Fall Covers Tournament: Play-In Round, Day 1

Votes are due on Sunday, October 2nd at 8 pm: Well, this has been quite the endeavor of categorizing songs and figuring out which should play logically in these first few rounds. I feel good about this first group of play-in songs. We’ve got some intriguing and compelling matches out of the way to kick us off. To start us off, we’ll call this the Day for Deleting Duplicity. Each of our matches have something in common. Remember- listen to both songs in their entirety, and then give each a score between 0 and 10 in the comments section below. Ready? This is going to be fun.

Match 1: “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival vs. “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone. The Bayou Boys take on the Queen of Civil Rights Jazz. Only one tribute to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins will go on. Let’s get this sorted out right quick.

Match 2: “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters vs. “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver. Were we listening to the actual Purple Rain album, these would be Track 5 and Track 6, respectively. Who channels Prince in the most compelling manner, Dave Grohl or this lost track from the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack?

Match 3: “Jolene” by Mindy Smith vs. “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band. It’s a Jolene-off…except two different Jolenes. Both of the originals have been featured in past tournaments. Only room for one of these vixens in the Round of 128- pick your poison.

Match 4: “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer versus “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell. Replace Purple Rain with Thriller– Track 5 versus Track 6 once again. Only one Thriller representative from this pair will go forward. Which is the worth MJ representative?

 

 

For easy cutting and pasting:

“I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
“I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone

“Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters
“When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver

“Jolene” by Mindy Smith
“Jolene” by Zac Brown Band

“Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer
“Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell

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About g-mo

The day I was born, Michael Jackson's Thriller album was at the top of the Billboard 200. I've been trying my best to live up to that expectation ever since.
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32 Responses to Fall Covers Tournament: Play-In Round, Day 1

  1. Jacob says:

    So this is hard. After listening to these songs, it’s clear that everyone participating in this tournament will have to answer a fundamental question: is a bad cover of a song you really like better than a decent, or at least inventive cover of a song you don’t really like. Does the cover deserve to benefit from the fact that the original tune is good even though the performance leaves a lot to be desired? Sometimes it makes sense to really punish a cover that doesn’t do justice to the original, but often you just can’t help but like a song, even if you’d rather be hearing the original. Do people have any thoughts on this? Somehow it feels like a moral question.

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival 7
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone 5

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters 6
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver 3 What’s wrong with Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet is what’s wrong with this version of When Doves Cry. I guess people who liked the movie will feel that the opposite is true. To each their own.

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith 4
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band 2

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer 3
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell 7

    • Danno says:

      I think I’m ignoring the fundamental question and just continuing to vote with how the song makes me feel at the time i’m listening to it. I’m sure subconsciously it will be impossible not to let my feelings about the original version come into my voting, but I won’t be specifically making comparisons to the original or changing my score just because someone has a unique take on a song (for good or for bad). Curious how other people will decide to vote though.

  2. aiko says:

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival 6
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone 3

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters 2
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver 9.5
    This would probably be a 3/8 split on the original songs, and I’m basing my scores somewhat against what the cover does to the original. I really like Dave Grohl as a person and I really wish I liked his music, but he took a song that doesn’t do much for me in the first place and sucked any life out of it. My true feeling is that this is a 1, but I’m trying not to Ultimate Danno Hammer it in the second match up. “When Doves Cry” gets a little boost because I was, at one point in my life, a 16 year old girl. But, somewhat more objectively, it takes an interesting song and makes it more interesting and rich.

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith 8
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band 3
    I love Dolly’s “Jolene” and pretty much any cover of it, but my favorite “Jolene” is actually by Cake:

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer 4
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell 7
    It’s just so easy and predictable to do the soulful/bluesy/acoustic cover of a dance hit that I am going to be really, really picking with my scoring of such covers. That being said, this Billie Jean is pretty interesting even if it doesn’t feel like it entirely works. It gets a bonus for effort.

  3. g says:

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival 6
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone 3

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters 1
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver 6

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith 6.5
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band 3.5

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer 4.8 [sounds like guitar hero]
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell 3.8 [bold effort, but this shows why soundgarden didn’t do the blues]

  4. Danno says:

    This is for Danno/Dgilly/Steph

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival 7/8/8
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone 6/5/6

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters 5/4/4
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver 1.5/1.5/2

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith 4/3.5/4
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band 5.5/6/6

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer 7/8/7.5
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell 4.5/6/5

  5. Adam S says:

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival 4
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone 5

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters 4
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver 3

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith 6
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band 0. What the heck was that????

