A few months ago I had a post about Morrissey’s cover of “Wedding Bell Blues”, which I claimed was a terrible cover song. Today I’m going to write about a cover song that I actually think is really good. the bird and the bee are an indie rock band with a number of albums to their name, but oddly enough I have never heard any of their original songs (at least as far as I can recall). I was only previously familiar with them from a cover album they did of Hall & Oates songs. Now they’re back at it with an album of Van Halen covers, and I’m going to be talking about their cover of “Ain’t Talking ‘Bout Love”.
In my opinion a good cover song adds something to the original and just doesn’t completely mimic it. I think the bird and the bee have done a couple of things with their cover “Ain’t Talking ‘Bout Love” that make it a worthy cover song. The easiest box to check is the switch-up of the gender of who is singing the song. Though that in and of itself doesn’t make it a good cover song as is evidenced by the Morrissey song I was just talking about. Switching up the genre is also a good move. They take Van Halen’s rock song and turn it into an electro-pop song. Bonus points for making an 80’s synth sound, which is a nice nod to Van Halen’s dominance in the 80’s (though this song was actually from 1978). Finally, the adjusted the tempo if I’m not mistaken. At least to my ear (and the running time of the song would back me up on this) they’ve slowed the tempo down just a little bit. Not enough to make it crazy different, but just enough to give it a slightly different edge. It is an excellent cover song, and one I’m very much enjoying at the moment. Perhaps it’s time for me to actually go check out some of the bird and the bee’s original music.