Guy on the outside

I just read a wonderfully prescient post over on Sass & Balderdash.

You should go read that, so that you have a baseline for where I’m going.

I’ll wait here…

Glad to see you back. It was a wonderful post, was it not?

I feel like I have a lot of experiences that involve these ‘Chamomile Characters.’ I don’t always mean to be the person on the outside of popular pinions like that, but I tend to form my opinion quickly. I let it be until something happens to change it.

I like to think of myself as open minded. I try to be an accepting person, and I try not to let my opinions on one thing cloud my overall opinion of a person. I try to be friendly, because I like open and friendly people and I would like to be one.

There’s a caveat here. I also tend to make quick judgements,  and then proceed to see these through until I have cause to change them. Let me give you an example of one that always gets me strange looks: I don’t really like The Beatles. I like a few of their songs, I respect them as musicians and artists, and I acknowledge there huge contributions to the music world. Still don’t really want to listen to them.

The Beatles (No. 1)

The Beatles (No. 1) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I will still give a song of theirs a chance if I’ve never heard it, or if someone tells me to listen for something specific. I have no problem giving something of theirs a listen. I probably will not agree with you if you just tell me that ‘The Beatles are the greatest and everyone should love them.’ Nope. Not convincing.

Sometimes I think that my tendency to make these snap decisions limits my experience of the world. I suppose with things like music, books, and movies, as long as I am open to giving them another shot I’m not really missing out on anything. People might be a different story.

I do sometimes make those same snap judgements about people. It’s a lot like Sass & Balderdash said: I just kind of decide that I’m not a fan. I’m content to not really interact with them. I’m okay with being like that, as I feel like it makes my life simpler. Other people do not always agree.

I usually run into problems when it’s someone that I have to see on a regular basis or on major holidays or something. I get some disapproving looks when I mention that I am indifferent about spending time with that person. Maybe I even indicate that I’d rather not if given thew choice. If I’m not given the choice, I try really hard to make the best of it. I go do whatever is on the agenda and I try to have friendly conversation while I’m there.

I try to give those people a second chance as well. Especially when someone gives me a good reason to. It doesn’t always work out though. That’s when I begin to wonder if I’m some sort of anti-social hermit. Everyone else seems to do okay, why am I the one that seems to dislike the people no one else seems to mind?

According to Sass & Balderdash, I’m not as crazy and Hermit-like as I thought.


I Need Your Helpful Input Here.

How do you feel about covers? No not the kind on your bed. Weirdos. Musical covers.

I mean this is really a multi-part question. I also suspect there will be a lot of answers akin to “Depends on the song.” I’m looking for an overall viewpoint on covers though.

I support the concept of covering someone else’s song. I do feel like if you’re planning to release a cover for commercial gain, and not just because “you love that song so much” That you should get permission from that artist, unless it’s considered no longer copy-written for some reason.

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A great example of a well done cover, that doesn’t just use someone else’s song as their own work would be Johnny Cash’s cover of the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt”. “Hurt” is a song about a personal and dark subject for writer/front man Trent Reznor, that Cash took and made his own in style and meaning. Cash had some well-publicized substance abuse problems and the lyrics from “hurt” meant something similar, but still profoundly different coming from him. The whole song took on a different tone when performed by Cash in a stripped-down acoustic number, in his classic deep, raspy, voice. Reznor even admitted in an interview that it was more Cash’s song now than his own.

It’s times like that that really illustrate to me what is possible with a correctly done cover version of a song. Some covers use different instruments or a different arrangement to create almost a completely separate song. When it becomes a song separate from the original, and they can actually be enjoyed as unrelated musical performances instead of different versions, I think it allows for more musical expression for everyone.

I’m not completely against faithful cover versions, but I think it tends to leave listeners in a place where they have to decide which version is objectively “better” and that’s not a good thing. On the other hand, some covers with very different arrangements really take a song in a different direction that could ruin a favorite song for someone. Of course it could be argued that that arrangement just doesn’t appeal to those people so there’s no harm done.

So, your turn. Am I crazy? Are cover songs the bane of great musicians everywhere? Stifling creativity and ruining great music? I’m just not sure what’s more correct here.