Friday, October 14, 2005

Crappy Remakes

It seems like there have been a zillion and one remakes this year in the movie industry. Admittedly, Hollywood hasn't exactly been blazing trails with exciting new ideas, so recycling may not be the worst thing. At least they don't usually show the movie side by side with its predecessor, which is generally a better-acted and directed version of the same movie, sans 100 million dollar's worth or so of eye candy.

What continues to baffle me is when a band does a lame remake of a song that is still played on the radio.

The most obvious example of this would have to be Bronson (Or "Brandon" as douchebag sports announcer Tim McCarver likes to call him) Arroyo's senseless butchering of Boston's classic rock signature song, "Dirty Water" by the Standells. What did the city of Boston ever do to you, Brandon Arroyo that you would do such a thing?

How could you live and work in Boston, be embroiled in the fanatical culture (and by culture, I am not referring to the MFA or the Opera House,) and hear the garagey-pulse of "Dirty Water" played hundreds of time at Fenway Park and not realized that it is sacred in this town?

This is roughly the equivalent of being invited over to your buddy's house for dinner and not only commenting that his wife is "f***ing hot" and that you wouldn't mind "tappin' that ass" sometime.

You just don't do it, that's the bottom line.

I appreciate the World Series victory, really I do. If there was someone more excited than me (barring the doltish NU clowns alternately flipping over and igniting Dodge Neons...though I credit those incidents more to excitement about beer and co-eds than the Red Sox championship) about the title, I don't know him or her, but does this mean you can fondle my niece?

No, it doesn't. Some things are sacred.

Does this mean it won't bug me if I get home from work to find that you have broken into my house, eaten all my food and are smoking cigars and watching pornos? some things are sacred and those cigars cost me a fortune.

Frankly, Brandon's 2005 season wasn't all that, truth be told, so he was skating on a bit of thin ice to begin with. To compound matters, we had local stations playing the hell out of this horrid thing, and to be honest with ya, I'm about Kevin Millar'ed out.

Brandon was doing a solid enough job destroying this classic on his own without gooning it up by enlisting the aid of several members of the Red Sox to sing, er... yell backup. That wasn't enough, they persisted in making "Dirty Water" their own, adding chatter in the back about the individual players.

How self-absorbed are you guys... you're singing "Dirty Water" for fuck's sake you really think we wanna hear about how much product Damon has in his hair, Schilling's Ford truck or or whether or not Kevin Millar shaves his ass???

Here's the message: If you're going to cover something, don't cover something that was made perfectly the first time. In other words, don't expect any remakes of The Matrix or Star Wars in the near future. Granted, musicians seem to have less sense about these things at times, or non-musicians, but you get my drift.

Funny, this blog was supposed to be about how Gwen Stefani became a caricature of herself and stunk up the joint on No Doubt's cover of Talk Talk's 80s anthem "It's My Life".

The most confusing piece to the puzzle is trying to figure out why they did it.'s a classic, a great song. But they used (literally) the EXACT same arrangement, and Gwen throws in no new wrinkles on the vocals, which in no way stand up to Mark Hollis' vocals. This is similar to the annoying beat-for0beat cover that Gloria Estefan did of Vicki Sue Robinson's disco classic "Turn the Beat Around". The difference is that Estefan had the talent and the octane to pull it off, irritating as it was, I couldn't deny that she had the chops. Don't get me wrong, I hate her cover.

I guess redoing great songs is dodgy at best. I am not against all remakes, but it is certainly risky. Take Tori Amos version of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit"... talk about a recipe for disaster, yet it works. She makes it her own without disrespecting the song.

Another great example of this is jazz/blues kiddie vocalist Joss Stone reinventing The White Stripe's recent hit "Fell in Love with a Girl". Who in their right mind would rubber stamp this? Yet it works. It is different enough and she is talented enough that I was blown away. As much as I love the Boss, I can't deny that Patti smith's version of "Because the Night" is the only rendition I need to hear.

Back to Gwen... I know we all like Gwen, but her voice is tinny, a shell compared to just a few years ago, and and I frankly felt embarrassed for her. There's no shame in not comparing favorably to Mark Hollis, but didn't anyone have the decency to play her the original so she at least had an idea of what she was up against?

Maybe it's time for Gwen to focus on looking glamorous, providing masturbatory fodder for Howard Stern, gracing the covers of magazines and tabloids and having perpetual surgery.

Ironic when you consider that the song that really broke it for her was "I'm Just a Girl", which pretty much skewered that kind of thinking.


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