Monday, January 31, 2011

Don't look at me. We're talking about dragons.

I had a rough time a few years back. It sucked, as such things do. But one of the best things to come out of it was a new collection of covers of Creep! Oh yes, I felt that song deep in my soul. Thom Yorke understood me, guys. I want to be special! I do want a perfect soul! Fuck, how could I have heard this song for so many years but never really listened to it! Blah blah blah deep soul pain whatever. I even added it to my making out playlist, not that it got any use then.

Anyway. I'm awesome now. I'm totally fucking special. And I still love Creep.

So here, in order of how awesome they are, are my four favorite covers of Creep.

4. Creep (live at Coachella) - Prince

Prince's cover is badass, but man is it long. Wow. I love how he turns it around and makes it an insult. ("You wish you were special, well, so do I." "What the hell are you doing here?") I think it's so fucking bitchy and I love it. I also like to think that Prince feels so fabulous that he can't actually sing about how he wishes he were special because HE'S FUCKING PRINCE! ARE YOU KIDDING ME, OF COURSE HE'S SO FUCKING SPECIAL. Michael Jackson used to lie awake at night believing he couldn't go to sleep because if God saw he was asleep he would give his amazing ideas to FUCKING PRINCE instead! Prince played Purple Rain at the Super Bowl and HE DAMN WELL MADE IT RAIN. There's nothing about Prince that ISN'T so fucking special. Prince is always wishing everyone else was so fucking special so he could talk to them about how awesome it is being so fucking special.

3. Creep - Scala and Kolacny Brothers

If you have ever spent any amount of time discussing music with me, and especially cover songs, you will have been forced to listen to something from the Scala choir. They're a Belgian girls' choir that sings covers of popular songs. They are amazing. Their cover of With or Without You is just fantastic.

This is not the song that was used in the Social Network trailer, but it's damn fucking close. The Scala choir has a larger back catalog of covers to check out, too. If your only exposure to choral arrangements of pop songs has been Glee, give Scala and Kolacny Brothers a chance to win you over. That's not a slight on Glee, either, but this has an entirely different feel. It's haunting and earnest and sincere.

Well, then. If I love Scala and Kolacny Brothers so much, why is this in third place? It's just not my favorite Scala cover. It's great, but it doesn't beat out the other two. I think after this, I'll have to go through and write something about my favorite Scala covers, because they deserve a major spotlight.

2. The Blower's Daughter/Creep - Damien Rice

Oh man, remember a few years back when Closer came out? You know, that movie where Julia Roberts and Natalie Portman gave each other cunt necklaces and a bunch of dudes modified their Lost in Translation pink wig fantasies to include Natalie Portman in a thong? And everyone all over the internet became OBSESSED with that song in the trailer that goes "I can't take my eyes off you"?

I love that song, and I love Damien Rice. I have such a girl boner for that gorgeous sometimes-beardy ginger and his fucking fantastic acoustic songs about sex and kissing. And the Blower's Daughter is really just as stalkery as Creep is, but it sounds pretty because it's got sweet acoustic guitar and Damien Rice sweetly pining for you as you stand on a seaside cliff with the wind in your hair. The beauty of this cover is that it integrates Creep so seamlessly that it feels like an extension of the song, like it was always meant to have that screaming, raw refrain under the surface. And if you're the girl he's singing to, you suddenly go oh, hey, please do take your mind off me, thanks.

1. Creep (live) - Brandi Carlile

I don't even know. I'm ashamed to say I had kind of written Brandi Carlile off because I thought she was just another, I don't even know how to classify this, Jewel-wannabe? Not disposable razor schilling Jewel, but living-in-your-car poetry Jewel.

Is it a coincidence that my favorite cover of Creep is by a woman? I don't think so. From what I've discovered, there are few female vocalists covering this song. (I'm ignoring Amanda Palmer because I don't like her.) I could get into how Creep might be perceived differently from the perspective of the different genders, but I don't feel like I could do the idea justice. I love that it makes it feel a little different, though.

Her voice is incredible. It's raw and full of anguish, almost making the song sound like a wail of pain at times. I think I would have felt a whole lot better if I could scream out this song like she does. It's almost uncomfortable listening to it again, for me, because of that scream. She makes you feel it.