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Clash of the Titles (Holiday Edition): Christmas Wrapping–The Waitresses vs. Summer Camp, the Spice Girls and The Donnas

22 Dec

Get it?

While searching at the last minute for a TOD (we get a lot of submissions and it can be hard to sift through them … and sometimes they’re all bad), I decided to start a new feature: Clash of the Titles. For this feature, we will take two songs with identical titles or themes, which means cover songs are game, and compare them. It’s sort of like “Who Wore It Better?”, but with songs. This will be a weekly regular semi-regular feature, and reader suggestions are welcome. Warning: It gets a little snarky, but I’m just having fun here.

By Jesseca Bagherpour

Much like the inaugural piece in this series, today’s edition came about by accident. I was searching for Christmas tracks to post this week when I came across a cover of “Christmas Wrapping”, one of my all-time favorite modern Christmas songs, by UK band Summer Camp.

A YouTube search for the song turned up covers by several others, including the Spice Girls and The Donnas (along with Miranda Cosgrove, but hers was more boring than bad). Obviously a comparison was in order. Continue reading

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Clash of the Titles: Laughing Gas–Neon Indian vs. Quiet Riot

24 May
While searching at the last minute for a TOD (we get a lot of submissions and it can be hard to sift through them … and sometimes they’re all bad), I decided to start a new feature: Clash of the Titles. For this feature, we will take two songs with identical titles or themes, which means cover songs are game, and compare them. It’s sort of like “Who Wore It Better?”, but with songs. This will be a weekly feature and reader suggestions are welcome. Warning: It can get a little snarky, but we’re just having fun here.

By Jesseca Bagherpour

Remember how I said “Clash of the Titles” would be a weekly feature (if not, it’s in the note right at the top, dummy!)? Well, obviously by “weekly” I meant “once a month or whenever I feel like writing one”. Honestly, though, I have a new job and I am in the process of moving so I’ve been generally neglecting this site. Apologies.

Now on to the main event: Today’s Clash is between Brooklyn (via Denton via the places the members lived before Denton, although I’m sure people get bent out of shape when they call themselves a Brooklyn band) trendies Neon Indian and popular 80s metal band Quiet Riot.

Maybe I was a little lightheaded from walking my dog around my neighborhood in the heat and humidity, but this song made me feel like I was on nitrous oxide. The band somehow perfectly mimics the sound of people’s voices and of music when you’ve been administered laughing gas or are using it recreationally (not that I have ever done that).

Now, when I was a kid I had to make frequent trips to the dentist because I have weak teeth (but I won’t go into that because this is about music). I always asked for the laughing gas because, well, why not? And I was usually listening to either John Secada or whatever other Top 40 music was playing on the radio or cassettes the dentist provided or that I brought from home. Although anything sounds cool when you’re four years old and high out of your gourd, even John Secada and especially a Care Bears adventure, this song is genuinely cool.

As anyone I’ve discussed Neon Indian with knows, I am lukewarm towards their music. But I don’t begrudge them their success because they are hardworking, savvy and charismatic. This song is the only one that has made me think, “Wow. I like this.” I’m not saying it’s incredibly original. But I probably dig it because it touches the little kid inside of me. Wait … that sounds bad. What I meant to say is that it gives me nostalgic feelings about my childhood trips to the dentist. Yes, I loved going to the dentist because dental hygiene has always been key for me. And probably also because I got high every time I went …

(Side note: Chimps are so cute!)
(Side side note: Re-reading this portion of the piece makes me realize how often I sound like a rambling old woman and/or a raving lunatic.)

Quiet Riot was a decent heavy metal band, and metal is a genre I have recently come to appreciate (some of it without irony). I also admire Randy Rhoads, because he was a talented guitarist and because we’re supposed to admire people who are knocked down in their prime or whatever*. But I couldn’t even finish this song, mainly because of Rhoads’ marathon guitar solo at the end (meaning the last two-thirds of the song). If I were on laughing gas while listening to this, I would probably end up jumping out of a window. In fact, I almost did that completely sober.

As I said, I’m not completely opposed to Quiet Riot. They have some fun songs. But “Laughing Gas” isn’t one of them. Now, there are parts I like, even the end of what seems like an hour-long solo, but other members of the band do actually play here and there and the full band comes back at the end (I skipped around to the end because I simply couldn’t listen to the entire song). Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for this song, or maybe it’s just bad.

At any rate,  Neon Indian wins this battle.

*In all seriousness, it was sad when Randy Rhoads died. I mean, I was three when it happened. But he was very young and he on the verge of becoming a superstar and his death was tragic. It was also a classic rock ‘n’ roll death, as he died in a private plane at the age of 25.

Clash of the Titles: All You Can Eat

21 Apr
While searching at the last minute for a TOD (we get a lot of submissions and it can be hard to sift through them … and sometimes they’re all bad), I decided to start a new feature: Clash of the Titles. For this feature, we will take two songs with identical titles or themes, which means cover songs are game, and compare them. It’s sort of like “Who Wore It Better?”, but with songs. This will be a weekly feature and reader suggestions are welcome. Warning: It gets a little snarky, but we’re just having fun here.

By Jesseca Bagherpour

The inaugural “Clash of the Titles” song is “All You Can Eat”.

Here’s Allie Farris, from that hotbed of musical talent, Flower Mound, Texas, with her take:


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