The “cover” song is a widespread phenomenon in the world of music, and one that not too many people are unfamiliar with. Covers are a tricky game, but they are almost always done in homage to the band that originally wrote the song, which makes listening to them even more fascinating for me. If I love a song chances are that I’m not going to like even the best of cover songs as much as I do the original (see any Beatles cover), but just as often I will hear a cover of a song I’ve never heard before and it will open up a new artist to my attention (like REM did with Lou Reed for me when I was a freshman in high school).
Side by Side will place cover songs next to their original. Not for analysis, but for consumption, comparison, and the general well-being of your brain.
In celebration of the fact that I’m seeing the Pixies, one of my all-time favorite bands, tomorrow, I thought for the first installment I’d use them as my first subject. And because of the rare fact that there are two covers of Pixies songs that I love every bit as much as the originals, this one will be a super-sized edition.
Here’s “Cactus” as performed by the Pixies and then by David Bowie:
And here’s the Pixies doing “Mr. Grieves” followed by the TV On The Radio cover:
Ryan W. Bradley has pumped gas, changed oil, painted houses, swept the floor of a mechanic's shop, worked on a construction crew in the Arctic Circle, fronted a punk band, and managed an independent children's bookstore. He now works in marketing. His latest book is Nothing but the Dead and Dying, a collection of stories set in Alaska. He lives in southern Oregon with his wife and two sons.