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer 8.5
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell 3

  6. chrisroomba says:

    First is Chris, second is wife, Stacey

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival 5/4
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone 4/2
    S: “Um, that’s the same song…but worse”

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters 3/3
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver 5/5 or 6…5.5 (with a smirk)

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith 5/4
    S:”I could listen to it, but I wouldn’t like it
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band 7/7
    Both agreed, this was much better

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer 9.5 (I love it, I really do enjoy working out to it, I nominated it, but even I recognize it isn’t deserving of the Wall of 10s)/6
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell 3/5
    C: this guy can sing, and he’s really trying to sell it, but I don’t know if I can guy this. It’s a little too middle school slow dance for me, but the lyrics don’t sync up with that ideal. Something isn’t right. S:”I don’t like it, but I would listen to it, [but I liked it better than the first Jolene]”

    Kinda disappointed, the grooveshark widget doesn’t show up at work. Wished I had the link to the play list too…Would’ve gotten more people to vote after SATs ended and proctoring was over this morning.

  7. Lindsay says:

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival 4
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone 7
    I don’t like the CCR version of this song much at all. I think Nina Simone makes everything a little sexier, though. I could listen to her version several more times.

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters 2 ugh.
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver 4
    I am not a huge Prince fan. I guess that shows here.

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith 7
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band
    I like both of these songs so much. I might almost like Mindy Smith’s more than Dolly’s. But I like the Ray Jolene more than I like the Dolly Jolene and Zac Brown does a pretty good job with it. These covers make for complicated scoring calculus!

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer 3
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell 7.5
    I don’t like Beat It and I don’t like Fallout Boy, so that first song is a real gross-out. I am not typically a Chris Cornell fan, but I really like this Billie Jean.

  8. NatalieG says:

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival 6
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone 4

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters 0.0001
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver 1

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith 5
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band 3.5

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer 1.5
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell 3

  9. Noura says:

    Scoring these songs IS hard. But my thinking is pretty similar to Danno’s – my scores will be based on how I feel about a song in the moment that I am listening to it. Certainly factors will, of course, play into that – like whether I know/like the original song or artist, or whether I like the cover artist. So we’ll see how that works out…

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival – 5
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone – 6.5

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters – 3.5
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver – 5.5

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith – 4.5
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band – 7.5
    Mindy has a pretty voice, but the song felt almost boring. I was surprised how much I liked the Zak Brown version.

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer – 4
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell – 5
    Beat It felt awkward. I think I would rather hear Chris Cornell’s Billie Jean again…but I am not really a fan of either.

    • Maureen says:

      Oops! Those are my scores, not Noura’s. My brother’s girlfriend used my computer to post her nomination, and her email address was saved.

  10. The Progenitor says:

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival – 3.0
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone – 5.0

    Not impressed with either of these covers. I didn’t think either arrangement did anything for the song. CCR was too heavy on the instrumentals and not very good and Nina’s version was too soft. Lacked the grit that should be there.

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters 3.0
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver 4.5

    Not a Prince fan. But it didn’t matter because neither of these was very good, period. Especially the FF. This came off as just a lot of noise.

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith 4.5
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band 6.0

    Mindy was just OK. ZBB was much better but not Ray.

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer – 1.5
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell – 5.0

    Michael must be rolling over in his grave. Beat It was plain awful. Cornell was more pleasant to listen to but not one to repeat.

  11. Eileen says:

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival – 5.0
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone – 6.0

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters – 3.0
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver – 4.0

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith – 7.0
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band – 5.0

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer – 3.0
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell – 6.0

  12. Adrock says:

    Scores are for Me and then Meghan

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival – 8/5
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone – 4.5/3

    Adrock: CCR is probably my favorite version other than the original. Even with the heavier emphasis on instrumentals, CCR definitely drives the feeling of magical enslavement. Nina Simone is so hit and miss with this one – the vocals just aren’t quite what i want with that tempo. Alas.

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters – 6/2.5
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver – 4/4.5

    Adrock: No bloody clue what Foo Fighters were covering, but it was solid.
    Meghan – That was the Foo Fighters??!

    Adrock: I feel like I’m in a bad 80’s James Bond movie – sounds like it could easily have doubled for A View to a Kill with a naked Grace Jones (someone will need to tell me how that was a good idea some day).
    Meghan: There were parts of this that I liked but I felt like she tried to do too much when she tried to Christina Aguilera-ify the song…

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith – 6/3
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band – 4/5.5

    Adrock: Kinda digging the Mindy Smith version. Not nearly the substance of Ray, but a really enjoyable vibe. Zac Brown band seems like another bunch of fake wanna-be cowboys. I’d like to send them with their “horses” right to the glue factory… but they are talented enough that I’ll feel bad about it this time.

