Rolling Stone Chooses Miley Cyrus
Rolling Stone has polled its readers and has come up with the Rolling Stone Readers Choose the Worst Cover Songs of All
Time list. This top ten list consists of various artists from Madonna to Alien Ant Farm, however topping the list is Miley Cyrus with her rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. On May 13, 2011 Miley Cyrus did a cover of the song at her concert in Rio de Janeiro. I watched the video that was posted on Rolling Stone with objectivity and then I sat back. Trying desperately to get the image out of my head I started typing in the words to get the original video on my screen. I immediately saw what Miley was missing and what she got wrong. Miley Cyrus was trying to rock this song out a bit too much. She was screaming lyrics and at the same time over pronouncing them. There was a lot of hair tossing back and forth. At one point, it even looked like she was holding her crotch.
Watching the Kurt Cobain helmed original you saw this grunge clad guitarist casually walk towards a camera singing in a cool nondescript way. With slightly slurred words and controlled vocals on the chorus this guy was laid back. These three guys weren’t trying hard to be who they were because at the time they were creating a new sound and style that would usher a new generation. This came so easy to them because they lived it. Miley Cyrus can’t duplicate it because she can’t understand it. With a song like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” you can’t just go out and belt it like a rock tune, you have to marinate it first then finish big. Miley came out and started rocking right away. There was no coolness involved whatsoever.
Others have also tried to cover this song: Tori Amos, The Melvins featuring Leif Garrett, The Moog Cookbook with a synthesizer based version, Dokaka with a beatbox version, Paul Anka with a swing version, and tribute versions by the Xorcist, Blanks 77 and Beki Bondage.
I think the best cover was done by jazz trio The Bad Plus, who recorded it for their “These Are the Vistas” cd, which is a great cd that I recommend highly. The one thing, however, about all these various artists covering this new classic is that they bring something new and different to “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” I wasn’t even impressed with Dokaka’s beatbox version but I see where he was going with his sound. What makes Miley Cyrus’ place on this list, with this particular song, even more noteworthy is that we are coming on the twentieth anniversary of songs released on the album, “Nevermind.” Nevermind was released September 24, 1991 and went on to become certified Diamond selling over 30 million copies worldwide. To celebrate this anniversary, “Nevermind” will be remastered and released on September 27th with awesome extras such as never-before-heard music, B sides, alternate mixes and an entire live show. Miley Cyrus wasn’t the only well known celebrity to make this top 10 list; she had pretty good company. Here’s the complete top 10 list:
10 – William Shatner – “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”
9-Jessica Simpson-“These Boots Are Made For Walkin’”
7-Britney Spears-“I Love Rock & Roll”
6-Alien Ant Farm-“Smooth Criminal”
5-Britney Spears-“I Can’t Get No Satisfaction
4-Sheryl Crow-“Sweet Child O’ Mine”
2-Limp Bizkit-“Behind Blue Eyes”
1-Miley Cyrus-“Smells Like Teen Spirit”
To check out this list in detail go to www.rollingstone.com/music/photos/rolling-stone-readers-choose-the-worst-cover-songs-of-all-time-20110818. There you can see the videos and hear the songs on this list. When you get to Miley’s number one entry, however, just brace yourself.
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Kenny Walker Jr.
Spin Live Weekly