Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Various Artists
Everything Is Ending Here: A Tribute To Pavement

I have problems with cover versions. In fact that’s an understatement. I have a major problem with cover versions. Shrouded as tributes to the original artists, they’re often little other than a cynical ploy to get more radio play and higher sales figures than a laughably average and/or appallingly shit band could ever manage purely on their own merit. But that’s enough about Westlife and Pop Idol for now. There’s a more pressing debate to consider.

Should cover versions be a straight remake of the original, indistinguishable other than for the vocal, or should they be radically reworked and remoulded in the style of the covering band? (Shit, I feel like I’m stuck in the obligatory five second ‘look, I am a journalist, honest’ segment of Sex In The City here) I suppose that proof must exist that supports both sides of the argument. Just for the record, the best cover ever is Sonic Youth’s rearranged version of the Carpenters’ ‘Superstar’, while the worst is quite probably ‘It’s Raining Men’ by Geri Haliwell, for every conceivable reason and on every possible level.

‘Everything Is Ending Here’ is the usual collection of notable names and unknown chancers, and features former label mates of Pavement (Bardo Pond), kindred spirits (Silkworm), future affiliates (Oranger) and general rip-off merchants (Garlic), all in addition to three different covers of ‘Here’. As you’d expect, the majority of the album comprises of average bands doing average covers of Pavement songs that sound like little more than band [x] playing at being Pavement.

There’s the usual problems with otherwise good bands either choosing the wrong song –Comet Gain doing ‘Ann Don’t Cry’ – or trying to sound like Pavement when they could have done a much better job had they recorded the song in their own style (Saloon). The album is further weighed down by bands coming up with adequately good takes on great songs - Number One Cup, Julie’s Haircut, Boxstep – that are just never going to compare to the originals.

‘Everything Is Ending Here’ raises the age-old question relating to cover versions, why would I ever want to listen to these songs when I could listen to the originals? And as far as twenty-six of the tracks on here go, the answer is I wouldn’t.

In fact, to truly pay tribute to Pavement, surely it would be better to just ditch the double album approach and just give me a mini-album of the best songs. Make sure that you include Fuck’s spectral take on ‘Heaven Is A Truck’; Magoo’s time signature skewing of ‘Perfume-V’ and Tindersticks’ mighty fine, mournful version of ‘Here’. That really would be the perfect place for everything, including Pavement’s legacy, to end.

ps. I’d like to dedicate the Tindersticks version of ‘Here’ to yet another season of ignominious underachievement, dubious defending, and general mediocrity from Tottenham Hotspur -

'I was dressed for success,
but success it never comes,
and I’m the only one that laughs,
at your jokes when they are so bad,
and your jokes are always bad,
but they’re not as bad as this'.