Magazine article The Spectator

It Isn't Fair

Magazine article The Spectator

It Isn't Fair

Article excerpt

'Cover me,' sang Bruce Springsteen somewhere around 1984, `Ooh baby, cover me.' If this was a plea to other pop performers to record dismal cover versions of his songs - as was much assumed at the time - it was not wholly successful. The charts remain blessedly free of rotten rereadings of `Born In The USA' or `Badlands', and long may they remain so. But sometimes it seems as though Bruce Springsteen is almost the only prominent songwriter not to have his tunes regularly recycled in this manner. Indeed, the cover version has not so much fallen into disrepute as set up home there. Nowadays any song is fair game, so long as it's old and no one has played it much for the past couple of years. What's vital is that you should never seek to improve on the original. Experience shows that a cover only sells if it is indistinguishable from previous recordings, or far, far worse than any of them.

Last week, therefore, a redundant new interpretation of the Sundays' `Here's Where The Story Ends' roared into the charts at number seven. The Sundays is one of those quiet, undemonstrative bands who inspire great loyalty among their fans, if only because there are not very many of them. I discovered the Sundays shamefully late - they have been recording since 1989 - but have recently become a full convert, playing their three albums with relationship-threatening frequency. Guitar-based indie rock has never sounded so subtle or delicate - just stop me before I use the word 'texture'. So perhaps we should praise the enterprise, if nothing else, of Tin Tin Out (whoever they are) for taking one of the Sundays' best tunes, reproducing it almost exactly and then slapping a thumpy dance beat all over it. Result: instant top ten single, which is one more than the Sundays themselves have managed up to now.

Sometimes you don't need to change anything to sell lots of records. …

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