Mandy Moore Monday: Coverage

Is the person who created #ThrowbackThursday profiting from all the social media posts? Do we even know who started it? Well remember this post because I’m about to start a new hashtag in honor of America’s underrated sweetheart – Mandy Moore.

Welcome to Mandy Moore Monday, in which I heap praise upon a woman who has graced us with her talents for years. And now, she’s gracing us with her talents every Tuesday with the breakout hit This Is Us – a series that has reached the type of success that has been years in the making.

For a little backstory, Mandy hasn’t had the best of luck with pilots over the past few years. One original project with ABC fell through, another CBS legal drama (alongside Ben McKenzie/Ryan Atwood, making your 2000s shipper hearts go into full bloom) failed to get picked up, and she even signed on for an adaptation of British TV series called Pulling, but she and the producers came to a mutual decision for her to leave the show. And do you remember Red Band Society? She wasn’t even a regular and it still got cancelled. Needless to say, she needed This Is Us. Not only because she needed a win, but because WE needed a win. We NEED Mandy Moore back in our lives. Get ready folks – IT’S TIME FOR THE MANDYISSANCE.

After you catch up with This Is Us and want MOORE Mandy, how about throwin’ it back to a past project of hers you might have missed – her 2003 album Coverage. This was post-Candy and even post-In My Pocket, and the first record that was a 180 from her pop songs and strictly an album of cover songs from the 1970s and 1980s. I admit I was one of those teens who hadn’t even heard any of these tunes until she covered them and legitimately expanding music knowledge to a whole new generation.

So for the first installment of Mandy Moore Monday, I present to you a collection of my five favorite tracks from the Coverage album. And you can listen to the entire album on Spotify!

The Whole of the Moon

As previously mentioned, there are some songs on the album I’d only heard for the first time through Mandy’s angelic voice, and The Whole of the Moon immediately became one of my favorites. The original 1985 version is by a British/Irish group called The Waterboys (whose lead singer’s name is Mike Scott?) and is considered one of their best-known songs. But you know who’s never heard the OG song before? A majority of teens v into pop music who didn’t know what they were getting into when Mandy released a follow up to In My Pocket. But that’s part of the brilliance of this album. For those who didn’t know the original songs, a track like The Whole of the Moon is just a new Mandy Moore song which she sings beautifully and with grace. And for those looking for a history lesson, they can go back and listen to the The Waterboys’ version and get educated on early rock. Either way, it’s a win-win.

Can We Still Be Friends

I’m going to be honest with you – a majority of these songs I still haven’t heard the original version of because I have no interest. Mandy Moore is good enough for me. It’s also because I’m not keen on the 70s/80s rock sound, so hearing these classics through a singer whose music I enjoy is truly a gift. This song was originally done by Todd Rundgren, whose name sounds vaguely familiar but is also one of those white male rocker names that could’ve been featured in SNL’s Blue Oyster Cult band. As for the song itself, it’s got a chill vibe to it, but towards the end she goes into a bit of a belt. But not Idina Menzel belt, the kind of belt that I love so much about Mandy’s voice – it’s not forced but strong enough to get the point across and still sound powerful.

Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters

Sir Elton John made this tune a classic back in 1972, and Mandy does the music icon justice with her own version of Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters. I think this song is the perfect example of where her voice sits naturally, in which she’s not trying too hard, but giving it just the right amount of emotion to feel just right.  A Goldilocks of a song, if you will.

Drop the Pilot

I admittedly haven’t listened to the Coverage album in its entirety in a few years, but when I listened to this song for the first time in a while, it just got me so pumped and inspired me to play Mandy Moore tracks for the rest of the day. Drop the Pilot, originally done by Joan Armatrading, is just a fun, upbeat track, and I couldn’t even tell you what it’s about, but that’s secondary to the music itself. ALSO.

FACT: I had never seen this music video before.

FACT: This video was shot in our hometown of Rochester, New York! WHILE WE WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL, YET I HAVE NO RECOLLECTION OF THIS HAPPENING. Apparently, the video was made as a demo for Kodak’s “Vision2 500T series motion picture film” and they used it to promote the product.

FACT: Kodak’s headquarters are located in Rochester. It’s one of our *things*. You can even visit the house of George Eastman, the founder of Kodak.

BONUS: AOL Live Session that is a time machine back to EXACTLY 13 YEARS AGO ON OCTOBER 3RD, 2003!

Have a Little Faith in Me

Ok, besides Candy and In My Pocket, this cover of John Hiatt’s Have a Little Faith in Me is probably one of Mandy’s greatest hits. Mandy’s always had a bit of an ethereal quality in her voice, which is perfect for a song whose lyrics inspire encouragement and trust from a loved one. Well, you got me Mandy. You got me.

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Playlist of the Month: Sadie Hawkins Day

Sadie Hawkins Day is one of those outmoded holidays that you only hear about on Happy Days reruns or when your grandma is talking about things she misses from the 1940s — and now, I suppose, on our blog**. Sadie Hawkins Dances were held in November, and were the one dance a year when girls were allowed, and even expected, to ask boys out. Oh, how the world has changed. Does anyone even ask anyone to dances anymore, other than promposals?

