The Remake Quiz

I promised the Corporate Shill a post about remakes, but it occurs to me that it might be handy to have a scoring system, a guide, if you will, for anyone thinking of making a remake. Such a guide would help prevent such travesties as Limp Bizkit’s cover of “Behind Blue Eyes” while rewarding the innovation of Dolly Parton and the Grascals covering “Viva Las Vegas.”

Here goes:

1. Are you in a band?

No (+10)
No, but I can play guitar (+20)
No, but I’m Kid Rock (-20)
No, I’m a rapper (+25)
No, but I’m Emmylou Harris (+50)
No, but I’m Dolly Parton (+100)
Yes (0)
Yes, I’m Fred Durst (-100)
Yes, I was a member of the Who or Led Zeppelin (+100)

2. Where will the cover appear?

Only on my website (0)
I’ll only play it live (+50)
I’ll put it on my album (+20)
It’s my next single! (-15)

3. The song I want to cover is:

More famous than any of my original work (-30)
Ought to be more famous than any of my original work (+30)
Really, really old (+40)
A Britney Spears or Madonna song (+30)
Already covered by another, better artist (-75)
From a genre other than my own (+75)
The artist’s signature tune (-90)

4. My interpretation is necessary because I:

Mash it up with Jay-Z’s The Black Album (+40)
Mash it up with the Beatles The White Album (+50)
Turn it into a bluegrass song (+50)
Turn it into a disco song (-50)
Do such a faithful interpretation you’d swear I was at a karaoke bar (-75)
Can’t believe the original artist isn’t better known (+50)
Love this song, man! (0)

Less than 0: Just quit the business now. Yes, now.
0-25: Under no circumstances should you sing this song–not even in the shower.
25-50: Sing this song only in the shower.
50-75: Bob Ritchie, I’m begging you to reconsider.
75-100: Okay, it seems like a good idea.
100 and above: Definitely cover the song!

Some Songs Depend on the Weather

The wisteria is in bloom, silvery purple clusters of flowers clinging to each other and to thick ropey vines. There are tiny purple flowers that look like miniature pansies in the neighbors’ yard. The cherries and the redbuds are full of delicate flowers. Everything is covered in the fine yellow dust of pollen.

Everything smells so good and the weather has been stunning, mid to high seventies, so that when you’re outside, it’s like you’re on some drug that makes you lethargic and happy and blessed.

Yesterday, we had the windows open and each of us fell asleep in the living room–sister, brother, dog, cat, and cat–all bellies up and arms over heads.

It was the kind of day that makes you think of Donovan, the sunshine Superman.

It also got me thinking of two terrible songs–“Ray of Light” by Madonna and “Steve McQueen” by Sheryl Crow. Both of these songs are just no good. They make no sense and seem to exist solely so that some bored ad exec will stick them in a commercial for computers or Viagra.

Except for days like this, when the sun is out and the breeze is cool, and the dog is leaning her head out the car window and shutting her eyes to the sun. Days when the trees and the first flowers of spring all seem like some slow-motion fireworks display and the smell is so heady and rich that you want to both nap and take some fine fellow to bed with you.

On days like this, both of those songs also blossom into their full glory. I don’t know what it is. I like neither song when the weather’s bad, but on sunny, glorious days, there are no two better, more fitting songs. The nonsense lyrics don’t bother you. The hesitant little pause before Crow says “shit” seems darling instead of cloying. Madonna’s inability to articulate, thus making it impossible to tell if she’s saying “she’s got herself a universe” or “she’s goddess of a universe” at the end of “Ray of Light” seems profound instead of annoying.

I don’t know why this is, that the weather should improve those two songs, but it does and I’m glad for it.