I have become fascinated by genre-defying cover songs, songs that are originally recorded in one genre and re-recorded by other artists in seemingly disparate genres. There are many of these types of songs floating around, but the one I heard recently that inspired me was the cover version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as performed by Patti Smith. Whoa! I read on the Wikipedia entry that Kurt Cobain was modelling one of my favorite bands, The Pixies, in this song. Good choice.
The Patti Smith recording is a more acoustic version, using banjo and violin in the instrumentation (Or is it fiddle? How do you tell? See my previous post, “Fiddle or Violin?”). Now I do like Patti Smith, but I would love to have an instrumental-only version of this song; I respect her artistic expression. She throws it at the wall and it sticks, but it gets a little chatty, in my opinion. Nirvana rocks it, but Patti Smith brings an interesting new undertone of folk to it. This is from her album of covers entitled "Twelve".
Check it out! Click the atomic particle below and a new window will open. The Nirvana version is first, to refresh your memory. Listen on the best speakers you have; the Patti Smith version is full of quiet and subtle details, including comprehendable lyrics.