(Todd in the Shadows in his usual location, holding his phone in one hand and a script in the other)
Todd: Sage! Sage, are you there!?
Sage: Um......is, is this Todd?
Todd: Yeah, i-it's me. Listen, I need you to do me a HUGE favor.
Sage: Oh! Oh yeah sure, I can help. Uh, what do you need? Uh, help capturing footage? You need someone to-
Todd: Nonono, it's nothing like that. I-I need someone to cover my spot in the video scheldue on the site, something came up on my end, and I need time to deal with it.
Sage: Wait, what do you mean something came up? Are you in trouble? Is someone hurt?
(Todd is slowly holding up a DVD case as the the music video for "Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO suddenly appears)
Redfoo and Skyblue: Everyday I'm shufflin.
(The music video continues for a brief moment before cutting back to Todd)
Todd: (Exhales) Not yet, at least. So, are you gonna help me out or what?
Sage: Um, sure?
Todd: Thank god! Thank god. Listen, just have the video be about music of some kind, and we'll be solid.
Sage: Waitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwait! Who said anything about doing a music video? I thought I was just gonna do a gaming video about like the Top Ten-
Todd: You sure you won't let me down? Can't wait to see it, later!
(Todd hangs up as we cut back to Bennett)
Sage: No Todd, wait Todd, Todd!
(Bennett hangs up his phone)
(He then throws his phone on the ground)
Sage: (Whispering) Fucking great. Why couldn't he get Paw or Roses to cover him? I mean, if he was just gonna- Cover, Covers.
(Cut to Sage in Todd's normal setup with him wearing a hoodie, his face being concealed, and sitting at a piano)
Sage: Um, (Laughs nervously) um, Oh!
(Sage attempts to play the piano before slamming his hand on the keys and walking away)
Sage: I don't know why this was a good idea!
(Cut to Sage's chair as he walks in, takes his seat, and puts on his signature beret)
Sage: So! uh, yeah, covers.
(Cut to: footage of a music video for Sheryl Crow's cover of "Sweet Child o'Mine, and no I'm not making that up, as Sage monologues)
(*Editor's note: I don't recognize all of the music videos so if anyone can help fill these gaps, that would be great)
Sage (VO): Covers have a checkered past when it comes to general equality. While some may make their presence known, only to be quickly forgotten. Others would go down in history as being the musical equvilant of spitting on the orginator's grave.
Sage: Or on the orginator if they're alive, if the cover is bad, and. Yeah my metaphor is going nowhere.
(The music video to Soft Cell's cover of "Tainted Love" appears)
Sage (VO): Still there is the occassional cover that manages to eclipse its original iteration in terms of musicianship, production, flair, and other tangibles. To the point that the orginal may be excised completely from the public memory at large. This list counts down both ends of the spectrum, celebrating the best and condeming the worst that covers have to offer.
Sage: What am I looking for in a good or bad cover? Well, how they compare to the source material is inevitable so that's thrown into the equation. But I'm also looking for how they sound as songs in their own right, and how well or badly they've aged over the course of time. And before you get your hopes up, no Alien Ant Farm's cover of "Smooth Criminal" is not on the "Worst of" list.
(Footage of the music video to Alien Ant Farm's version of "Smooth Criminal)
Sage (VO): Yeah, yeah, I've heard it all before. "How dare Alien Ant Farm cover the King of Pop". But, while I don't actively listen to the song, I am impressed at how they translated the original's manufactured synthesizer beats and chords to actual wood and metal instruments. Plus, I'm a sucker for a good bass line.
Sage: But speaking of what's ON the worst of list, let's dive in feet first as we count down.
(Cut to: the music video for Fallout Boy's cover of "Beat it", which serves as the interlude to the Worst Of list)
Sage (VO): The Top Five Worst Covers of All Time.
Sage (VO): #5
Sage: Before we get into the nitty gritty details of my Number Five, I think some backstory is needed.
(Cut To: A slideshow montage of various pictures of Bob Dylan as "The Times, They are a Changin" plays in the background)
Sage (VO): Back in the early 60s, a very young and very rough around the edges Bob Dylan, couldn't get a record deal if his life depended on it. Not for lack of talent, but mainly because his voice was, (and still is mind you), like sandpaper on your eardrums. Still, he attracted a following, and up-and-coming singer-songwriter Joan Baez championed his work by singing his songs and inviting him to come up and play during her concerts, they even became lovers for a time. Flash-forward to 1967 as bootleg started to come out from Bob Dylan and his backing band called The Hawks. Eventually these bootlegs spurred The Hawks (without Dylan mind you) to change their name to The Band and releasing their first album "Music from Big Pink", which is primarially composed more of refined songs from these bootlegs. Among these songs was the powerful "I Shall be Released"
(Cut To: a live performance of the Band singing "I Shall be Released"
Richard Manuel: They say everything can be replaced.
