Thursday, May 17, 2018

Top 10 favorite cover songs

In no particular order, except maybe the top 3 or so. Enjoy!

10. Not Fade Away ~ The Rolling Stones, originally by Buddy Holly

Both versions are great. Holly's is a bouncy bop, while the Stones grunge it up a bit.

9. Crimson and Clover ~ Joan Jett, originally by Tommy James and the Shondells

This is one of my favorite songs, so why not higher? While I love the cover, nothing beats the Tommy James version.

8. All Along the Watchtower ~ Jimi Hendrix, originally by Bob Dylan

Yeah obvious choice, but it fucking shreds, so what else can I do?

7. In Bloom ~ Sturgill Simpson, originally by Nirvana

THIS is how you play around with genres. This is a musical breakthrough, not the mere chasing of a buck.

6. Daydream Believer ~ Shonen Knife, originally by The Monkees

A bit of an obscure one, but give it a listen if you can find it. It's rockin' and fun.

5. Who's Cheatin' Who ~ Alan Jackson, originally by Charly McClain

I love the original as much if not even a little more than this cover, but... it's Alan Jackson. It's great.

4. You Better Run ~ Pat Benatar, originally by The Young Rascals

I could make a top 5 of just Pat Benatar's covers, but I'm only doing one song per artist. She'll be back in the honourable mentions though!

3. The Dangerous Type ~ Letters to Cleo, originally by The Cars

This is probably only LTC's third most popular cover (and yeah, their versions of I Want You to Want Me and Cruel to Be Kind are awesome), but this one's my favorite. Maybe because I associate it with The Craft. Probably because I associate it with The Craft, yeah. Great song, anyway.

2. All I Have to Do Is Dream ~ R.E.M., originally by The Everly Brothers

R.E.M. took this beautiful, dreamy early 60s hit and somehow made it even dreamier by making it sound like it was recorded in someone's garage on a Saturday afternoon.

1. I Will ~ Alison Krauss, originally by The Beatles

This cover is transcendent. I get chills every time I listen to it. As good as the original is ~ I mean, it's The Beatles ~ her version just takes it to a whole new level. It's like a band of angels covering The Beatles. I hope I'm greeted with this song in the afterlife.

Honorable mentions:

~If You Think You Know How To Love Me ~ Pat Benatar, originally by Smokie
~No You Don't ~ Pat Benatar, originally by Sweet
Pat has so many classic songs, I'm not sure if people realize what a COVER QUEEN she was.
~Take it Easy ~ Travis Tritt, originally by The Eagles
~Ol'55 ~ The Eagles, originally by Tom Waits
~Landslide ~ Dixie Chicks, originally by Fleetwood Mac
A beautifully harmonized version, but nobody beats Stevie Nicks.
~Strawberry Fields Forever ~ Candy Flip, originally by The Beatles
My fave Beatles song covered by some 90s acid dance band?? That should be SACRILEGE, but it's actually awesome. So was the 90s Manchester scene in general. Fun music, and I never had to take drugs to enjoy it! #PSA
~Always on My Mind ~ Pet Shop Boys, originally by Willie Nelson
Another one that should be SACRILEGE, but sounds awesome. Yeah, I have no issues with taking a classic country song and making it electronic. Just make it sound GOOD and don't call it COUNTRY (*cough*cough*KeithUrban)

And just because, the two WORST covers I've ever heard!

Cancer ~ twenty one pilots, originally by My Chemical Romance
Ghostbusters ~ Fall Out Boy, originally by Ray Parker Jr.

Dear God. Save your ears.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Think I'll start doing occasional, random top 10 lists, just to exercise the ol' blog muscle. Favorite songs by an artist or of a certain year, movies by decade or genre, etc. I think the first will be top 10 favorite cover songs. Coming soon!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Spring into horror! Part 2

They Look Like People -

Like Boys in the Trees, this was a surprisingly touching story about friendship, to the point they would make an excellent double feature. They're both looks at deep, intimate male friendship, without any of those "we're not gay tho!" moments that would have marred an 80s or 90s film. These are real, flawed people that never feel like movie characters. I highly recommend this movie and I think it's best going in reasonably blind, like I did, so I'm not gonna discuss many details. This is not a horror movie, but it's very suspenseful at times. It's what happens when the horror is in your mind... or is it?

That's what you're left wondering the whole movie. Just what is going on here? These characters are pretty screwed up, in different ways, but in ways that make them compatible with each other. You can see why these guys are friends. There's no judgment, only trust. And that plays into one hell of an ending that's about as perfect a wrap-up of a psychological film you can get. If you want a more action-oriented movie, skip this, because there isn't any. But if you want suspense, characters you root for, and compelling, well-resolved psychological pathos, check this out.

It Follows -

Holy. Shit. This movie has been on my to-watch list for a long time. While I heard how great it was, I think I avoided it because... a sex demon? Really? This is gonna be an excuse for softcore porn, isn't it? No, no it isn't. While sex is the underlying motivating factor, I found the movie to be surprisingly non-sexual. It is, once again, more psychological, though I'd put this one firmly on the horror side. This movie is SCARY. And I watched it before bed, because I never learn.

