Mild Rant Over Cover Songs on YouTube

I love listening to cover songs. I mostly find them on YouTube. I find that the best covers are done when the artists bring something that the original songs don’t have.

When the covering artist adds another layer to the original, it’s awesome. So when I try to find covers on YouTube and all I see are 18 year olds with a guitar doing whatever pop song is popular for the month, I get really disappointed. Not to fault them for practicing, it’s just that they are not unique. (They can be faulted for shitty sound quality, musical skill, etc.)

I admit, this song is very over-played by now, but I think for good reason.

Too Close by Alex Clare is just an enjoyable damn song. His voice a strong and passionate, and the wub-wubs actually add to the song. There are no good covers of the song. It’s almost nothing but young dudes and dudettes with a guitar. (And the song is so easy to play: the same five chords over and over. See: House of the Rising Sun.) Oddly enough, the only good cover I’ve seen is actually done by Alex Clare!

And then what’s worse is when the song is already different than everything else, no one can take it even one step further.

I’m talking about Your Woman by White Town. Here’s an interesting song. A male vocalist, singing in low key, but the lyrics are from a woman’s point of view. It’s a one-sided conversation and she’s talking to a man whom she regrets to tell that she can’t be his woman.

It’s not ironic, but rather subversive. It’s almost insincere. The words come off as disingenuous and overall I don’t know what to make of the tone of the song.

I say all that, because of this cover of it.

It’s done sincerely by a woman, accompanied just by a guitar. It’s heartfelt, it’s straight forward, and ultimately, mundane. When it’s done straight, it sounds like any other sad song played by any other sad girl. There’s nothing about this cover that makes it interesting to me.

So, if you, dear reader, want to cover a song and publish it on YouTube, please make it interesting. Make it unique. This is an extension of one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard for being creative. When making anything, make it your own.

There’s always going to be someone who’s better than you at what you want to do. Get used to that. But no one will be better at YOU. No one will write a better you story, no one will sing your voice better. As long as your being yourself, you can’t be out done. If you can’t do better or give more, then may be you should reconsider what you’re doing.

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