The Cover Game
It's a simple game, really. What songs by my favorite artists should one of my favorite artists cover? Today's contestant is Tracy Chapman. Chapman's voice is like good barbecue - smoky, sweet, and simple. It's one of my favorite voices, and I'd be quite curious to see how she would handle these songs by my favorite artists:
U2 - "Please"
Chapman has a definite plaintive, mournful quality to her voice that would be a wonderful complement to this moody U2 classic. I'd be curious to hear her tackle an arrangement not too unlike the original's, in that it's not exactly a hard-rock song, and I think that her natural, warm voice would be an intriguing contrast to the electronic, almost chilly sounds.
Paul Simon - "America"
Chapman is a great solo singer - just her and an acoustic guitar is, perhaps, the best way her voice is presented. This mellow, pretty Simon & Garfunkel classic would be a fine showcase.
Radiohead - "True Love Waits"
I love this song, but don't particularly care for Yorke as a singer. Chapman's voice would be a great fit.
Elvis Costello -"Satellite"
A sweeping, acoustic-flavored song from Costello's underrated Spike that could benefit nicely from Chapman's softer, more open sound.
Neil Young - "Are You Passionate"
A bluesy, languid song that would let Chapman show off some of those blues chops she hinted at on "Give Me One Reason"
The Who - "The Kids Are Alright"
She'd somehow add some maturity and perspective to Townsend's original reading.
Aimee Mann - "Wise Up"
Remember the group sing-along song from Magnolia? Chapman would own it.
Bob Dylan" - Just Like a Woman"
There have already been more feminist readings of this song, but I'd still love to hear Chapman's.
Bruce Springsteen - "Brilliant Disguise"
Take away Springsteen's defeated gruffness and add Chapman's more melancholy sweetness.
Dire Straits - "Brothers in Arms"
A female perspective on this song about male camaraderie in times war would be very interesting.
John Mellencamp - "Human Wheels"
The melody is tailor-made for her voice.
Peter Gabriel - "Blood of Eden"
Soft and slow and a warm, cozy fit.
Sting - "Why Should I Cry for You?"
A sad, beautiful song - it would be interesting to hear Chapman's warmth added to the mix.