Welcome to my new musical series for 2021, “30 Days, 30 Songs.” Follow me this year as I blatantly steal this Instagram challenge all in the name of good music and good fun. Every other week, I’ll cover one or two or more topics from the list (see here for a refresher), allowing them to percolate over musical memories, nostalgia, and whatever else comes to mind in the moment. And now, gimme a beat boys to free my soul, I wanna get lost in this rock and roll!
Day 15: A song that it covered by another artist
I’m going to interpret this as: my favorite cover song is “Children’s Story” by Everlast featuring Rahzel.
As something of a favorite song, I could have sworn that I at least mentioned Everlast’s version of “Children’s Story” on this blog before. But my searches say otherwise. Perhaps the song was simply waiting for this very moment.
So, no pressure, right?
What makes a good cover song? is a question for the ages. To some degree, the answer is subjective, as we all have differing tastes and opinion on what makes a song “wrong” or “right.” To some degree, the answer is also objective, because popular music of at least the past 30-40 years is littered with cover songs that were much more successful and far reaching than their original versions.
Where does a song like “Children’s Story” fit into this mix? In this case, on the subjective end, probably. Slick Rick is a well-known artist, and “Children’s Story” is one of his most popular songs, for good reason. “Children’s Story” is a great example of using music to convey a story. And it’s not a story that’s hard to grasp, one layered in metaphor, allegory, and other literary nonsense. It’s a brilliant cautionary tale that’s brought to life through Slick Rick’s masterful cadence and delivery.
Given how good the original song is, how in the hell could I possibly favor a cover of it, let alone this one from Everlast?
I like Everlast, particularly his second and third solo albums – Whitey Ford Sings the Blues and Eat At Whitey’s, respectively, and I tend to favor Whitey Ford Sings the Blues. Eat at Whitey’s isn’t a bad album, but its songs tend towards monotonous, and even depressing. This makes Everlast’s upbeat, bluesy, beat-heavy version of “Children’s Story” stand out. It’s a rhythmically-driven song that really rocks out. Fact is, listening to Slick Rick’s song is a contemplative experience; Everlast just happens to turn it into a contemplative, funky jam. Plus, it’s not exactly an easy song to perform, and Everlast does it with such ease and style. One could easily imagine it devolving into a mish-mash of words when placed into the wrong hands.
But then again, it’s all subjective, right?