America Years Ago
by Dan
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.

 

2010ElectionResults.gif

Big Deal - "13 (Big Star Cover)"

When I received a cover of Big Star's "Thirteen" today, I thought, "oh, that's a nice one, plus we have a strong history of posting covers of 'Thirteen'." So I went into the archives. It seems back in June of 2004, Sean posted a version by Kathryn Williams featuring "the only non-atrocious use of bongos I can remember". In July of 2005, Jordan posted a Kind of Like Spitting version, which he compared to both the Elliot Smith version and the original. In his review Jordan goes into minute detail about differences in the libretto, and their subtle effects on the song's personality, which is funny to read. Then not even a month later, Jordan focused on the original entirely, comparing Alex Chilton to Cher. But then, that was it. Turns out we missed about 7 other versions.

There's the version by Garbage, which is a real nice video-time-capsule of what it probably would have felt like to walk around inside MySpace. And the Håkan Hellström version, which is notable for its linguistic qualities, "so I can shake you" is apparently not translatable. The Resentments do a version, which, when sung with this kind of world-weary gravel, gives the adolescent lyrics a bit of a pedo quality ("tell your dad get off my back", maybe he's not the wrong one here). The Wilco version is only interesting because he made a cover sound like a song he wrote. Mary Lou Lord and Evan Dando both have versions, neither of which I will ever listen to again. And then, it turns out Beth Orton & Sam Amidon did a version earlier this year, and it sounds remarkably like the first one I posted today. Although Big Deal sound a bit more xx-y than Orton & Amidon, both have that hollow center, that whistling echo.

Now while I like the Big Deal version, this little journey has left me feeling more ambivalent towards this song than ever. Like when the repetition of a word makes it feel meaningless. It just made me wonder how many Spider-Man reboots I will live to see. 20? It might be as high as 20.

[Buy Big Deal]
[Buy Big Star]

Posted by Dan at October 29, 2010 4:53 PM
Comments

Every song has a limit to how many times it can be heard. You'll just have to give it a few months/years. Unless you were always ambivalent toward the song, in which case, don't bother, because you have somehow never in your life felt the emotions the song expresses.

Posted by bryce at October 31, 2010 11:46 PM

hi. this is my first post on your website, so i'm kind of nervous...
this is the first time i've ever even heard this song, and
Big Deal - "13 (Big Star Cover)" is the first version i've ever heard of it. i like it so much, i'm not sure i want to listen to any of the others.

Posted by daniel at November 2, 2010 12:50 AM

bryce - that comment really took a turn at the end.

daniel - you don't have to! they're there, but I would never insist on it.

Posted by dan at November 2, 2010 2:53 AM
Post a comment




Remember Me?



Said the Gramophone's best songs of 2013


about said the gramophone
this is a daily sampler of really good songs. all tracks are posted out of love. please go out and buy the records!

to play a song in your browser, click the . to download a song, right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

all songs are removed within a week or two of posting.

said the gramophone launched in march 2003, and added songs in november of that year. it was one of the world's very first mp3blogs.


if you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
montreal, canada: sean
toronto, canada: jordan
toronto, canada: dan


please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets.

if you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. please do not direct link to any of these tracks. please love and wonder.

"and i shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and i will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels lives in Montreal. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here.

Dan Beirne is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Jordan's posts appear at Said the Gramophone only on the last Wednesday of every month. Email him here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by .
our patrons
Said the Gramophone does not take advertising. We are supported by the incredible generosity of our readers. These were our donors in 2013.
watch StG's wonderful video contest winners
search


Archives
elsewhere
our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Dau.pe
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Herohill
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Molars
Daytrotter
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Musicophilia
Anagramatron
Nicola Meighan
Fluxblog
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
LPWTF?
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
ftrain
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Marathonpacks
Song, by Toad
In Focus
AMASS BLOG
Inventory
Waxy
WTF [podcast]
Masalacism
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
Goldkicks
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
eat:
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
lawrence
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
ripples
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

shop:
phonopolis
drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

shows:
casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe


(maga)zines
Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
McSweeney's
State
The Skinny

community
ILX