Friday, 11 June 2010

My Top Favourite 350 songs of all time. #349

The slightly overweight countdown continues....

Cover versions fall into two categories. Shit ones and stunners. The shit ones fail because either the original song was shit, the artist covering it is shit or the new version so uninteresting it only enhances the qualities of the original.

Stunners do the opposite, a great cover version should make you forget that it's a cover version at some point. Then it should make you dig out the original and wonder at how the artist got from A to inspired B.

Saint Etienne's take on Right Said Fred's 1991 wedding party fave I'm Too Sexy is a case in point. Takes the comedy of the original and adds a slightly tongue-in-cheek veneer of Eurodisco sadness that prevents it from ever getting near the record collection of a bloke called Howard with a cheap set of lights, an amplifier and a new name at weekends (DJ Supersounds or something similar)

It almost feels like a smug injoke with its references to their then label boss Jeff Barrett but Etienne steer clear of all out knowing irony. There's the same sense of euphoric loss you'd feel at finding some old photographs of a younger, nicer, thinner you with all life stretched out before you like some undiscovered island. Back when you were beautiful, optimistic and perhaps too sexy for this song.

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