It’s that time of the month again, where I have a good old virtual rummage on Youtube, along with some much needed assistance from you guys, and gather up a selection of the best Eurovision covers. Although, I say the word “covers” in the loosest sense. Really I only use the term as a matter of convenience, as in past editions you’ll have noticed that I’ve included remixes and samples too. But something’s been missing…a good old mashup!
Original: 2012, Sweden, Loreen (1st)
Cover: Robin Skouteris featuring Loreen, Katy Perry and Europe “The Final Euphoria”
And what a mashup I have to begin with! Now mashups can be very varied in their quality. Often they’ll just sound like a jumble of noise. But when done properly they can be, well, euphoric. This one is a case in point. Robin Skouteris has taken three already brilliant songs “Euphoria”, “Firework” and “The Final Countdown”, flung them together and produced something magnificent. From the atmospheric blasts at the beginning to the moment when Katy Perry and Loreen simultaneously go u-u-u-up, the quality never lags. Perfection!
Original: 1979, Israel, Gali Atari and Milk and Honey (1st)
Cover: Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme
This weeks first reader suggestion comes from Melissa Kutcher. It’s a nice song, I admit. But not much else. The original was never that daring to start out with, and Steve and Eydie stick to the same safe, but not terribly exciting, formula. Your granny would probably like it though.
“Me and My Guitar”
Original: 2010, Belgium, Tom Dice (7th)
Cover: Lee Scott
I’m sure the majority of you have never heard of Lee Scott. Well neither had I until Arianna (@Arianna483) got in touch via Twitter, and shared some of his songs with me. One of them was his take on “Me and My Guitar”. It’s very well done but for me the only real difference between it and the original is in the singers’ voices. Whereas Tom’s has a husky edge Lee’s is more polished. Personally, I feel that to make a cover worthwhile it must have a twist, just a slight change to make it stand out. Otherwise what’s the point? Despite this, I’m reluctant to be overly critical of Lee, because he has done a few more excellent covers which Arianna was good enough to send on to me also. One in particular is so good that I had it playing on repeat for days. But I’m rationing songs you’ll have to wait until next time before I reveal it (sorry if I’m being a tease).
“Making Your Mind Up”
Original: 1981, United Kingdom, Bucks Fizz (1st)
Cover: Sugarfree “Geef Er Een Lap Op”
The Belgian* duo Sugarfree may have added a few beats and sped things up a little but their version remains every bit as cheesy as the Bucks Fizz original. And despite the modern tweaks it still sounds a little dated.
Original: 2012, Spain, Pastora Soler (10th)
Cover: Rafa Blas
I have a confession to make – I usen’t like Pastora Soler. Despite what everyone said I was completely immune to her charms. But then at the end of the last “Uncovered” Nanda recommended this cover by Rafa Blas and I had an epiphany. My
eyes ears were opened, as I realised what a brilliant song “Quédate Conmigo” actually is. This should be the template for all covers. Rafa gives us his own unique take on the song, resulting in something far superior to your run of the mill karaoke tracks (*cough*The Pinup Girls*cough). It even caused me to go back and reassess my views on Pastora. To my surprise I found myself warming to her, although I still prefer Rafa’s cover (I didn’t become a true Pastora convert until I saw this clip).
“La La La”
Original: 1968, Spain, Massiel (1st)
Cover: Saint Etienne
Okay, I’m about to contradict myself. All that stuff I said above about giving a cover a twist, well that’s fine…in moderation. Sometimes the cover artists can go a bit overboard with their reinterpretations. Unfortunately, that’s what’s happened with this Saint Etienne cover (suggested by Tiggeh). They’ve tried to turn the song on its head by making it slower and more mellow. But by removing all the energy and vibrancy they’ve created a snorefest. I’ll be “La La La”ing along to this version but with my fingers in my ears.
Original: 2013, Denmark, Emmelie de Forest (1st)
Cover: Índigo “Cuando Hay Dolor”
eurovision-berlin recommended this on the basis that it was better than the original. I’m afraid I’m going to have to politely disagree. Instead of hearing Emmelie’s beautiful natural tones we have to listen to Índigo, who sounds alarmingly like a robot. I have no problem with autotune. When it’s used properly it becomes a fantastic instrument. Regrettably, it’s overused here to such an extent that it becomes distracting, which is a shame because the words all sound so nice in Spanish.
“Long Live Love”
Original: 1974, United Kingdom, Olivia Newton John (4th)
Cover: Tina Charles
I’ve already complained a
little lot over covers which I feel are merely karaoke. Well there’s karaoke and then there’s clones. This is the latter. If it wasn’t for the fact that Olivia’s voice is so distinctive you wouldn’t be able to tell the cover from the original. Thankfully, Tina Charles left the cover business and recorded the classic “I Love to Love” instead. Good move.
“Take Me to Your Heaven”
Original: 1999, Sweden, Charlotte Nilsson/Perrelli (1st)
Cover: Sarah Dawn Finer
I hate this song! Not even the lovely Sarah Dawn Finer could rescue it for me. My hatred for it is resolute. Needless to say Sarah’s interpretation is far superior to Charlotte’s original, but if you want to hear some top class Dawn Finer, I’d recommend you listen to her cover of Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” instead.
“Främling” / “Fairytale”
Original: 1983, Sweden, Carola (3rd) / 2009, Norway, Alexander Rybak (1st)
Cover: Alexander Rybak / Carola
I started with a mashup, so I’ll finish with one too. I’d never have thought of putting “Främling” and “Fairytale” together, but they gel perfectly. As a bonus this also counts as a cover since Alexander and Carola swap roles, each singing the others song. In the process they transform two fabulous but unquestionably upbeat songs into one moody tune full of tension (dare I say sexual) and drama. If you close your eyes you could almost imagine it on the soundtrack of a film, just at the point where everything comes to a climax. I say close your eyes because Carola’s leg movements and whoops kind of ruin the illusion.
There you have it another 10 covers done and dusted. I know I didn’t get to discuss every reader suggestion but fear not. There’s plenty more editions of “Uncovered” to come yet and everyone’s recommendations will get a mention eventually. So, please keep on suggesting more covers for me to include in future lists. And while you’re at it share your views on the current list as well. Or click here to see some of the Eurovision covers we’ve covered previously.
*Update 29/08/2013: The post originally stated that Sugarfree were South African. They are actually Belgian.