Here’s a cover for the list that I realize might not be my most popular pick. I’m well aware that it is purely about nostalgia and time and place. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
When I was very young, I had a vinyl collection, mostly 45s, and mostly records connected with storybooks from the Walt Disney and Sesame Street family. I don’t know what age I was, but definitely before ten years old, I received my first “real” music record from one of my cool aunts, probably my Aunt Kathy. It was, as you might have guessed, the 7” single of Human League’s “Don’t you want me”, backed with “Seconds”. Of course, I didn’t know then that it was the fourth single to be released off the synth pop group’s third album, heck, I didn’t even know what synth pop was, but I played it all the time, along with its B-side, and danced around my little bedroom like a maniac.
Just under a decade or so later, I had just graduated high school and was wondering what to do with my life. I was quite deep into music, this new alternative stuff, mostly of the baggy, madchester persuasion, and one of my favourite albums of the moment was “Spartacus”, the debut album by The Farm. My friend Andrew Rodriguez got a copy of the sophomore release, “Love see no colour”, for Christmas, which he promptly recorded for me. I won’t lie. I was a bit disappointed with the first few songs but then, there were some higher moments, and then, six songs in was a cover of this song from my youth. I fell in love with it all over again. I only later learned that the cover was originally recorded for an NME-related compilation called “Ruby Trax” a few years later when I picked it up in a used CD store on McCaul street in Toronto.
Despite being recorded almost a decade apart, the two versions are not all that far apart in sound. The Human League’s “Don’t you want me” is definitely more synth heavy and mechanical and The Farm’s cover has more guitar work and some synth flourish to plug the gaps left by the austere original. Nevertheless, both are quite dated sounding today. Again, definitely time and place. And if I hadn’t been there for both originally, this post might not have happened at all.
For the rest of the 100 best covers list, click here.