As I’ve previously shown, covers can be good things. Fun, even. What better way to show your artistic abilities than by reworking a beloved standard, or showing your take on an old personal favorite? Hey, it worked for Hendrix with Bob Dylan (twice), Nirvana’s “Man Who Sold the World” might be more well-known than the original, and all anyone knows of Alien Ant Farm is their nu-metaled up “Smooth Criminal”. So hey, it can work.
Then other times, like on these five songs, it can not.
5. Glee – Sweet Transvestite
And we’re already off to a “piss someone off start”. I’ve never watched an episode of Glee myself, but I’ve heard a song from it here and there. From what I’ve gathered, the head haunchos seem to ask themselves, “How can we take anything from Paramore’s latest single to a Beatles’ classic and strip it of any soul or meaning and make lots of money?”
From the get-go, Gleeifying Rocky Horror misses the point of Rocky Horror; part of it’s appeal is in how B-rated and cheap it is. So pumping “Sweet Transvestite” with all that hot studio production to make it sell on iTunes is already going to be a misfire.
Then there’s the fact that this is a terrible cover. Amber Jones swaps the cool, seductive performance usually associated with Dr. Frank-N-Furter for one that sounds like a cat getting strangled. She lacks the dynamics for it to work even a little bit; if you’re going to belt out, don’t do it every ten seconds. It’s supposed to show off her skills, but it’s more grating than anything else. Jones’ unpleasantly-in-your-face-while-totally-lifeless performance mixed with the uninspired production put one of Glee‘s travesties on the list.
4. Snoop Dogg – Sad But True
How does MTV think they should properly give Metallica tribute? By inviting Sum 41, Avril Lavinge, Limp Bizkit, Korn, Staind, and, I shit you not, Snoop Dogg to stumble through some of the band’s better songs. To be fair, it wasn’t the shitstorm everyone expected; Limp Bizkit did a surprising job of not totally sucking, Sum 41 did a respectable medley, and even Avril wasn’t the worst of the night.
That honor goes to Snoop Dodizzle double-G-y-izzle for a bad, bad attempt at turning “Sad But True” into a rap song. Presumably knowing the song’s about to fall flat, Doggy Dogg spends awhile ad-libbing “Chyeah, chyeah, Snoop Dogg in the house” to put off handling “Sad But True”. And the real song’s just embarrassing; Snoop falls behind at one point, apparently never decided on a meter to follow, and ends up trying to half-sing parts of the song (“It’s sad but truuuuue…”). Mercifully, he finally taps out after a minute of humiliating himself and Metallica, who had to sit there and pretend to like it. Sad but true.
3. Fearless Records’ “Punk Goes ____”
I spent a solid half-hour just jumping around YouTube looking for which one of these godawful abominations out-sucked the rest, but it’s a failed endeavor. Much like Glee, I’m given to believe that Fearless’ “Punk Goes ____” series is an organized campaign against good music. The first one was ok enough, but they’ve gotten worse and worse to the point that just buying one docks IQ points (this might explain why the Warped Tour crowd still eats’em up). It was kind of a good idea, but the past few release have just been no name bands with chemical plant waste colored hair and spray-on tight jeans butcher their favorite songs.
The songs tend to come in a limited number of flavors: usual/boring pop-punk, “That’s fine, I didn’t like hearing anyway” screamo, aural-rape metalcore, “Oh why does this genre exist?!” electrocore, and “Is that a boy singing or not?” electropunk. These are so bad, they even fail as novelty records. They’re the equivalent of imagining that one friend of yours with a bad sense of humor saying, “Hey, hey, c’mere. Check out this YouTube clip. Ain’t it awesome? Aw wait brah, here’s the best part, wait for it, wait for it…AH! Dude, there it is! That’s hilarious, right?!” And it’s a crotch shot. Sigh.
2. Hilary Duff – My Generation
Oh yes, it’s exactly what you think. If Oasis could do a great cover of it, Green Day could do a decent cover it, then Hilary Duff can do one of the worst covers of The Who’s “My Generation” on the planet. Snotty vocals, terrible production, and her Miley-Cyrus’-mentor attitude all stack up to make this a sad excuse of a cover.
In fact, who the fuck thought this would be a good idea? Think about it. This is from Hilary’s barely post-Disney days. Which puppet-master studio producer thought that she’d be an appropriate fit for a song that includes “Hope I die before I get old”? Oh wait, that’s a line that’s only present in good version of the song; here it’s changed to “Hope I DON’T die before I get old”. And Hilary Duff was never all that big anyway. I mean, out of my whole jr. high class, only one girl was an avid fan, the rest…eh, they knew of her existence, I guess. So for her, talkin’ ’bout my generation rings hollow. And like suck made in audio form. But that’s still nothing compared to…
1. The Worst Talent Show Band on Earth – Smells Like Teen Spirit
The worst of the worst, ladies and gentlemen. Everyone else who’s been on this List of Shame has made crimes against humanity, but they’re jaywalkers against war criminals next to this baby. Every band that’s existed since 1992 has covered “Smells Like Teen Spirit” at some point, even my little two month cover band in high school took a crack at it one practice, but I
think hope no one’s ever gone this badly about it.
This is not only a godawful cover, it’s one that stays with you. When I needed a number one for this list, this half-aborted take on “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was the first song that came to mind, and I haven’t heard it in years. That’s how long this thing will haunt you.
The star of the video is the singer, who tells you everything you need to know about her once you see her struggle to pull her damn jacket off twenty seconds in. The first verse is pretty intolerable, but oh just you wait for that chorus. “WTHELIGHTSOUT. IT’SLESSDAYGRUS.” It’s not so much singing as much as taking a tone deaf girl with Tourettes off her meds and making her sing. Throw in the clusterfuck that’s the second chorus, the general suckiness of the band in general, and you have the worst cover of all time.