Here we have it: the worst rock and roll writing of all time.
Okay, so clearly this is NOT the worst rock and roll writing of all time. That distinction would probably have to go to one of the many critics in the 50s who predicted rock’s demise, condemned it as satanic, prurient jungle music (I mean, they were right, but those are the good parts), or worse, completely ignored it.
But, much like the artists here who cover classics of old, this writer chooses to do all three of the above sins. And unlike the jazzbos and flat-topped moral watchdogs of the past, Joe Robinson somehow does them as a rock fan, which is the part that aggravates me most.
I mean, hell, some of these covers, like the Clash’s “I Fought the Law,” are good. But better than the originals? Better than the versions that came out in a time when they subverted a paradigm, rather than played with its impact in a modern setting?
Of the few songs on here, such as Johnny Cash’s “Hurt,” where the author is correct that the cover is better, does he realize how sad it is that Cash is covering U2 at all? And why is Jane’s Addiction even on the list? And WHO THE FUCK LET A FAN OF THE FOO FIGHTERS IN HERE? COVERING CREED?!? I …. I… whoo, um… sorry, but I’m a nerd, and I don’t get why Dave Grohl is still respected about anything. Grohl doing a parody of Creed for being over-the-top Alt would be like Celine Dion satirizing Barbara Streisand.
Even with Grohl’s annoying vocal guffaws, we like the Foo Fighters frontman’s shortened run-through a million times more than what, sadly, is one of the biggest rock hits of the ’00s. But hey, maybe that’s just us.
Maybe it’s all just you? This is a list made by my college roommate in 1996. And you are a dullard who should lock himself in a room and play live John Cale albums at yourself over and over again until you can reemerge and come to the world free of the desire to declare Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah” to be better than anything.
But I will admit one thing. Despite the fact that I, too, might be playing favorites rather than being a good rock writer, I do admit to loving that Frente cover of New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle.” Better than the original? No … but would I often rather hear this version? Does it remind me of my debate team classroom, and going to high school in Oklahoma, and of a time when I was a young angry man just discovering that I had a side that, sometimes, preferred the gentle to the bombastic? Absolutely.
“Six Best Songs that Sound Sexier with Scottish Accents?” Now, that I’d want to read!