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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Six Best Cover Songs By Ska Bands

Posted By on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 9:34 AM

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3. Reel Big Fish - "Take On Me" Take On Me by Reel Big Fish on Grooveshark "Take On Me" by A-Ha was practically written to be covered by a ska band. The synth melody translates perfectly to horns, the verse/chorus dynamics match the genre's contrast of clean guitar upbeats and distorted power chords. The song practically arranges itself, so Reel Big Fish doesn't get too many points for creativity, but it's hard to imagine a band pulling it off any better.

2. English Beat - "Tears Of A Clown" Tears Of A Clown by English Beat on Grooveshark VH1 ran a short-lived program called The List in which panelists would discuss songs or artists based on a specific criteria and eventually whittle down the selections to a single winner. On one episode, the theme was best cover songs, and a guest judge nominated English Beat's take on the Motown classic "Tears Of A Clown." The other panelists hadn't heard it, but they listened to a clip of the track every time it was mentioned. By the end of the episode, it was awarded second place.

1. Mustard Plug - "The Freshmen" The Freshmen (Verve Pipe Cover) by Mustard Plug on Grooveshark How rare is it for the covering band to transcend the covered band without the covered song being obscure? In the late 90s, Detroit's Mustard Plug released a CD single of "You," one of the standouts from its Evildoers Beware album. The B-side was the band's take on fellow motor city band The Verve Pipe's forgettable one hit "The Freshmen." You know it: "For the life of me, I cannot remember / What made us think that we were wise and we'd never compromise" and so on. Mustard Plug absolutely killed it, moving into double time for the choruses and turning the lethargic alt-rock track into a rally cry. When Mustard Plug played The Firebird a few years back opening for The Aquabats, the audience freaked out during "The Freshmen" even though many in the crowd couldn't even walk/talk/be born yet when the Verve Pipe's original version was on the radio. There's a good reason for the enthusiasm - the audience was simply rewarding Mustard Plug for crafting the best ska cover of a non-ska song. I have a feeling the band would take a sea of posi-moshing nerds over a congratulatory plaque any day.

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