They say every distance is not near.
Sage (VO): Now normally I find falsetto singing to be irritating, but singer Richard Manuel here manages to fill his vocals with a sense of pathos and vulnerability. And considering how the song is about imprisonment in one way or another, vulnerability is exactly what you want to stride for. It's emotionally driven, earnest, and somberly beautiful.
Sage: So how does Joan Baez fit into all this? Well, take a guess.
(Cut to: Live footage of Baez starting up the song in front of a crowd)
Joan Baez: They say everything can be replaced.
They say every distance is not near.
#5 Worst. Joan Baez-I shall be Released
Sage (VO): Whereas Bob Dylan evolved his songwriting over time. Joan Baez was still stuck in the folk sounding early 60s, and it resonates here in her rendition. Stripping all sense of vulnerability and Pathos, Baez turns a soul bearing plea into what sounds like square dancing night at the retirement home.
Sage: I like to think that Baez sang this song as (extends Middle finger out) a kind of "Fuck You" to Dylan. Maybe over him stiffing her at a bar or something. At least that would explain why she performs this song so blandly and lifelessly. But, alas that's not the case. She just simply sucks.
Baez: We shall be released. (The song ends as the audience gives their applause.)
Sage (VO): #4
(Footage of the music video of Tarzan Boy by Baltimora starts up)
Jimmy McShane: Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.
Sage (VO): Oh, the 80s. What would we have done without you?
Sage: Probably would've just kept on going with the 70s. (Beat) Not a bad thought actually.
Sage (VO): Yeah, I make it no secret that I think this particular decade is a little overrated when it comes to music in general. I just never clung onto the overuse of synthesizers and drum machines. Though I do catch myself listening to some of the more cheesy singles from that decade. Singles like, ooooh, One Night in Bangkok.
(Footage starts up of the video to the song in question)
Murray Head: Bangkok.
And the city don't know that the city is getting.
The crème de la crème of the Chess world.
In a show with everything but Yul Brynner.
Sage (VO): My interest in the song isn't so much in the song itself, but rather its background. It was originally from a London West End musical, appropriately titled Chess, written by Tim Rice and composed by (pictures of) Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. The same two behind Mama Mia and half of Abba.
Sage: Yeah. THOSE motherfuckers.
Sage (VO): It's not often that a song from a musical enters the pop charts, especially from a non American production. But the song was quirky enough, and memorable enough, to have its place in American pop culture.
Sage: And really, that's it! That is all there is to the song. It's just a West End number that got really popular here in America. But, apparently no one got the message, because there is a metric buttload of covers of this song. And they're all terrible.
(Footage of the video to the first cover appears)
#4 Worst. Everyone-One Night in Bangkok
Robey: Time flies.
Doesn't seem a minute.
Since the Tirolean Spa had the chess boys in it.
Sage (VO): You can call this a cop out or whatever, but I could honestly not figure out which version of this song pisses me off more. Because, really, they all suffer from the same thing. They miss the entire point of this song.
Sage: It's not like this song is open to interpretation, it's from a musical. Literally, what's happening in the song, is what's happening in the play. So, anything outside of that context is inherently wrong.
Sage (VO): And really. How sad is it that of all the covers that exist of this song, the most tolerable one is from a one hit wonder named Robey?
Robey: One town's.
Very like another.
When your head's down over your pieces brother.
It's a drag, (It's a bore),
It's really such a pity.
To be looking at the board,
not looking at the city.
Sage (VO): Oh come on, why does this even exist? She sounds like a watered down Paula Abdul.
Sage: (Laughing) And to think, if that's the best cover of "Bangkok" there is. What do the others sound like. (Continues laughing) I'll tell you. (Suddenly sounds very serious) Not very good.
(Footage of the video to the next cover)
C21: One night in Bangkok.
And the world's your oyster.
Sage (VO): This is from C21, a Danish boy band....Yeah, I'm surprised to find out the Danish even knew what boy bands were just as much as you.
(Footage of the next video)
A-Teez: One night in Bangkok
and the world's your oyster.
