Ten Worst Cover Songs: From Vanilla Ice vs. Public Enemy to All Time Low on Rihanna
All great imitation, even when it's parody, respects the original source. The covers that disappoint fail to do this.
Notably missing from Crossfade's list are the pain-inducing covers that have been discussed to death. Examples: Celine Dion's cover of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" (need I say more?); anything Limp Bizkit ever covered (George Michael's "Faith," The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes," Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here"); Britney Spears's cover of The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction."
Here's what's left: Some unturned stones of awful, some familiar ones that haven't had nearly enough negative attention, and some that will leave you retching. The only antidote? Check out the originals.
10. Forever the Sickest Kids, "Crazy Train" (Original: Ozzy Osbourne)
It's not just any old band that can make Ozzy Osbourne sound like an outtake from High School Musical. Can't you just see a shirtless Zac Efron pepping up his multiethnic, tween-friendly basketball teammates by giving them a winning smile and then launching into "Crazy, but that's how it goes..."?
9. Devo, "Ohio" (Original: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
When Devo works it's a laugh, but a song about the Kent State shootings just didn't need to go sci-fi.
8. 30 Seconds to Mars, "Stronger" (Original: Kanye West)
Jared Leto, remember when you did that brooding thing on My So-Called Life? OWN that thing. We still girl-crushed on you back then. I don't mind you getting a little piss on Kanye, but it's more than a bit rude to the original Daft Punk sample. And P.S. the formulaic slow-down-the-lyrics-for-depth thing isn't working for you. Sorry.
7. Bloc Party, "Say it Right" (Original: Nelly Furtado)
Bloc Party is usually good. Just not here. Sometimes a pop song needs to be a pop song, not something a British bloke is crying over.
6. Bruce Springsteen, "Jersey Girl" (Original: Tom Waits)
Springsteen lovers, please take a deep breath before blowing a capillary. Just because the Boss seems to own New Jersey does not mean every song with the state's name in the title should be part of his repertoire. He turned Waits's gravelly goodness into an arena ballad.
5. All Time Low, "Umbrella" (Original: Rihanna)
At least they got the band name right.
4. Creed, "I'm Eighteen" (Original: Alice Cooper)
Oh, Scott Stapp. You're almost too easy a target, but you brought this on yourself, so I'll make an exception. Some friendly advice: Do. Not. Ever. Cover. Anything. Anyone. Anywhere. Ever. Liked. Ever.
3. Vanilla Ice, "Fight the Power" (Original: Public Enemy)
When I think of someone who has the street cred, lyrical dexterity and proven wit to cover hip-hop classics, Vanilla Ice jumps right to mind. Thank god he left out the original second verse:
"Elvis was a hero to most/But he never meant shit to me, you see/Straight-up racist that sucker was/Simple and plain/Motherfuck him and John Wayne/Cause I'm Black and I'm proud"
You could see where this would get awkward, right? You know, people accused Elvis of profiting off black musicians' innovations, and Vanilla Ice is ... well ... you get it. Then again, I can't say he's profiting. No one bought this CD.
2. Gene Simmons, "Firestarter" (Original: Prodigy)
This is like watching your great uncle try to booty dance at your bar mitzvah. It gives me the worst feeling ... Pity. Every time he screams, "I'm the fire starter," I just want to pet his thinning, dye-damaged hair and -- my eyes filled with sincere tears at his long-gone youth -- tell him that it will all be OK, then jingle something sparkly at him until he forgets the whole ordeal.
1. Avril Lavigne, "Knocking on Heaven's Door" (Original: Bob Dylan)
Okay, I'm in the minority that's not keen on the GnR cover. But this is blasphemy.
Dear Avril:Certain songs require a bit of gravitas, which you lack. Why did you plant yourself, pink-studded shoe first, in one of the most haunting tunes in the American songbook? Stick to Sk8tr Bois and you'll do swimmingly. At least your skull-and-heart print bikini is real cute.
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