Coffee Shop Music

I just heard one of the worst covers of a song ever.  This wasn’t one of those situations where one of my kids says to me “I like the real one better” when I’m playing “Sweet Child ‘O Mine” by Guns ‘N Roses in the car (because apparently the “real one” is the one that was covered by some crappy band in 2009, and the original GnR version was just a “draft”).  No, this was much worse.

I was sitting in Starbucks last night, going through the ton of papers and notes I’ve managed to accumulate and trying to get them all organized when I heard a familiar beat come on.  I’d play the chords here for you but I couldn’t find a chord if I channeled Jimi Hendrix – the extent of my musical ability involves tuning a radio using a dial.

Anyway, the song is Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now”.  It didn’t sound quite right – it seemed a little slow.  I was tapping my foot in time to what I thought it should be and either I was off (which is where the smart money is) or the song was.  Then the female singer came on and it still sounded … off.  I thought maybe it was one of those unplugged versions – you know, where some stage guy trips over the wires and kills the amp, requiring the artist to focus on the actual music itself, not the electronic magic that can be done to it.  Think: Milli Vanilli.  Or not.

But then the lead male singer came on and tried to sing his part.  Oh. My. Heavens.  I think having a banshee scream in my ear would have been more musically sound than listening to that.   “Horrible” doesn’t even begin to describe the level of pure auditory hell that I was in.  If Dante wrote “Inferno” about music this would have clearly hit the seventh level and had room to spare.

I’m only slightly exaggerating, and not because I’m a fan of Lady A and country music in general.  Even my best friend, to whom “country music” is something you do when you’re trying to torture yourself, would have agreed that it would have been better to have had a herd of cats in heat at the microphone than what was blaring through the speakers.

And I’m no stranger to bad music.  Homer’s Coffee Shop in Red Bridge (which inexplicably closed one day on me) liked their cover bands by bands that shouldn’t do covers music.  I’d heard everything from Enya to Metallica played by singers who tried to slow down fast songs or speed up slow ones, replace deep-voiced male singers with high-pitched female ones (or vice-versa) and generally attempt to butcher the song “artistically”.

But this..this was one of those tracks that makes you want to go back in the back of your local Starbucks, find the CD and run it through the coffee grinder.

The moral of the story?  Bring a pair of headphones next time.

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What do you think?