METAL MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER
Recently, my friend sent me a YouTube link to a Bee Gees cover group. Excuse me, tribute band. That is the proper way of addressing them, as Mark Wahlberg taught us in Rock Star. I don’t like the Bee Gees. I don’t like disco. Disco is kind of terrible. Disco blows dogs for quarters. Disco is never amazing, especially not when KISS attempt it. To say I was a little confused would be an understatement. But my friends aren’t totally clueless to what I listen to, so I gave it a shot. It turned out it was a heavy metal Bee Gees tribute band. Okay, it was a little bit awesome. Weirdly enough, it worked. I only like thin-voiced men screeching when accompanied by equally high-pitched guitars, and that’s basically what heavy metal “Stayin’ Alive,” was. I turned it off about halfway through because, well, I still have my limits, but it kind of makes you stop and go, “Huh!” Metal just makes everything sound better.
I probably don’t have to work too hard to convince any reader on this site (or you’d be reading DiscoSucks), but there’s something about metal that makes a piece of music instantly more alluring. It’s not because I’m a little metal girl, either (fine, self-proclaimed) — I give some other genres their fair shot. Some. (Yes, there are many that don’t deserve my time.) For example, I quite enjoy David Bowie. He was my good buddy in high school, alongside Sirs Dickinson and Halford. But have you heard Pagan’s Mind’s cover of “Hallo Spaceboy?” It’s so much creepier and more robotic and alien-sounding than even Bowie could aim to be. It strips away all the electronic effects the original has and focuses on the vocals paired with the simple, lingering melody. When it peaks, it’s pure power metal glory, which is exactly what the song needs.
“Eleanor Rigby” is a really simple, yet memorable, song. Its lyrics are haunting and sad ,and the way it’s sung by John Lennon makes it seem like a bittersweet little ditty. But when Peter Tagtgren of Hypocrisy covered it with his side project PAIN, all the added industrial embellishments made it sound like the sinister song it was supposed to be. Don’t attack me — I won’t begrudge The Beatles their place in music history and their influence, I just prefer the cover, because a depressive song about futile lives deserves to be darker. The contrast between subject and sound might be nice in the original, but hey, I’ve always had a soft spot for industrial metal, and the volume with which that genre is delivered.
Going back to the subject of disco, I know I’m not a fan because when I heard Boney M died a couple weeks ago, my first thought was, “Oh, the guy Turisas covered.” I’m all for a song about a man who people looked at with terror and with fear, and to Moscow chicks ,he was such a lovely dear — but I defy you to tell me that “Ra-ra Rasputin, Russia’s greatest love machine” is not a chant that deserves huge, rolling drums and half-naked Finns in fur and blood roaring it out. The first time I heard it was when I saw Turisas live, and I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. I may have fallen down laughing. This action was repeated later when I went home and looked it up and found the video; Eurotrash and Vikings.
Although, I did have a brief moment of terror when I thought I liked Abba. My dad raised his children to despise Abba, and, consequently, we learn a couple songs just to sing around him so he would get pissed off. (We were little shits.) But then I found myself listening to it and enjoying it, and, well, I thought I’d gone to the dark side. Nope, not the case. I just like metal covers of Abba. Avantasia’s version of “Lay All Your Love On Me,” is catchy as all hell, as is Yngvie Malmsteen’s “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme.” I also got a sick sense of joy picturing him “[Needing] a man after midnight,” but Yngwie, un-fun cock that he is, changed the words to “Your love after midnight.” Which is dumb. As are original Abba songs.
Great White successfully claimed the title of “Most Hated Band” after they burned half their fans alive, but no one can deny the sleazy joy that is “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.”Great White’s version is not that much different from the original, by Mott the Hoople’s Ian Hunter, because eager groupies are a dime a dozen, no matter the band. But it just made more sense in the hair metal spectrum. Two of Quiet Riot’s biggest hits, “Cum On Feel the Noize,” and “Mama Weer All Crazee Now,” are just Slade covers. I like Slade and Mott the Hoople and Sweet and all those British forerunners to glam, but their songs just sounded so much more alive when updated in the ‘80s. The only Britny Fox song I’ve ever really liked, “Gudbuy T’Jane,” turned out to be a Slade cover, too.
Metal covering metal is also a pretty winning combination. It’s kind of stretching the boundaries of even glam metal when trying to lump Europe in that category but… Yeah, I’m sorry, but they’re a whole other kind of awful. I enjoyed the brief cameo “The Final Countdown” had on Arrested Development, but other than that, that unmistakable intro makes me grind my teeth. Except when Norther cover it. Norther were never a band I really paid much attention to because I lumped them in with all the other Children of Bodom-wannabe bands that seemed to be everywhere for a while. But their version of The Worst Song Ever Written is actually kind of fun. It used to be my alarm’s ring in college for awhile until I got tired of waking up with a heart attack.
Speaking of Children of Bodom, their version of “She Is Beautiful” makes me so happy. As does their cover of “Bed of Nails,” because that song definitely needed a death metal kick.
Metal is weird. If I were a snootier writer, I’d call it an enigma. Then all the comments in response would snicker, yell at me, call me stupid, call me gay, and reword the phrase to read “Metal is an enema.” And thus, we have metal and its audience in a nutshell. But then there are the smart ones, the sarcastic ones, and the brilliant ones that decide Britney Spears would sound better with blast beats. Or not. But, I’d probably give black metal Lady Gaga a shot.