The other day, a friend and I were pondering the idea of what songs just should not be covered. Even though it just seems like every song from the 1980’s has been remade/covered/butchered, and mangled, there a still some songs that have been left untouched. And then there are some songs that were ahead of their time. Two I chose because I sincerely believe that they will be re-covered any day now. Two I chose because the they accurately predicted the future in Nostradamus-like fashion. And the last one is a song I like a lot, and would want to hear remade. Note: I had to put the word “again” at the end; for, much to my disappointment, the songs had already been covered. I promise that if I ever create a part 2, I will make sure that I will choose songs that absolutely have not been covered….
“Every Day is Halloween” by Ministry
On the surface, this songs has become a forgotten gem. Not only has the band seemingly disowned it due the band’s shift in genres from synth-pop to industrial metal, but this songs is forsaken every October 31, when every Halloween-related song is played on the radio. Since the song’s release, the goth’s sub-culture has been more accepted into the mainstream (much to the goth’s disdain, no doubt). And Halloween is now a quasi-national holiday; it is in higher regard and is more celebrated than say… Columbus Day, which occurs three-weeks prior.
“Self Control” by Laura Branigan
Another song that does not get enough love during Halloween. Hearing the phrase, “creatures of the night” during the chorus, you just gotta think that at any moment, Lady Gaga is going to cover this song. Or even worse, perhaps Ke$ha. The song has been a guilty pleasure of mine, and when I play this track to my friends, not only do they remember the song from their childhood days, they sheepishly admit liking the song a little bit as well. It is a shame Branigan passed away so soon. She really did not enough credit that she deserved. And this song is much, much, better than her allegedly greatest hit, “Gloria.”
“Cancer” by Joe Jackson
Listening to this song, one can easily imagine it being used in “South Park,” or “Family Guy.” I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a heavy influence on Matt Parker, Trey Stone, and Seth MacFarlane. It’s hard to tell whether any Joe Jackson song is tongue-in-cheek, or serious social commentary. If it’s the former, he was a forerunner of deadpan snark. If it’s the latter, then he deserves an honorary Nobel Prize.
“Dirty Laundry” by Don Henley
Hard to believe that this song not only predates the advent of 24/7 cable news cycle, but this song was the harbinger to the O.J. trial, the Drudge Report, and TMZ. Twelve years later, the Charlie Sheen movie “The Chase” tried to deliver the same point, but this song does much better.
“Power and the Passion” by Midnight Oil
Maybe because they are from Australia, and maybe because prog-rock is looked down upon as a sub-genre. But they do not receive enough credit in North America as they should. Out of all the Midnight Oil songs, I could have chosen, I think this one should have had more commercial success. Since most of their songs were scathing commentary on contemporary Australian policies, and global politics in general, it’s hard for me to pinpoint one song that was that much ahead of its time. So I went with one of their better musically sounding tracks.