Friday, March 28, 2008

Billie Jean: Cover vs Cover

I've been singing the praises of American Idol contestant David Cook for a long time now and my first reaction watching him perform a different take on Michael Jackson's Billie Jean was "WOW". It totally blew me away. Man, he's a farking genius!

Of course, then I realised that it was actually a cover of a cover done by Chris Cornell, who used to be from Audioslave and Soundgarden.

Here's David's performance on American Idol:

And here's Chris Cornell's performance:

See any similarities? Ok, Ryan Seacrest did mention that David was doing Chris' version of Billie Jean but apparently all the three judges have no clue of the cover done by Chris so they went out praising David for his originality, being brave and for the great arrangement. Tsk. It's Chris Cornell's arrangement guys! Ok but I have to admit I pretty much like David's performance and I hope he wins American Idol because right now I can't stand the cute face of David Archuleta. But Chris Cornell is the REAL genius for his arrangement of the Billie Jean cover. Well, at least now more people will go and buy his CDs.

MTV has a story about David Cook's copying other covers, saying that he is a smart competitor. From MTV:
Michael Slezak, a senior writer for Entertainment Weekly known for his "Idol" coverage, said he thinks Cook is smart for picking the arrangements he has.

"I think it's a little silly to accuse him of stealing arrangements," Slezak explained. "You know, Chris Daughtry took a real hit when he did a version of [Johnny Cash's] 'Walk the Line' and didn't, at any point, credit Live's version, but in this case, Cook put it out there, clearly having Ryan state, 'He's doing Chris Cornell's version,' and if you listen to both versions, it's not like he did a complete carbon copy of Cornell's, anyway.

"I would understand why people would want to see some of these contestants — if they're going to get credit for being brave and innovative — completely change up a song on their own," he continued. "I think it's also hard to ask them to do that. They only have a week to come up with the arrangements, and then they've got to get the 'Idol' band onboard with it and record their version for the iTunes download, so it doesn't give them a lot of time to come up with a completely innovative arrangement of a song every week. Ultimately, I think Cook deserves credit for being smart and aware of new or different versions of songs — different than the ones people are familiar with. I don't know if he should get credit for being brave, but he should get credit for being smart and singing these songs well."
I agree. He is definitely smart enough to fool me initially. Now I can't wait to see what other surprises he has in store for us on his way to his American Idol glory.

Update: If you thought David Cook's performance on American Idol was brilliant, check out his studio recording of Billie Jean here. Ok after listening to this, I think I can safely say David's Billie Jean is way better than Chris Cornell's version or even Michael Jackson's! (Thanks Mr Big)


JDsg said...

...but apparently all the three judges have no clue of the cover done by Chris...

The three judges are beginning to show their age. I heard on one of my e-mail lists that Archuletta sang "You're the Voice" the other day, but that Jackson in particular didn't recognize the song. Yet the song first came out about '85 and has been done as a cover by a number of other bands over the years (including my group, The Alan Parsons Project, back around '96).

Anonymous said...

David Cook will not win. You know why? Because American Idol is a popularity contest and David Archuleta has too many fans.

Anonymous said...

He reminds of me Chris Daughtry and he will sell as many records if not more than him.

Anonymous said...

i love david archuleta... he's so cute! i still think most of america loves him and will vote for him to win idol.

Anonymous said...

Chris Cornell?? never heard of him... but now yes... will buy his album


Anonymous said...

David Cook's studio recording of Billie Jean gives me goosebumps.

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