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. And 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 that I’m right (or you’d be reading DiscoSucks), but there’s something about metal that makes a piece of music instantly more alluring, at least to me. It’s not because I’m a little metal girl either (fine, self-proclaimed); I give some other genres their fair shot. 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 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 it 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.” Tell me “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 them 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.
I did have a brief moment of terror when I thought I liked ABBA. My dad raised his children to despise ABBA and we would 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 Yngwie Malmsteen’s rendition of “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme.” (I also got a sick sense of joy picturing him “[Needing] a man after midnight”… but un-fun cock that he is, changed the words to, “Your love after midnight.” Which is dumb.)
Great White successfully claimed the title of most hated band after they burned alive half their fans, but no one can deny the sleazy joy that is “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.” Originally by Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople, it’s not that much different 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 turned out to be a Slade cover too — “Gudbuy T’Jane.”
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 a while until I got tired of waking up with a heart attack.
Speaking of Children of Bodom, their version of Andrew W.K.’s “She Is Beautiful” makes me so happy. As does their cover of Alice Cooper’s “Bed of Nails,” because that song definitely needed a death metal kick.
Metal is weird, but I’m thankful for the brilliant musicians that decide Britney Spears would sound better with blast beats. And I’d probably give black metal Lady Gaga a shot, too.