James Woods film Against All Odds. The film, a remake of the 1947 movie Out of the Past, barely made a dent at the box office.

The song, however, hit #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 (the first time for Collins), and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. (The less said about Ann Reinking's performance of the song on the Oscars that year instead of Collins, the better.)

For me, this song has a great deal of emotional poignancy. The music video (remember those?) was in heavy rotation on MTV in March 1984, which was when my baby brother died of SIDS. Strangely it seemed as if this song followed me everywhere, and still, nearly 30 years later, that time in my life is the first thing I think of when I hear this song.

While the song has been covered a number of times, most notably by Mariah Carey in 2000 (she recorded a second version later that year with Irish boy band Westlife), my favorite cover version was recorded by indie band The Postal Service, ironically for the 2004 Josh Hartnett movie Wicker Park. In the first verse, the song almost has an Owl City-like quality, but then as the beat gets slightly more uptempo, the vocals get richer. The New York Post and Rolling Stone both included this version in their list of the best cover songs of all time.

Here's The Postal Service's version:

Here's the Westlife/Mariah Carey version:

And here's Phil Collins' original. (Boy, what Jeff Bridges looked like in 1984...):

Check out my previous Cool Cover Songs of the Week:

Borderline by The Counting Crows

How Deep Is Your Love by The Bird and The Bee

Life in a Northern Town by Sugarland, Little Big Town, and Jake Owen

I Don't Want to Talk About It by The Indigo Girls

Only You by Joshua Radin

Pure Imagination by Maroon 5

I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) by Blake Stratton

What a Fool Believes by Neri Per Caso

Poker Face by Daughtry

Back to Black by Ronnie Spector

I Will Survive by Cake

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by The Stereophonics

Rolling in the Deep by John Legend

Go Your Own Way by Lissie

Winner Takes it All by McFly

What a Wonderful World by Joey Ramone

Careless Whisper by Seether

I Walk the Line by Live

Dear Prudence by Siouxsie and The Banshees

Smooth Criminal by Alien Ant Farm

Who Wants to Live Forever by Breaking Benjamin

Redemption Song by Chris Cornell and Audioslave

Love Me Tender by Chris Isaak and Brandi Carlile

All You Need is Love by The Flaming Lips

Lovesong by Adele

I Love It by Robin Thicke

Billie Jean by The Civil Wars

Across the Universe by The Scorpions

Can't Hold Us by Pentatonix

Wicked Game by James Vincent McMorrow

1 comment:

  1. Try Gin and Juice by the Gourds, covering Snoop Dogg ...great stuff