The bar's are temples-
Sage (VO): This is from the A-Teez. Yeah, you remember them don't you? This version makes the most sense to me though as they were supposed to be an ABBA cover band, and considering who wrote the original song in the first place, it just seems natural. Doesn't mean it's not crap though.
(Footage of the video to the next cover by a band called the Vinylshakerz)
Vinylshakerz: One night in Bangkok
and the world's your oyster.
The bar's are temples but the pearls ain't free.
Sage (VO): Oh god, this has to be the worst one! Anything that can give me "Dirty bit" flashbacks has to die in a fire.
Synthesized voice on the song: And the world's your oyster.
(The video then just descends into a techno beat while gazing over footage of a woman in lingerie before cutting to the Dirty Bit video, showing the similarities in the style of the two godawful beats.)
Sage: (Rubbing his forehead in pure agony) Can I stop showing examples? I can only take so much punishment before I begin contemplating (makes the finger gun gesture to his temple) what my brain would look like splattered up against the wall.
(Footage of the original Murray Head version is shown in mercy on the viewer)
Sage (VO): One night in Bangkok. If only they kept to that one night.
(The video ends)
Sage (VO): #3
(Footage of the music video to "Burning down the House" by the Talking Heads begins to play)
David Byrne: Watch out.
You might get what you're after.
Sage (VO): Ah, Talking Heads. You are an oasis in a desert of 80s pop. If I had to give credit to the 80s on one thing, I'll admit that the decade was responsible for starting the Alternative Rock movement. And sowing the seeds for future artists and bands that were prominent in the 90s.
Sage: And it surprises me how well the Talking Heads have aged. I mean, you could listen to songs like "Once in a Lifetime", "Psycho Killer", "Burning down the House", and they sound like nothing that was going on during their respective eras of music. But then Butt Rock happened, and ruined everything.
(Footage of the music video starts)
Scott Stevens: Letting the days go by.
Let the water hold me down.
#3 Worst. The Exies-Once in a Lifetime
Sage (VO): If you don't know who the Exies are, I don't blame you. They're basically a poor man's version of Puddle of Mudd, who are basically a poor man's version of Bush (Shows a picture of the former president with a doofy grin on his face) No not that one. (Shows the proper photo of the band in question) There we go.
Sage: So with a band that situates itself squarely within the realm of preening vocals and obnoxious guitar breaks, how do you think their interpretation of the lyrically ambivalent, but still upbeat "Once in a lifetime" sound like?
Scott Stevens: And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself.
Where is that large automobile?
Sage: Yep, that's about right. (Beat) Meaning horrible.
Sage (VO): I honestly get what the band was trying to do, really I do. But, when you take the underlying desperate tone of the original song, and do everything to put it at the forefront. You're only going to wind up sounding whiny and trite. Everything about this song and it's accompanying video just screams of trying way too hard to be somber. The useless guitar breaks during the chorus, the mumbling vocals, the suicidal imagery, the pointless reminiscing of childhood memories that don't amount to anything. The fucking 9/11 footage!
Sage: Maybe if they got rid of the electric guitars and drums, and kept it acoustic, and had a different singer. Maybe this would've worked out. But, as it is, it's just annoying in that suicidal teenager sort of way.
(Footage is shown of the singer of the band hanging by a noose before forming a crucifix shape that wouldn't look out of place in a Creed video)
Sage: Dude, even Scott Staph would tell you that you're taking the Jesus imagery too far. (scoffs) Great, now I'm thinking of Creed covering "Life during Wartime" (Shudders at the thought.)
Sage (VO): The Exies, the only thing more stupid than their covers, is their name.
Sage (VO): #2
(Footage of the next music video comes onscreen)
Michael Bolton: Sitting in the morning sun.
I'll be sitting when the evening comes.
#2 Worst. Michael Bolton-(Sitting on) The Dock of The Bay
Sage: Oh dear. (Clicks on a pen and holds up a piece of paper as he begins to write) Dear, black people. On behalf of white people, I. Am. Sorry.
Sage (VO): Yeah, I know it's Michael Bolton, and making fun of Michael Bolton is like picking on a retarded kid at this point. But really, he covered Otis Redding.
Sage: Mr. "Love is a wonderful thing" covered Otis Redding. Talk about white guilt!
Sage (VO): I can't imagine a more ill fitting singer to cover this song. Not only does Bolton welp and scrape through Dock of the Bay, but the melancholy nature of the lyrics is the complete opposite of what Bolton represents.
Bolton: I have nothing to live for.
It's like nothings going to come my way.
