Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 2, 2009
POP CULTURE: How To Sing About You Now
Longtime readers know that - as discussed here - I'm a very big fan of the Saw Doctors, the great Irish pop/rock band, who in a just world would be international musical superstars. Anyway, here is a study in contrasts for you: among their more recent releases, which hit the top of the Irish pop charts last fall, is a cover of "About You Now," originally recorded in the U.S. by the Sugababes, but translated into something rather different by the Saw Doctors (a cover tune is a departure for a band that typically writes their own stuff, but this one was originally done to raise money for a cystic fibrosis charity...and yes, writing that made me think of Dean Barnett again). Check out three versions of the song. First, we have the Sugababes' decidedly R&B flavored original, which I will confess is not at all to my taste, here. Second, a version by teenybopper singer Miranda Cosgrove, here, which is basically the same thing but slightly less funky and more...well, for lack of a better word, white. Then we get the Saw Doctors' guitar-driven version, which of course is more rock n' roll and also, naturally, less girly and more wistful:
One side note: I think I mentioned on Twitter that I learned when assembling the Kelly Clarkson profile quite how much of today's pop music is written by the same handful of people regardless of who the singer is, especially female singers. This tune is no exception, having been co-written by Cathy Dennis and Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald, who between them have been involved in numerous hit singles by Clarkson, Britney Spears, Pink, Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne, and the Spice Girls, among many, many others. In a way, everything old is new again: the concept seems alien to people who came of age in the 70s and 80s (although the name "Burt Bacharach" may come to mind), but if you go back to the days of Elvis and Motown, stables of professional songwriters who worked with large numbers of different singers were quite common.