This could be called They Look Like People, Sorta, Really Gross Disturbing People Though. Because this demon that follows you around after someone passes it to you during sex (worst. STD. EVER.) was so disgustingly well done I actually had to turn away a couple times. In a shitty movie, the demon would be a fakey-looking CGI thing that jumps out and goes BLARGH! at you. In this movie it's just different people, but these grotesque half-naked people from your worst nightmare. Thank you for understanding that ONLY THINGS THAT LOOK REAL ARE SCARY.

Beyond the scary-ass demon, this movie is all kinds of weird in these amazing, subtle ways. I was so thrown by the atmosphere that I googled just what the hell was going on, and found this great article explaining it. https://thoughtcatalog.com/m-j-pack/2015/08/heres-why-you-missed-the-scariest-part-of-it-follows/. Basically, while the movie takes place in Detroit, that's the only constant you get. The time period seems to shift. At first I thought it was the 80s for sure, but nope, there are modern vehicles mixed in with the classics. They watch nothing but old black and white movies. There are no cellphones, but there's this weird sort of clamshell kindle reader that doesn't even exist. Seasons and weather shift. While the article doesn't mention it, I swear it went from day to night in at least one scene with no actual time shift in the movie. And it's all so well made that you KNOW it's intentional and they're fucking with you. It's like this movie doesn't take place in one parallel universe but ALL of them at once. It's so damn unsettling, I loved it.

Another interesting element is the Detroit backdrop with all the abandoned buildings. It looks like the level of decay that exists there today and wouldn't have 30+ years ago, which just adds to the dysphoria. Plus, creepy abandoned stuff is just awesome, especially in an effective horror movie. I've seen movies that were so dumb, the abandoned setting was the ONLY enjoyable thing. Here, it's just another element to savour. I can't possibly recommend this enough.

Wow, I am on a roll with these modern movies! 5/5 so far and all recommendations. Don't let anyone tell you the horror/thriller genre is dead, sheesh. I think it's the best it's been since the 80s.

Still to go -

1922 - A well-reviewed King adaptation. Can't imagine I won't like it, but we'll find out tonight!

The Ritual - I usually avoid foreign language movies, but this has so much buzz I have to check it out.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Spring into horror! Part one

I'm putting my Netflix membership on hold til the new season of MST3k comes out, so I'm watching my queued movies before it runs out. That means scary movies in May, baby!

Creep -

I watched this right before I went to bed. I make poor life choices. :( Seriously, this thing unsettled the SHIT out of me and I don't usually get that scared by scary movies, even ones I can objectively say are scary (like say, Conjuring 2). But Creep... holy shit. This is next level psychological terror, like this will get under your skin. Take the creepiness factor of The Gift, another awesome movie, and multiply it by 10. Definitely watch this if you're prepared to be disturbed on a psychological level, but not right before bed. Don't be like me.

Creep 2 -

I watched this one during the day. IT DIDN'T HELP. :( While this didn't unsettle me down to my toenails like the first one did, that's not because it's any less creepy. I actually think it's creepier in some ways with the psychological manipulation. But in the first movie, much of the tension comes from not knowing who the creep is, what he's capable of. That gets answered in movie one, so while what he's capable of is super fucked up, at least you're prepared for where things might be going.

That said, this movie still goes to some crazy places. This time, the creep approaches his victim as if he's trying to confess, maybe atone for all the terrible things he's done. And the actor is so good that despite seeing the complete mindfuckery he played in the first movie, YOU DON'T KNOW IF HE'S TELLING THE TRUTH THIS TIME OR NOT. Maybe part of him is. He's such a bizarre, unpredictable character that you never really know where he's coming from, and the acting in both movies is superb. I totally recommend these if you like that kind of twisted weirdness. They're not super violent, it's mostly about the mindfuck.

Boys in the Trees -

Well I am 3 for 3 so far, because this one was the best. This is not a horror movie or even a thriller. Despite taking place on Halloween night and having a lot of tension, there's only one actual "scare." I'd call it a supernatural drama. And holy crap, is this thing good. And deep. And weirdly beautiful. It takes place in the 90s, so you get to hear songs like "Lump" and "Glycerine." That won me over pretty fast for nostalgic feels, and then it just gets better and better. I'm not gonna go into much detail because everyone should watch this movie - it's suitable for pretty much anyone except young children - but I was very positively affected.

This had the kind of heart, sensitivity and realness that you don't often see explored in movies about teens. At first you think you're looking at the usual teen tropes but then it dives deep. Everyone here is very real; they let their guard down and you see the person behind the front. It shows the tragedy of how teens, and maybe everyone to some extent, has to front just to survive. And the beauty that happens when you... stop doing that. And even if you at least somewhat guess what's going on, like I did, there's still a lot of suspense and mystery that is a joy to explore along with the two main characters. You will come to know and love these boys like friends during the course of this movie. This will be a new Halloween staple for me. While it isn't really "scary," it captures the essence of Halloween with some beautiful shots and set design, as well as perfectly capturing that limbo between childhood and adulthood through the lens of Halloween.

I'm confident nothing will top Boys in the Trees, if I rated movies that would be like a 9.5 for me (only Beetlejuice and Pulp Fiction are 10s). But yeah, I liked it that much. So I'm gonna wait a couple days to continue my little marathon, but here's what else is coming up -

It Follows
The Ritual
1922
rewatch The Visit, if I have time
rewatch more old Buffy eps, if I have time

EDIT - I forgot They Look Like People