Sadie Hawkins Day doesn’t have as big a place in today’s world, but we still think it’s a cute historical footnote from the era when we got our holidays from Li’l Abner comics (a true thing). We thought a Sadie Hawkins Day playlist would be fitting: songs originally performed by male artists, covered by female artists. See, it’s just like they always told us when we were kids in the 90s: girls really can do anything.

** Okay, I googled it, and some schools do this. Sounds fun – just remember, you can be the asker-outer ANY day of the year. Or not. Sounds scary.

Traci’s Picks

Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran, Covered by Demi Lovato

Ever since their Disney days, I’ve always said Selena is the better actress and Demi is the better singer. And years later, that still rings true – Demi is a freaking powerhouse and I feel like the world’s finally recognizing that. Here, she takes Ed’s softer version of Give Me Love, and turns it into a song pleading for acceptance, and you can hear the pain in her voice. Gives me chills every time I listen to it.

Riptide by Vance Joy, Covered by Taylor Swift

While Vance Joy’s version is great and obviously suited for his voice, I feel like when I listen to Taylor’s version, it was always meant for her voice. It feels so settled and comfortable there, like a warm, cozy riptide.

Don’t Tell ‘Em by Jeremih, Covered by Lorde

Another gem from the BBC 1 Live Lounge, Lorde delivers yet another haunting performance, but this time with a rap cover. Who knew? Lorde did.

Thinkin’ Bout You by Frank Ocean, Covered by Fifth Harmony

Long before Fifth Harmony was telling you they’re Worth It, they started out as finalists on The X Factor, and after the show ended, they kinda needed to start from the bottom and work their way to the top. To do this, they released a bunch of acoustic covers with the hopes they’d go viral, or at least help build a strong fan base. And it worked. Three years later and they’re platinum selling artists with a VMA to their name. Here’s a reason why. Their voices blend so beautifully and – get ready for it – in harmony.

I Can’t Go For That by Hall & Oates, Covered by The Bird and the Bee

I had a really difficult time deciding which song from this Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates album I’d list here, because every single one is good. Let that be a testament to both Hall & Oates and The Bird and the Bee (which is a duo that includes one male, so I kinda cheated, sorry). But singer Inara George’s soft and relaxing vocals are the perfect match for the synth techno beats that make their version their own, while still respecting the OG.

Molly’s Picks

Skinny Love by Bon Iver, Covered By Birdy

I’ve finally gotten over my 2011-era annoyance at people calling this “Skinny Love by Birdy.”  I just felt like Bon Iver was pretty well-known by that point? But with a few years’ space, I can say that this is a beautiful cover, and Birdy’s arrangement is gorgeous. Can you believe she was only, like, 14 here? I can understand why people who didn’t know the song thought Birdy was the original artist, because this sounds like it was written for her voice.

Heart Shaped Box by Nirvana, Covered by Lana Del Rey

Remember Nirvana’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction? It included performances of several of Nirvana’s songs fronted by different female singers. The line up was crazy: Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, St. Vincent, and Lorde. And I could not choose between any of them, although I do have a soft spot for Kim Gordon because she’s just so cool. So instead, here’s a totally different female cover of Heart Shaped Box.

Where Is My Mind by the Pixies, Covered by Sunday Girl

Where Is My Mind is one of those songs where I can never decide if it makes me feel happy or sad, like the musical version of Sunday nights. This slowed-down, orchestral arrangement definitely brings out the more melancholy side of it.

Come On Up To The House by Tom Waits, Covered by Sarah Jarosz

I don’t know what it is about Tom Waits, but a lot of his songs sound great covered by female artists despite his signature not-so-feminine voice. Come On Up To The House is one of Waits’ great bluesy, rootsy songs, and Sarah Jarosz is just the artist to cover it – she’s great at both traditional bluegrass and more modern stuff. She always has a great band, too.

PYT by Michael Jackson, Covered by Tori Kelly

At first I thought it would be hard to come up with five songs, but I could keep at this forever. Just think of all the great Beatles, Paul Simon, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan covers there are! [I might be a dad. Like, there is a very real chance that I am your dad. But it’s true.] I figured I’d leave us off with Michael Jackson, an artist most male artists can’t cover without going into key change territory. But when you Sadie Hawkins classic MJ numbers, it really works.

 

Taste of a Poison Paradise: Best of Britney Spears Covers

IT’S THE PRINCESS OF POP’S BIRTHDAY TODAY, Y’ALL!!

Brit Brit turns 32 years old today, and my what a life she’s had. Let’s put aside our dark memories of B circa 2007-2010 and focus on the good things. Whatever side you’re on of the spectrum of hating and loving Britney, you can’t deny how much of an impact she’s made on pop music. Let’s be real – she’s the closest thing our generation has to a Madonna or Michael Jackson. From dance moves to music videos to belting out her songs at the top of your lungs and maybe wondering why you know all the lyrics, Britney has managed to become of of the most influential artists of all time, whether you realize it or not. You think pop star, and you think Britney Spears.

