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"Vinyl" Songs

The seemingly sudden cancellation of HBO's "Vinyl" came months after the network renewed the show for a second season. The news has since spawned think pieces regarding the myriad circumstances that led to the series' downfall. Such commentary has also inspired many debates over how things could – or should – have been done better. Each episode featured at least one cover song. While the best interpretations cause the older music to be heard anew, the artists that contributed to "Vinyl" didn't always hit the intended mark. Which got us to thinking about the cover songs heard in the show, which ones fell short, and what artists we believe should have instead been picked to take on the job.

"I Dig Your Mind"
Original by Nervous Breakdowns
Covered by Iggy Pop
Should have been Jack White

While Iggy Pop made for a commendable choice considering his lower-ranging voice, Jack White's guitar chops would have taken a front seat had he handled the song. White's instrumental prowess, paired with his slightly higher range, would add an entirely new dimension to the 1967 work.

"Stay With Me Baby"
Original by Terry Reid
Covered by Chris Cornell
Should have been Alabama Shakes

Chris Cornell cover of Terry Reid's 1969 song closely echoes the underlying roots-rock sound of the original. But both the message and composition call for a bluesier take, which Alabama Shakes would doubtlessly provide. Brittany Howard's husky voice would also be a superior choice to drive home the song's request.

"Run Run Run"
Original by Velvet Underground
Covered by Julian Casablancas
Should have been Courtney Barnett

The guitar solos here speak louder than the repeating "run run run" refrain. That alone explains why guitar virtuoso Courtney Barnett would deliver a much more electric version of this Velvet Underground classic. A bonus: Hearing her Aussie accent on the sparse vocals would contribute another fresh twist.

"My Time's Coming"
Original by the Punks
Covered by Alison Mosshart
Should have been Sleater-Kinney

Kills singer Alison Mosshart does this song justice, yet we can't help but think the surging sonic power of rock trio Sleater-Kinney would provide more edge. For starters, Corin Tucker's signature wail would inject a stronger sense of affirmation to the lyrics. Plus, the band's decades-long chemistry would provide a more vibrant instrumental foundation.

"Watch Your Step"
Original by Bobby Parker
Covered by the Arcs
Should have been Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges' sound is reminiscent of a different era. His soulful croons sail over the bluesy and gospel instrumentation of his songs, some of which assume the playful vibe of "Watch Your Step." While the Arcs bring a stronger element of rock to the mix, Leon Bridges would play up the R&B undertones to greater effect.

"I Wanna Be With You"
Original by the Raspberries
Covered by Nate Ruess
Should have been Alex Turner

Pop artist and Fun front man Nate Ruess seems an odd choice for this song. Listening to his version, which comes across as karaoke, confirms the sentiment. Crooner Alex Turner's style would better suit the piece. He would slow down the tempo and focus more on the meaning of the words to deliver a lasting, impactful performance.

"Danny's Song"
Original by Loggins and Messina
Covered by Neko Case
Should have been Florence Welch

A classic such as "Danny's Song" needs proper treatment. Neko Case doesn't exactly fall short, but she fails to elevate the music. Given her propensity to delve deep into rock motifs, Florence Welch's powerhouse vocals would kick the ballad into the requisite higher gear.

August 3, 2016

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