We've been contemplating doing a few covers on New Year's Eve. You figure, hey, it's one of the top three debaucherous evenings of the year (along with Hallowe'en and the always rowdy Women's Suffrage Day), so why not learn something we can all sing along with? After all, a drunken, disorganized sing-along is a beautiful thing; kind of like a Canadian hockey game without the feathered mullets and the superior national anthem.
But, naturally, you have to be picky. A great cover is a rarity and you don't want to end up doing what the Ataris did: covering an otherwise fantastic '80s song, adding distortion, and butchering the vocals like Carl Lewis before a Bulls game. (If Don Henley was dead, he would've been rolling in his grave. Since he's not, he probably just cashed a royalty check and drank pink champagne on ice. Strange, but true). Of course, on the flip side of this coin are the Clash, Nirvana, and Aretha Franklin. London Calling (my top vote getter for "Best Album Ever") is laden with covers while Nirvana's Unplugged is nearly half other people's music, notably that Leadbelly song I can never remember the name of and a mean version of "Man Who Sold The World." And I mention Aretha Franklin because "Respect" is actually an Otis Redding song. Hell, Bobby McGee is a Kristofferson song but I really don't want to hear any version without Janis Joplin at the helm. (Barely related note: isn't it wonderful that the guy who wrote "Bobby McGee" and "Sunday Morning Coming Down" was also a psuedo-crippled vampire hunter who co-starred with Wesley "Yeah I cheated on my taxes but also I can kill you" Snipes? I think so. No. I know so.)
Okay: I digressed there for a moment. The point: covering someone else's song is a delicate challenge. If your version is too similar, you're wasting people's time. It's like Nickelback covering Creed. Would you even know the difference? And of course, the song has to be good, or what's the point of resurrecting it? There's a reason everyone covers "Let It Be." There's a reason no one covers "She Bangs" except William Hung, who, of course, is a genius. And no, I'm not kidding.
Which leaves us where, exactly? Well, with choosing a New Year's cover. The criteria is it has to be well-known enough that we can all sing along or at least slur through a chorus or two; it has to be someone we don't really sound like (no Limp Bizkit, in other words); it has to be, above all, fun. Nobody wants to hear a somber rehash of "Uptown Girl."
Right now, we've got a couple ideas, but since we aren't that far along, I thought I'd solicit some suggestions. If anything, it could make for an interesting at-work playlist. For now, we'll keep the decision a secret. It's called foreshadowing.