And because imitation is the highest form of flattery, many an artist has attempted to cover Brit Brit’s catchy tunes over the years, but few have succeeded. In honor of one of my personal favorites, here are a few select covers of some of Britney’s most popular songs. Happy birthday Britney Jean!

Toxic by Alex & Sierra

As you can tell by this video, Alex and Sierra are a super cute couple who are currently vying for the (5?) million dollar record deal  on The X Factor. This was their very first audition and frankly, it’s probably my favorite cover of Toxic. Their voices blend so beautifully that’s it’s annoying. Plus they’re genuinely adorable.

Toxic by Melanie Martinez

Can you tell I used to watch/write about reality TV for a living? This is teenager Melanie Martinez who was a finalist on The Voice. Like Alex & Sierra, this was her audition song and blew the judges away, especially Adam Levine, who scooped her up on his team. Trust me, her singing is better than her choice of hair due.

Everytime by Kelly Clarkson

Queen Kelly Clarkson spend her entire summer tour covering a fan requested song each night, and the people of Las Vegas got a treat when she sang B’s most emotional song, Everytime. Honestly, KC can do no wrong.

Everytime by Glen Hansard

You might now Glen Hansard as the guy from Once or The Swell Season, but he’s apparently also a member of the Britney Spears Appreciation Fan Club. Who knew?

Gimme More by Sia

Listen. B obviously had some difficult times, but to be honest, the album she made during said dark ages, Blackout, is actually a really good record. The lead single is fantastic which is why it’s no surprise one of the most acclaimed singer/songwriters, Sia, decided to sing it with her beautiful, haunting voice.

Womanizer by Lily Allen

Is it just me or does Womanizer just sound like it should have been be sung by a British in the first place? Or should I say WomaniSer???

Circus/Just Dance by Boyce Avenue

Boyce Avenue is a band that made it big after posting covers of songs on YouTube and this is just one of the great versions of popular songs they’ve done. They’re really good at mashups, sometimes even better than Glee. Usually better than Glee.

Hold it Against Me by Sam Tsui

Yet another YouTube sensation, Sam has a voice that is smooth and pitch perfect and kind of sounds like he belongs in a Disney movie. This cover was so popular that it even was featured on Ms. Spears’ official website. If that’s not a stamp of approval, idk what is.

Before Nashville: Lennon and Maisy, Internet Sensations

Long before Tami Taylor was driving around her two daughters on Nashville, they were YouTube superstars. If you watch this country music centered soap opera, you were introduced to their fantastic singing on a recent episode, as seen here:

Ho Hey – Lumineers

After the episode aired, the internet was abuzz because they had no idea these girls had amazing talent, and possibly (definitely)  even better than Hayden Pannetierre herself. The aftershock of finding out these girls were really good singers was legitimate, since up until that episode, they were just secondary characters who were the focus of  their parents’ divorce. But for internet nerds like me, you’d know that they’ve been making their round on the ‘netz for a while. In fact, they were part of the reason why I started watching Nashville, obviously apart form Connie Britton, but also because I was interested to see how these gals would fair as actors.

I was first introduced to them about a year ago after I became obsessed with this version of a Swedish vocal group named Erato, who sang Robyn’s Call Your Girlfriend a cappella and with empty butter/yogurt containers (not as weird as it sounds). One of the suggested videos was Lennon and Maisy’s cover of Erato’s cover, and lo and behold, it’s received even more views that Erato’s cover – over 15 million hits to date!

Call Your Girlfriend/Cups

Both Molly and I loved these girls, and refused to believe they were that young with this much talent, but maybe it was just us being selfish that our dreams of being child stars never came to fruition. But I went through their catalog of cover songs and discovered they were actually the most gifted kids ever. Like no six year old should be able to harmonize that well. Check out these girls before they were rubbing elbows with Connie and Hayden, and maybe even check out Nashville, because it’s not that bad…

I Won’t Give Up – Jason Mraz

When Your Mind’s Made Up – The Swell Season

Headlock – Imogen Heap

The Best Of: Kelly Clarkson Cover Songs

KC did this awesome thing on her recent Stronger tour where she asked fans to send in their requests for songs they would like to see her cover during every single stop on the tour. The result was fantastic, as she murdered pretty much every song she performed. Entertainment Weekly compiled a list of  all of them, but here are my favorites if you want the abridged version.

*PS: Note to ALL YouTube uploaders: It is absolutely annoying when you talk during the video and the viewer can hear every single word out of your damn mouth. Shut it.

I Know You Won’t – Originally by Carrie Underwood

Fix You – Originally by Coldplay

Gravity – Originally by Sara Bareilles

Crazy For You – Originally by Madonna

Poison and Wine w/ Duets contestant Jason Farol – Originally by The Civil Wars