Top 5 Old Songs Ripe for Hipster Updates
After having grown up in a pop-music culture that every day grows more adept at rehashing, re-imagining and (let's be frank) flat-out stealing sounds from those who came before, today's indie bands are no strangers to aping their influences. And unlike post-punk and grunge before them, this class doesn't just name-check their idols, it goes full impersonation.
Indie workhorse M. Ward, when not collaborating with every single female singer-songwriter in hipsterdom, has made a career of reworking myriad songs from 1950 on. Not to be outdone,The Bird and The Bee recorded a love note to Hall and Oates that single-handedly got the "Maneater" soft-rock duo back into royalty checks.
That leaves us, the fans, with a somewhat homogeneous group of musicians who are capable of imitating a broad spectrum of their predecessors. The problem is they don't always pick well. For every Gayngs covering Godley and Creme's "Cry," complete with homage music video, there are five "ironic" Kenny Loggins covers.
Instead, it's probably best (for all involved) for us to pick the tracks to cover, lest you be awash in heartfelt Wham! updates. So without further ado, here are Rocks Off's Top 5 songs in need of hipster updates and our choices for who should take the helm.
"Cecilia," Simon & Garfunkel
Covered by: Ra Ra Riot
Simon & Garfunkel are often regarded as one of the better singer-songwriter duos of the past century and for good reason. Though the strong storytelling would always carry through, their roots in dated folk-rock seem to melt away as their melodies and instrumentation progressed throughout their career.
The off-kilter yet utterly simplistic tapping, clapping, jangling rhythm of "Cecilia" hints at Paul Simon's later obsession with rhythm-driven songwriting. The schtick of Ra Ra Riot's public-school take on the preppy sound of Vampire Weekend -- themselves pitch-perfect for a Graceland-era cover treatment -- complete with string accompaniments and male/female harmonies is a perfect juxtaposition to this simplest of tunes from the folk legends.
"Going to California," Led Zeppelin
Covered by: Bon Iver
Let us start off by saying we don't think anyone should ever cover Led Zeppelin. Rocks Off can take or leave Kashmir and our loathing for Puff Daddy still hasn't subsided from that Godzilla soundtrack bullshit. That being said, if anyone should do it, it's this man covering this song. He's already been called the worst hipster musician of all time; might as well run with it.
The Boney Hare might be one of the most awkward and gangly media-crowned sex gods since Mr. Plant himself, so why not have him cover a song about dumping Janis Joplin for Joni Mitchell? As an added bonus, 98 percent of Bonny Bear's fans under age 25 have likely never heard "Going to California," or Led Zeppelin for that matter.