100 best covers: #92 Crash Vegas “Pocahontas”

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I did things a little backwards as it pertains to my university years’ accommodations. I won’t go into why I lived off campus for my first two years and then, moved into residence during my third year, but in hindsight, am very glad that was the way things turned out. My grades definitely suffered that year but I made countless memories and met some amazing people. One of these was Bahar, who everyone simply called ‘Boo’, and who lived just a few doors down the residence hall from me and over the course of the year, became my ‘little sister’.

I mention Boo in connection with this cover of “Pocahontas” by Crash Vegas, since it’s likely because of her that it is on this list. I half remember hanging out in her room one afternoon and my mentioning that I had seen the video and how it had stuck with me, despite never really having heard anything else in their catalogue. She immediately pulled a CD copy of “Aurora” off her massive CD shelf and replaced the Beastie Boys disc in the player to put it on. I later borrowed the disc when I was making a mixed tape, pulling this track and “Scarborough” for the mix. And a couple of years later, when I bought a used copy of the album for myself, it was on basis of these two songs.

I’m not terribly familiar with Neil Young’s original and only really knew that the song was a cover because Boo told me so that day. I know he’s done a few versions, ranging from electric to acoustic, and if you’re one of his fans, I’m sure you prefer his original. Crash Vegas, a Canadian alternative rock band that saw some success in the 90s, doesn’t do anything spectacularly different with the song, an acoustic backbone and a spiritual edge, but I do prefer Michelle McAdorey’s soft vocals to the whines of Young. I’ve always appreciated his talent. What makes “Pocahontas” such a great tune is his songwriting, the imagery evoked through astral plane time travel and the connection of cultural figures not immediately plausible, but I could never get past his voice enough to explore his original. I could play this cover on end though, and remember back to 1995 with fondness whenever I do.

The cover:

The original:

For the rest of the 100 best covers list, click here.

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