There's a scene in Juno, where Jason Bateman's character tries to convince Juno of the awesomeness of Sonic Youth's version of The Carpenters' 'Superstar'. I've been having that conversation with people since the If I Were a Carpenter album was released (although in my case, I wasn't having these chats with teenage girls). To me, a good cover song should do 2 things: 1) Put a fresh coat of paint on the original song and, at the same time 2) enhance your appreciation of the original. Let's have a look at a few of my favourite that you like to take for a spin on your iPod.
Maybe I'm Amazed - The Faces
Has this one been slightly forgotten in the sands of time? Paul McCartney's power ballad is about as sappy as it gets, but somehow Stewart, Lane et al. are able to dip it in enough Scotch to make it seem vital, almost visceral.
Winterlong - The Pixies
The Pixies take on this fairly minor Neil Young song first appeared on the Tribute for the Bridge School album. I lost my cassette of it years ago, and I don't think it's every been re-released. Luckily, this song has popped up on a recent Pixies compilation so everyone can enjoy this tune, but is simultaneously sunny and melancholic.
Louie Louie - Toots and the Maytals
From the wonderful "Funky Kingston" album, the Maytals' slow romp through this song seems to really show the connection between reggae music and early rock 'n roll. It may seem like an awkward rhythm at first, but creeps nicely into your subconscious with repeated listening. Proof that everything Toots touches is instantly cool.