Sage: What the fuck are you bellyaching for, Bolton? You've had the soft rock market cornered since 1987. Is there any other legendary musician you want to take a dump on while you're at it?
(Bennett speaks too soon, as footage of the music video to Bolton's cover of "Georgia on my Mind" is shown.)
(Sage is now hitting himself with his beret in frustration, both at the video in question, and himself for opening his mouth at the wrong time.)
Sage (VO): Oh god, you even got Kenny G in on this! You Fiend!
Sage: Do you just hate humanity Bolton?!
Sage (VO): The only thing that's keeping me from putting this on the Worst Of list, is that he's not actually covering a Ray Charles' song. "Georgia on my Mind" was actually first recorded in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael
(The album cover is shown while the original version plays, followed by text saying "SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND TO BIOSHOCK")
The hold it-
Sage: Yeah, Ray Charles really pulled a Superman on that one.
Sage (VO): But the same cannot be said about "Dock of the Bay." The blame is squarely on you Bolton. And may God have mercy on your wannabe black soul.
Sage (VO): #1
(Footage of Sage on his chair looking downright pissed)
Sage: (Long Pause): My number one is Limp Bizkit.
(Footage of the beginning to the infamous video to "Rollin" starts to play, focusing on everyone's favorite easily punchable, talentless, wannabe gangster Fred Durst.)
Durst: Alright, partner.
Keep on rollin baby.
You know what time it is.
Sage (VO): Fuck. these. guys. FUCK. THESE. GUYS!! I honestly thought they had died off by at least the mid-2000s. But, they just released their sixth album. A month ago! And holy shit, what the fuck happened to (Image of) Fred Durst? I know it's been ten years since he was relevant, but dude looks like he just spent the last decade eating his way out of a cheese prison.
Sage: If I really wanted to, I would've put every obnoxious cover they ever did on this list. But, I gotta pretend to have some semblance of professionalism. So, I'll just round it up by saying that "Faith" ruined the decade.
(Footage of the video to the cover in question)
Durst: Well, I guess it would be nice.
If I could touch your body.
#1 Worst. Limp Bizkit-Faith
Sage (VO): I can't think of any defense whatsoever for this song. None at all. Sure, Bolton is a screeching hobgoblin. But, at least Bolton attempted to show some respect in his entirely misguided cover. "Faith" on the other hand, openly mocks its source material.
Durst: Well, I guess it would be nice.
If I could touch your body.
I know not everybody.
Has got a body like me.
Sage: (Hitting his head back in anger and clenching his teeth) That's not how the song goes!
(Footage of the original video is shown as comparison)
George Michael: I know not everybody.
Has got a body like you.
Sage: Fuck you Fred Durst! You just screwed up the rhyme scheme to make a weak ass brag about yourself. But, you are right. Not everybody has a body like yours. And I thank God for that everyday.
Sage (VO): If they're not screwing up the lyrics, then they're devolving into nonsensical screaming and record scratches.
Durst: Well it takes a strong man baby.
But, I'm showing you that.
You gotta have Faith!!!
Gotta have Faith!!
Back the (Fuck is muted out of the video) up!!
(The video continues for a bit as it turns into an unnecessary and annoying rap breakdown, complete with, you guessed it, record scratches.)
Sage: Were we all taking crazy pills when this song came out?! Did somebody slip some brown acid into our water supply that made us think that Fred Durst and Limp Bizkit were anything other than screaming man children, that deserve nothing more than our intense hatred?! No wonder people thought the world was going to end in 2000!
Sage (VO): Somehow, Limp Bizkit managed to insult and desecrate a song that previously, I held no esteem for in the first place. That, shouldn't be possible.
Sage: The only good thing I can say about this song, is that at least they didn't homage the original video and have Fred Durst's ass on close up.
(Footage of the Original George Michael video of the famous shot that pans up to his Levi covered ass is shown, in all it's cheesy, sepiatoned 80s glory)
Sage: Oh, George Michael. How did we ever fool ourselves into thinking, you were ever straight?
Sage (VO): I can't even imagine any other cover that can get me this pissed than fucking "Faith". So, congratulations Limp Bizkit, you are number one. Now, kindly vacate the planet and take all of your backwards baseball cap wearing fans with you.
(The last vestiges of the video are shown, with Durst screaming and yelling like a wild bear that got shot with a tranquilizer gun, as the Worst of list mercifully comes to a close)
Sage: Well, God knows I don't wanna leave you with Limp Bizkit as a final thought. So, let's wash our hands of these songs as we count down...