Wednesday, June 11, 2008

There's something Happening here...

...and what it is ain't exactly clear. M Night Shyamalan's The Happening opens this Friday and I'll be lined up to see it even though his track record has steadily declined with each successive film. He started off well (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable), got carried away with increasingly inane twist endings though I still enjoyed them (Signs, The Village), then stumbled mightily with Lady in the Water. Trailers seem to be setting up another Big Reveal, though I have a theory on what's happening in The Happening. It's Shyamalan's feature-length explanation for Radiohead's music video for Just:

Just kidding, I have a real theory about The Happening... I'm thinking something along the lines of Day After Tomorrow and being "chased by cold air". Anyway, this is just a good excuse for some Just covers.

Mark Ronson - Just (DJ Premier Remix feat. Blaq Poet) [originally by Radiohead]
Mark Ronson - Just (The Loving Hand Remix) [originally by Radiohead]
Mark Ronson - Just (Go! Team Remix) [originally by Radiohead]
In 2006, Mark Ronson produced the highest profile Just cover yet, featuring Alex Greenwald of Phantom Planet and the funky horn section of The Dap-Kings. The, ahem, "original" cover can be found on Ronson's Version album or on the Radiohead tribute album Exit Music: Songs With Radio Heads. The subgenre of remixed cover songs is worthy of a future post, but for now here are three remixes of Ronson's re-version of Just. My pick goes to the Go! Team remix, which basically creates a new instrumental song using a variation of the familiar Just opening riff, the Dap-Kings horns, and a harmonica.

The Section Quartet - Just [originally by Radiohead]
From one of them String Quartet Tributes. It's okay, but like the Pickin' On series of bluegrass covers, my tolerance for string quartet covers has diminished quite considerably.

Nickel Creek - Just (Live at the Largo) [originally by Radiohead]
I'm lucky to have caught the Watkins Family Hour at the Largo in January. Turns out the old Largo closed up shop last month with an epic Jon Brion concert and re-opened with an Aimee Mann gig last week at a new locale, the Coronet Theater. Gone is the in-your-living-room atmosphere, but also gone is the $15 food & drink minimum. The same rules apply: no electronics, no talking. It's all about the music (or comedians). The line-up is stellar as usual, which is not hard when you have Jon Brion playing two sets every Friday night! I definitely need to make a return trip to LA just for the Largo redux.

Aimee Mann & Michael Penn - I Just Wasn't Made For These Times [originally by the Beach Boys]
Speaking of Aimee Mann, Brian just alerted me to this article in the Globe & Mail, which reports that Aimee is looking for YouTube covers of her new song Freeway. The contest runs until July 7 with the winner getting the opportunity to sing onstage with her at a future gig. Official details here. In the coming months, Aimee will be doing a bit of a folk festival circuit in Canada with headlining performances at the Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton folk fests. Canadian rock fans should be well familiar with her prominent back-up vocals on the Rush classic Time Stand Still.

Rush - For What It's Worth [originally by Buffalo Springfield]
"Stop, children, what's that sound, everybody look what's going down."


Bilbo said...

Hi! I'm a mad Hypem clicker but it's RARE when I feel obliged to leave a comment. But here goes, I thought Lady in the Water was "pretty good." Maybe it's the hippie spiritualist in me. I also appreciate the Radiohead covers, though this is a problem I often stumble upon, someone will post 5+ remixes, covers, live versions, mashups of a song, and it gets tedious to download all 5 to discover the single stand-out track. For instance, the best mix of Paper Float by Cassettes Won't Listen is the one with Bisc1 rapping over it. I hate rap in general (you know what I mean, blingblang), but that track Rocks it. It just distresses me that I only discovered it through the tedium of perusing all the other remixes. In other words, to save time & bandwidth, it behooves us all to point out which version is most immediately palatable (head-bobbing!), and if that's enjoyed to go from there. I just fear I miss out on great stuff when I have to hear check out every retarded "Nudez (ft. Too $hort & MC Zumbi of Zion-I)" just because it's Radiohead. Or maybe I'm just crying because it takes me two hours in general to find five solid tracks that I can listen to more than two times each. Anyway, rant mode off, peace! P.S. Oh yes, Mark's Radioheads in general are weaksauce; are these any good? I really should try them out, but I don't want to download them all only to find I have WAY too much Radiohead in my iTunes already. (Sorry if I sound like an ass, but there's too much music and I'm floundering! -- keep up the great blog.)

Fongolia said...

Of the remixes, I thought the best was the Go! Team remix, which takes elements of Ronson's Just cover and plays with them to create a great instrumental track that you probably wouldn't even recognize as Just unless someone told you. The DJ Premier remix is more laid back than the original cover with some rapping about halfway through and I like it enough to give it more than a couple spins. The Loving Hand remix is the only one that does nothing for me. It's a tedious 6 minute 80's electro dance mix with the Just vocals, probably something you'd hear at a club with robot dancers but not very listenable when you're walking down the street with your ipod. I'd also grab the Nickel Creek cover, which is a great mandolin/violin/guitar version of the song.

That didn't completely narrow it down, but to choose just one stand-out track, you'd be missing out on at least a couple other really good ones.