Remakes. Heartfelt homage or insidious ripoff?

They say that imitation is a form of flattery.  I say that this is true only a quarter of the time.  What the hell am I talking about?  I’m talking about remakes.  In my opinion there are only a rare few remakes that are really, really good.  Other times it’s just downright bad if not insultingly so.

In general I tend to frown upon remakes.  It’s not that I dislike all of them.  I just feel that at this point in time music should be going forward, going toward a new frontier.  Not going backwards and redoing someone elses work.  Especially if said work was picture perfect to begin with.  Here’s some examples.

“We Are The Champions”  Everyone on earth by this point should know this classic song by Queen.  It is the ultimate victory song.  I don’t even need to explain it.  So when I was listening to an internet radio show and I heard this remake or rather this re-imaging I RAGED so hard that I had to turn the show off.  Don’t get me wrong I like a lot of these guys.  But did they seriously have nothing better to do than to desecrate one of the most iconic songs in the Queen library?  It’s not bad, but hell who am I kidding it’s god awful and it was not necessary to do it.  Seriously, not since “Don’t Worry Be Happy” has a song made me want to destroy something.

An example of a great remake, at least I think, is Chantay Savages remake of Gloria Gaynors “I Will Survive”.  She took an upbeat disco song, slowed it down into a ballad and knocked it out of the park.  It worked as a ballad.  Considering the subject matter it made sense for it to be a ballad.  This song has actually been remade by a few people/groups.  I know Cake did a remake of it.  According to my research it is Ms. Gaynors least favorite cover as there is cursing in it.  Depending on your taste that’s could be hit or miss for you.  I liked it.  I love the disco version of course, but I actually prefer listening to this version.

Another one that’s kind of hit and miss is Alien Ant Farms version of “Smooth Criminal”.  I kinda have mixed feelings about it that are sort of difficult to explain.  First and foremost I must say that I don’t hate it.  Not at all.  Those guitar riffs are just awesome and by now you should know my feelings about guitars and how sexy I think they are.  I love the original very much though.  I get these feelings of conflict like I’m committing some sort of blasphemy or something for liking this version.  It’s like a part of me wants to feel bad for it.  I don’t know.  I will say that I LOVE the video.  I found it profoundly entertaining.  They got the essence of his videos down pat.

There are so many remakes out there. I don’t have time to talk about every last one of them because I don’t have all day, heck all week hunting and researching them.  But I think you’ve gotten the point.  Also I don’t know why I’m the only one who finds something wrong with this sudden new trend of remaking a song of an artist who is currently active.  What is that all about?  Seriously! I want to know.

It’s as a I said, I don’t hate them all, but I just wish all these artist would do something original and unique and totally their own.  Rather than scavenging from the vaults of musics past.  Sadly that does not appear to be what’s happening now and it’s pretty damn heartbreaking.


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