The Working
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.


Tom Thumb and the Latter Day Saints - "Atlantic City"

Bruce Springsteen sings "Atlantic City" breathlessly, like he's in the midst of something desperate. Tom Thumb breathes the song, like it's a distant, secret memory. The quick strum of Springsteen's acoustic guitar is replaced by sparse piano chords, tremolo guitar and malleted toms. Whereas the original chorus was marked by anguished reverb-drenched vocals, Tom Thumb opts for crescendoing high-hat and cymbal swells instead.

Tom Thumb and his new band add a cinematic grandeur to the tragedy of "Atlantic City." I dare him to cover Louis Malle's great film, Atlantic City. Or to cover Atlantic City itself (in a giant piece of red fabric (Christo styles)). [Buy]


George Jackson - "Aretha, Sing One For Me"

A meta-love song, "Aretha, Sing One For Me," is a love song about the powerful healing properties/manipulative potential of the love song. Jackson simultaneously professes his love for his ex-girlfriend, music in general, and the great Aretha Franklin in particular. Of the last he sings, "Your records have touched many lovers in many towns." Poetry. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at May 10, 2005 3:33 AM

The Tom Thumb cover is surprisingly fantastic. I always emit a groan when I hear someone's about to play "Atlantic City" (aside from an acoustic Springsteen, that is,) but I like the way that this ramps up and down, the sudden flourishes of drums, the undecorated longing in the vocals.

I dare him to cover Louis Malle's great film, Atlantic City. Or to cover Atlantic City itself


Posted by Sean at May 10, 2005 3:52 AM

Eep! The George Jackson is heavily sampled on Ghostface's _Supreme Clientele_'s adolescent love song. It is very strange to hear something like this that you know very well but not where it comes from.

Posted by Hillary at May 10, 2005 1:53 PM

I anticipate your groan, Sean, and raise you a "How dare he!" We debated the propriety of attempting a good cover of a great song, as opposed to a great cover of a bad song. I've been known to cringe upon hearing that someone has covered a song I love. I hope there aren't too many cringes, groans and cries of indignation when people hear this one.

Sean- Thanks for giving it a chance.

Jordan- Thanks so much for putting it up. And don't tempt me with the Christo challenge; my ambition is boundless.

Posted by tom thumb at May 10, 2005 5:23 PM

I think the most important thing when covering a song, a good one or a bad one, is to bring something new to it. It's about interpretation, mutation and elaboration... Yo! And if you're covering a great song, putting a whole different spin on it gives the cover its own merit comletely seperate from the original.

I also think that the better a song is, the more potential for excellent covers it's likely to have. Like Shakespeare, ya know? That's what you've got going with this Spingsteen cover, Tom.

Posted by Aurora at May 10, 2005 11:43 PM

Oh, damn. Completely. Springsteen (Why do I only aquire an eye for typos after the post button has been pressed?).

Posted by Aurora at May 10, 2005 11:48 PM

That Tom Thumb song cover all kinds of ass.

Posted by Tuwa at May 16, 2005 12:44 PM

Um, right. Deleted "kicks" instead of "song." ^"cover kicks all kinds" etc.

Posted by Tuwa at May 16, 2005 12:45 PM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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