    Meghan: The first Jolene faded into the background for me and I didn’t seem to notice it much. I really liked the second one- it made me sit up more and listen.

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer – 6.5/4
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell – 9.8/6

    Adrock: I was drunker half an hour ago… if this matchup had come first, Beat it gets an 8.5. Now… just too over the top – but still a fun take.
    Meghan: LIked the music but not the singing on Fallout Boy.

    Adrock: Holy shit. Loved Cornell’s version. Thank you to whoever threw that in. Easily my favorite in this group. Better than the original (heretical though that may sound).

    • aiko says:

      Hey- FYI, Quindon Tarver is a guy. He was 14 years old at the time that song was recorded in 1996, which probably puts Christina in her Mouseketeer days. Maybe she copied him?

  13. Astrid says:

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival 7
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone 6

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters 7
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver 4

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith 8
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band 5

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer 4
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell 7

  14. Danelevitt says:

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival – 4.5
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone – 5.5

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters – 6.5
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver – 5

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith – 4
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band – 3.5

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer – 7
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell – 5

  15. ChrisB says:

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival – 5
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone – 6

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters – 4 Baker Street is the better cover by the Foo.
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver – 3. 90’s Dance beat just doesn’t move me like it used to.

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith – 7
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band – 5

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer – 4
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell – 6

    Kinda surprised that Alien Ant Farm’s Smooth Criminal wasn’t nominated.

  16. Isabel says:

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival 7.5
    CCR gets a bonus point for having the balls to attempt songs like this.
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone – 4
    Did the arranger even listen to the lyrics?
    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters – 6
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver – 3 – I liked the movie, but not this rendition so much. Maybe I’m just disturbed by children’s voices singing these lyrics.
    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith – Seems pretty close to the original…yeah, I’m not sure whether that deserves points or deductions…but it’s well done, if unoriginal, so …. 7
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band – 4
    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer – 5
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell – 5.5

  17. Margot says:

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival – 7
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone – 7.7

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters – 5
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver 6.1

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith 5
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band 7.5

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer 3
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell 5

  18. asf says:

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival – 7.2
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone – 7.5

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters – 5
    Dave Grohl wouldn’t know what to do with Nikki if he found her in a hotel lobby.
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver – 7.3
    A little heavy on the vocal acrobatics, but good beat, I dig it.

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith – 7.8
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band – 5

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer – 4
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell – 7

  19. dj roomba says:

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival – 4
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone – 5.5

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters – 5.5
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver – 7.75

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith – 3
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band – 5.5

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer – 7
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell – 4.5

  20. Anne S. says:

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival 5
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone 4

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters 4
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver 6

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith 4.5
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band 7

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer 7
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell 5

  21. janos marton says:

    Me and C

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival: 9 / 8.7
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone: 6.8 / 7.5

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters: 6.5 / 7
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver: 6 / 5.5

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith 6 / 4.5
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band 7.3 / 4.3

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer: 4 / 4
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell: 5/ 6
    Sorry I vastly prefer the originals on both of these.

  22. natalie says:

    oh yeah, hi, i’m totally a day late. meant to vote on the next round. but since i listened & commented, i’m just going to post this anyway.

    “I Put A Spell On You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival – 5
    “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone – 5.5
    i dont see either of these getting far past the play-in round. i usually choose rock over cheesy strings, but the only thing that caught my attention in the ccr version was a lot of drum-banging. at least nina’s had soul.

    “Darling Nikki” by Foo Fighters – 3.5
    “When Doves Cry” by Quindon Tarver – 4.5
    oof. i want to give foo fighters credit for actually making the song sound like their own, but frankly i was getting creeped out listening to it (i’m not actually familiar with the original, but i think i’d rather hear prince do it.) quindon started out with a glimmer of promise, but after a while just sounded like an annoying teeny-bopper-prince-wannabe.

    “Jolene” by Mindy Smith – 6
    “Jolene” by Zac Brown Band – 6.5
    found mindy smith’s beautiful for the most part, but i wish she’d kept it acoustic & simple. some of that reverby stuff was excessive & brought the feeling of authenticity down a notch. i don’t know the “jolene” that zbb did. i dont have strong feelings about this matchup… i think i’ll give zbb the edge.

    “Beat It” by Fallout Boy featuring John Mayer – 4.5
    “Billie Jean” by Chris Cornell – 4
    chris cornell, you lose for taking a fun song and making it depressing

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