Slate on "the problem of cross-genre covers"
POSTED ON 7/18/2008 | PERMALINK |0 Comments | BOOKMARK
Slate analyzes cross-genre cover songs and finds that, on occasion, they can move beyond novelty.  Of course, not being a joke isn't the same as being good.
A band as ridiculous as Oasis can sustain—deserves, even—all sorts of mockery. By contrast, there can be something smug and unseemly about indie-rock jabs at big-money pop.
On Jay-Z:
It was a mess, but that was the point: Jay-Z wanted the guitar to look like a big, goofy prop (in Gallagher's formulation, after all, guitars aren't instruments so much as membership cards); he wanted to mistreat the melody, not coddle it; and he couldn't be bothered to remember lyrics that, when you think about it, sound sort of flubbed to begin with. By butchering the cover, Jay-Z weaponized it.
 On Death Cab:
Gibbard spares no syllable in his quest to detail even the most trivial emotional state; his goal here seems to be to fault Lavigne for failing to bring the same nuance to her pubescent social drama. "The thing about that song I love is, I don't really understand what's so complicated!" he says to rapturous laughter when the cover is done. "It seems pretty cut-and-dry!" There's something genuinely admiring in parts of his performance, but it's smothered by a greasy layer of condescension.
Here's the Jay-Z performance, in case you haven't seen it:

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