Thursday, May 10, 2007

Cover albums

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With both Poison and Tesla set to release cover albums, I thought this topic might be relevant. Covering another band's material isn't anything new as plenty artists did this back forty years ago or more. However I think that during the 1970's and through much of the 80's there was a little less of it. You might have someone doing one or two covers on an album, but normally not a whole lot more than that. Van Halen did several cover songs on Diver Down and received some complaints about it because the album was short, but then it was almost half covers. I really think that when Metallica's $5.98 ep came out in the summer of 1987 that things changed. Here was a band certainly on the way up doing an album of covers. They said they wanted to record something between lp's because they figured it was a while until their next lp. They also covered bands that were more obscure to metal fans like Killing Joke and the Misfits. Most importantly it caught on for the most part. People accepted it. However the fact that Metallica were working on another lp right after this and it was out about 13 months after this ep. Still I think around this point more bands started doing more cover songs. Yet it wasn't until the 1990's that cover albums started to really explode. Now it seems like almost every other older hard rock/metal band has done a cover album. Some have been good...
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....while others have not been that great.

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Nowadays most bands will say something "we are paying tribute to our influences". I would actually rather they pay tribute to their fans by putting out some new matrtial. Cover albums feel a little like a cheat to me in some ways. It's a reason to tour without doing new material. There are some good covers, but there are some that just sound like the bands are going through the motions. Maybe that makes me sound like a spoiled fan, but that's the way I feel about it sometimes. As far as Tesla and Poison's new albums go I have little doubt that Tesla will do a good job and Poison will be lame. Yet I likely won't buy either one because I am just not that big on cover albums.

**What do you think of cover albums?


Blogger Aunt Jackie said...

I dunno, but I loved every one that you posted here... :)

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't get me started! If you've read my blog, you know where I stand on cover songs and albums.

I have a problem with bands putting 1 or 2 cover songs on a new album. Why not just give us a new tune?

Cover albums are just a quick cash grab for some bands. For others it's an actual project. Poison is notorious for using covers on albums, there last 3 singles have been covers. Now they have a covers album.....just in time for their tour. Helloween's METAL JUKEBOX is excellent but the band doesn't rely on it for new material, it was a one off. They still release quality records.

Sorry, it's late and I'm rambling. I guess I would rather have new material.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Fabrulana said...

I like cover albums by a a well known band it is interesting to hear their renditions of it. I prefer it as a album though rather than one or two cover songs on a album as I feel this 'breaks' the feel of an album. In worst case imagine a concept album like 'Them' with a cover thrown in :)

1:26 AM  
Blogger captain corky said...

The Helloween album cover looks pretty cool. Still, I would rather listen to new and original material.

2:25 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

I like cover tunes, they are different interpretations of songs we know and (sometimes) like. I see RIR's point, but given the filler tunes most artists put on albums I have no problem with a few cover songs.

Rush did a great one a few years back, and I've always said that Great White's Zeppelin cover album is underrated.

Looking forward to Tesla.

-- david

3:04 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Good topic. I'm not completely against cover songs, especially when they are covering a song which nobody probably knows anyway. I think that is a good way to pay homage to a song or band. However, when a band overdoes it and goes as far as putting out an entire album of cover songs it seems ridiculous. I love Rage Against the Machine to death but when they put out "Renegades" I was extremely disapointed, I think the album is good overall but like you said I felt cheated. Cover albums just seem uninspired and lazy...

5:55 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

Some are good, others are not so good. Once in a while, it's cool to pay homage to your influences.

Too many bands see it as a quick moneymaker that takes little effort.

9:09 AM  
Blogger MrRyanO said...

Not a fan of full length cover albums. I think WASP is the king of covers, but they seem to put the majority on the Japanese releases! LOL!

One or two per album is more than enough in my opinion.

10:20 AM  
Blogger UnHoly Diver said...

Rush's "Feedback" was a great cover album, and Def Lep's "Yeah!" was pretty good, too.

12:49 PM  
Blogger The Dragon of M87 said...

Crap to be avoided at all costs. The worst is SFU's covers of AC/DC. Come on!

9:53 PM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

I usually like hearing a cover if the band has made it their own. This happens a lot when the cover crosses genres (like Prong doing the Stranglers' "(Get a) Grip (on Yourself)" or the Mighty Mighty Bosstones doing "Sweet Emotion"). I have found that punk covers of pop songs tend to be pretty stale, but I think that's primarlily due to bands thinking that speeding the song up is all they need to do. Even though I find covers to be interesting, I tend to view them as b-side material except on the rare occasion that they don't interupt the flow of a regular album.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Allyson said...

Cover albums don't bother me, but I always prefer original material.


8:05 AM  
Blogger Hard Rock Hideout said...

I am not a big fan of cover albums, but I will say this, the new cover disc by Tesla may change your mind. I have heard 4 tracks off it so far, and will be picking this one up.

Jorn's cover disc that came out in January, Unlocking the Past was amazing.

Aside from those two, I would rather have new material, but there are always exceptions to the rule.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Normally I hate them, but I only like Slayer's Undisputed Attitude, The Ramones' Acid Eaters and the last one Between the Buried and Me, which is pretty incredible for a cover album.

4:56 AM  

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