OPINION | Cover songs march to the beat of their own drum

Annie Muirbrook, a sophomore media studies major from Syracuse, is in the recording studio at the back of the Jennings Communication building. Cora Mark | Sun News Daily

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I’m not even “Sorry” when I say I could “Keep Driving” down the highway with my “Drivers License” listening to my favorite cover songs because it “Hits Different.”

Music has been and always will be a massive part of my life. Having roughly 18 years of dance experience under my belt, I have listened to about a million different songs including different covers.

I am all for listening to new songs and new versions of songs. Hearing what people are able to do to change songs and put their own twist on them is something I find as a real talent.

I get bored of listening to the same songs over and over again, so it’s nice to listen to my favorites but different versions of it. To put it simply, covers are like chocolate cake and vanilla cake. Both are cake, just different flavors depending on the mood you’re in.

However, it does bother me when people simply take the song and sing it the exact same way as the original artist. If people are going to do a cover of a song, make it unique and not the exact same as the original song.

I like covers of songs for the most part. There is a cover of “Billie Jean” by The Civil Wars that I tried listening to, and I shut it off almost immediately because the singers sounded like they were trying too hard to make it unique. There are cases where the original song should just be left the way it is.

Cover songs are becoming more and more common, especially with social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok having more videos available for viewers as well as those who are trying to share their talents. These new and aspiring artists are becoming more popular with each cover they do.

Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Sabrina Carpenter, Olivia Rodrigo. These are all artists who are very popular within the media right now, and with that, their music is constantly being remade into cover songs.

“Blank Space” by Taylor Swift has a cover by I Prevail which is a punk/rock version, giving a twist on her traditional pop version. I don’t really like it, but I love the idea behind it, allowing it to be a version of the song that those who are into punk and rock music would enjoy.

Going back to Harry Styles, he is a big artist who has his own music, but he also does covers of songs and has performed them on talk shows as well as his own “Harry’s House” tour. I enjoy listening to him sing in general, so hearing him put a twist on other artists’ songs is fun for me to listen to.

I also like that Harry Styles doesn’t seem to make drastic changes to these songs either. He mostly keeps the same tune and theme. I will say that sometimes his specific covers can be better than the original, like the cover he did of Lizzo’s song “Juice.”

Some artists that do covers will oftentimes flip the feeling of it. For example, they take an upbeat song and switch it to a slow song that has the opposite feeling to it.

In 2021, TikTok had a video become really popular because it was a good cover of a song. “Kiss the Girl” by Brent Morgan went viral for being a slowed-down version of the original Disney song. The beautiful piece continues to be played on a regular basis, and it’s one of my favorite songs on my “calm” playlist.

I personally love it when covers are done in a calmer version of the original. It gives me a way to listen to those really upbeat songs at any given moment. Whether I’m sad, calm or excited, I know I always have different options of songs because of covers.

The “Choir of Man” musical is a perfect example of this type of music. This show is based in a pub in London, and throughout the show, they sing many covers of popular songs live. It is a beautiful, fun and energetic masterpiece, and it was nominated for the Olivier Award in 2022.

One of the main songs in the show is “You’re the Voice.” The original song by John Farnham was such a great one, so to hear it done by another group in a different context was so cool to hear. I liked how in the show, the words and fluctuation in the singers’ voices are clearer and more precise compared to the original song, just because it’s a live performance.

That is another contributing factor as to why I like covers because a good majority of the time, the covers I listen to don’t have as much autotune, and I can clearly hear the singer’s voice and the talent that comes with that.

Another song that is covered in this show is “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry. This version is a slow acoustic song, and they actually bring up an audience member and serenade them with the song. This is a good song to begin with, but this cover is done with a guitar and the singers’ voices. It’s not overbearing with other instruments or synthesizers to change the sounds in the song, but it is purely instruments and voices, and I love that aspect.

These are only a few different examples of covers. There are endless versions of songs by many talented performers. I love covers, and as long as you’re giving the credit to the artist who created the song, then please, share your covers with the world because I for one, would love to hear them.