So my buddy Nick and I have been talking about playing at an open mic... and we thought it would be fun to do a set of songs that is all G-Em-C-D. Because what a versatile chord progression, right?
Naturally, Wagon Wheel came to mind... But then Nick brought it to my attention that, according to mean (and potentially racist) people on the internet, no one should cover Wagon Wheel, ever -- not even Darius Rucker.
But, guys. Darius Rucker's version is way better than Old Crow Medicine Show's.
Obviously, before I made a big fuss about it, I wanted to listen to the O.C.M.S. version again...
But I fell asleep about 11 seconds in.
After I woke up, I tried again -- this time, with the assistance of Youtube's 1.25x playback tool. Compared to Darius Rucker's, the singing is kind of flat and uninspired. Visually, the video is just kind of... boring.
I think they realized how boring it was, so they threw in some "exotic girls," because boobies is always a good way to make a boring, uninspired, cheaply-shot video less boring, right?
OMG YAY BOOBIES!
As I watched, I felt like it was cheap... and kind of trashy. I felt like it... reminded me of something. Eventually, I realized what it was:
Except OCMS's version was a little classier.
I don't have a problem with the female form, mind you. But obviously, in a song about raping nonconsenting women, having a bunch of naked women stumbling around like they're on drugs is gross...
And having "exotic girls" in your video for no reason other than "boobies" -- or was there some kind of plot they were driving that I totally missed because I was asleep? -- is also kind of like, umm... okay. I'm sorry you had writer's block that day. (See also: 4 Reasons You Suck at "Self-Expression," and What You Can Do About It.)
The harmonies were neat, though...
Okay, but then -- there's Darius Rucker. Watch, listen, then tell me the Old Crow version is anywhere near as good as this:
You can't, because it isn't.
I mean, sure. There are a lot of similarities. But even if the only two differences, musically, were Rucker's faster tempo and much better voice (with respect to richness, roundness, and nuance)... it's still better than the original. The feel is also way more fun -- celebratory, nuanced, and relaxed, rather than soft, contrived, and nervous.
Not to mention Rucker being one of the only prominent black figures in country music -- a genre that is "perplexingly white" and allegedly very racist. In fact, if you believe some of the tweets that came out in 2013, when Rucker’s version made it to No. 1 on the country chart, it becomes instantly clear that lots of people didn't like his version specifically because he was black.
To me, there is just no comparison...
But Nick and I plan to give Rucker a run for his money at the open mic next month. :P
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