A singer/group that does a cover version of a song that is considered a classic takes on an enormous responsibility. He has a responsibility to analyze the song even before deciding if it’s the right one to do a cover of, a duty to put his own roots into the song, and an obligation to raise the song and the memory of it to a higher level of consciousness.
George Michael did this very well with his cover of the Queen’s “Somebody to Love”, singing with the remains of the group after Lola Freddie had gone to the big goose down pillow in the sky. Gary Valenciano often did Al Jarreau’s “Spain” in his concerts much to his audiences’ delight. Kuh Ledesma sang Barbra Streisand’s “My Man” and made you wonder if she was talking about someone in particular.
These are songs that are sacred and that must be treated with respect and reverence, like your grandparents. And Sinatra. And Eraserheads songs. While I consider the Eraserheads less than gods (Ely Buendia has, after all, left the group to do — pop techno?), I have always believed they captured the ethos of their generation, and made an older generation sympathize and reminisce.
Have just finished listening to the songs of Ultraelectromagneticjam. Wait, let me rephrase that. I listened to the ones that I thought were good, and gave the rest a chance. About half a minute’s chance. I think thirty seconds is more than enough time for me to decide if I like the way the song is going/sounding or not.
Franics M’s “Superproxy” and Rico J Puno’s “Huling El Bimbo” are tops on my list. Brownman Revival made “Maling Akala” their own and had a lot of fun doing so. Paolo Santos, he of the Parisian moonlight and bridges falling down in London (some of the most inane lyrics I have ever heard), surprised me with Magasin and the way he sang it. If only Cueshe’s lead singer would stop aping Green Day and just sing with his own voice, “Hard to Believe” wouldn’t have been too bad. I’ve never liked Orange and Lemons (and probably never will), but their performance here is at par with RadioActive Sago Project’s rendition of Alcohol and Spongecola’s “Pare Ko”. Southborder’s “With a Smile” was too saccharine for my taste.
What I cannot comprehend is all these girls singing Eraserheads songs. There’s a difference, you see, with a girl just singing along to an Eraserheads song playing on the radio, and with a girl belting it out in a recording studio. I don’t believe it was a very good idea to have girls on this album, especially because these Eraserheads songs that the girls picked out are in essence “boy” songs. You can go ahead and argue the matter, but if you listen closely to Barbie Almalbis singing “Overdrive” you will get what I mean. Not only is Barbie wrong for this song, she definitely does not come across as sincere when she whines “Gusto kong matutong mag draaaaayve”. Not even Kitchie Nadal (whom I’ve always prefered over Barbie) impresses me in “Ligaya”, and what the heck did MYMP think they were doing singing “Huwag Mo Nang Itanong” like it were “Emotions” (another bad cover of Samantha Sang)?
And pardon me for being so clueless, but why wasn’t Parkoya ni Edgar in on this? Parkoya, along with Brownman Revival, Sugarfree and Kamikazee are, in my opinion the bands who have hit the mark with their own sound and style. It would have been a powerpacked album with just these bands and Rico J and Francis M.
It’s a delicate balancing act, doing covers. Ultraelectromagneticjam precariously teeters to one side and recovers only by the weight of each listener’s personal preferences.