Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Those Darlins “Let’s Talk Dirty In Hawaiian”

There is no shortage of pitfalls, when you’re going to cover an iconic artist’s song.

You hear it on American Idol all the time. The judges will complain that the singer just did an impersonation of the artist, hewing too closely to the original version.

So perhaps the hardest challenge, is to record a cover of a funny song.

If the entertainment value of the song is in the jokes, then it is really difficult to recreate the comic timing, without just doing the song the way the original artist did it.

I think it’s why artists like Paul Westerberg, Ben Folds and John Prine are rarely/poorly covered, unless the interpreter tackles one of their more somber tunes.

I mean, I can tell a joke that is Seinfeldian, or Carlinian (yeah, I’m making up words) in style, but if I just repeat their jokes, the impact is muted, and therefore moot.

Those Darlins have the right idea, they have fun with Prine’s song. That’s the best you can do. You just can’t tell someone else’s joke.

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