When I pick a song for the Cover Challenge it's mostly due to how immediate I hear myself doing it. Kind of a "ooh! I could do a _______ version of this song". But with last month's The Trooper I went from Pet Sounds era Beach Boys to late 60's Kinks to something else (all I know is it didn't end up sounding like the Kinks). The same thing is happening with this month. When I picked the song I wanted to do it pretty straight. Give it some dirty, sloppy guitar and scratchy synth, but it would be basically everything you hear on the original.
Well, I got most of the guitar/bass down this afternoon and then just scrapped it.
I'm really pleased with how it sounds, but it does feel like cheating. The original melody is kind of weird and harder to sing than you'd think. It's to the point where the record just doesn't sound right. So either they were breaking ground melodically or they were just rushing to get product in the stores.
But I'm not beating them down. I once lived with a guy that was a GREAT musician. He was a performance major at ASU and in one of his composition classes everyone was giving country music a hard time. You've got to understand these are kids that would play the same 6 measures of a classical piece over and over again for 4 hours. Simple country music was beneath them. So their professor challenged them with a "If it's so easy, then you do it. You each need to have one country song in by next week". So my friend told me everyone in the class struggled with the assignment. Few of them actually even finished it.
Pop music is in the same vein. The New Kids, Backstreet Boys, Justin Bieber, etc get a hard rap from the music community. It gets ragged on for being simple. But the same rule applies: If you think it's so easy, then you write a mindless pop song that sells millions. And sure, the intense marketing helps these guys out. But for every bubble gum pop success there are 5 other acts that had the same marketing budget. But for whatever reason, a song like "Hangin' Tough" clicks and you can sing it 20 years later.