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All I Do Is Keep The Beat

Sunday 25th May 2008

I think I’ve mentioned before (on a comment elsewhere, iirc) that I have a certain amount of distaste for The Killers. This cover of “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits is (mainly) why.

Ok, it’s not bad. But then it’s an amazingly good song (better than the inoffensive trite they usually play…), so they’d have to be fools to completely cock it up. That said, the guitarist is blatently struggling to play his part (and the tone of his guitar is awful. Awful!), and his solo at the end is just laughable, but y’know… The guy singing kinda fails to convey any sense of emotion as well. It sounds like he’s trying really hard to sound cool, rather than trying to tell the story within the song.

So it won’t go down in history as The Best Cover Ever, but anyone who hasnt heard the original (most of The Killers’ fanbase, I imagine) would probably think it’s ok. But I have heard the original, and it’s one of my favourite songs ever. So the Killers’ lacklustre effort really shows them up for the talentless no-ones they are. For comparison, this is the way Mark Knopfler, who wrote the song, performs it live. Take note of the decent singing (when you write good lyrics, you don’t need to try to sound cool), the excellent guitar playing (best guitarist ever), and the band just generally being awesome. Also, take note of the tone of the guitar being much nicer on this version. But then he has a Resonator (a National from the 1930s, iirc. And apparently a bitch to play), and they’re pretty fucking awesome.

That said, the performance isn’t what irritated me when I first heard it (to be honest, it just makes me laugh). It’s the little interview at the start:

“I’m amazed that they’re from England, y’know? To me, all the songs sound like they’re from the deserts of Australia. You don’t imagine the clouds of England hanging over their songs, it’s just not there…”

Wrong. Just wrong! That quote really just says that they know nothing about the band, that they’re not really that into the music, and just… Suffice it to say, it really annoys me. Knopfler has a way of writing songs which really tell a story, and the fact that they’ve misunderstood his music that drastically is just contemptious. If they were a proper band, who cared about music, then they wouldn’t say such a thing…

Basically, all this is a roundabout way of saying: I went with one of my brothers to see Mark Knopfler play in Cardiff the other night, and he was bloody brilliant. But then, I’ve seen him before and he was brilliant then, so it wasn’t exactly unexpected.

What was unexpected was another band we saw on the same night. We went to a jazz bar in Cardiff after the gig (which is bloody good, if expensive – £2.95 for a pint of Guinness!), and saw some random band play there. Didn’t really know what to expect, but they were actually really bloody good. After that gig, there sadly wasn’t any more live music to go see, so we ordered another couple of pints and talked about girls…

Anyway, two great gigs in one night. Can’t beat that!

(Yes, another post starting with the letter A. I would try to find another lyric which doesn’t start with that, but…)

Posted at 12:42 am | Posted In: MusicRant Tagged:

6 Comments:

Andy

Sunday 25th May 2008, 3:52 am

*rolls eyes*

For once, I think I disagree with you on something other than F1.

I’m also struggling to articulate exactly why I disagree, but it’s like, 3am. Christ, where did the last few hours go?

Just strikes me as, you love this kind of music, and how fucking dare anyone cover it who doesn’t fully understand the subtle nuance of the etc. etc. Nobody cares.

Personally, I think some of the stuff you listen to is wanky bullshit, and actually quite enjoy the Killers. Sure, they’re not the best band ever, but they’re not complete wankers with no skill at all.

Mr Brightside, for instance is a song very much with a story – the emotional sting of jealousy of seeing someone you’re in love with with someone else. It’s also (still!) a bit of a club favourite, for the obvious reason that it’s awesome played too loud in a darkened room.

Anyways, The guy even says at the start of the video that they won’t do it justice, but that it’s worth doing if they get a Killers fan to listen to Mark Knopfler. They’re on your side, for crying out loud.

Seriously, there are worse wankers out there, like Johnny “I’m a better songwriter than Bob Dylan!” Borrell. He really is a tosser.

Anyways, to be vaguely conciliatory, everyone has something they’re a purist about. Like I personally detest the All Saints cover of Under The Bridge (It’s about scoring smack under a bridge, love song it ain’t, ffs!).

And everyone likes different kinds of music, and that’s cool. The only people who really deserve contempt are the people who stop liking something when it becomes popular, or any such arbitrary reason.

Stuff like you liking the Pink Floyd / Dire Straits kinda stuff’s fine. I know personally, I like turning up something like the Arctic Monkeys to ear-damaging levels and dancing like a crazy. It’s all cool.

Anyways, Hendrix is the best guitarist ever. http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/5937559/the_100_greatest_guitarists_of_all_time trailing Tom Morello (aka that bastard from Guitar Hero 3) into 27th. Although I think Frusciante should be higher up that list – while the stuff he plays on albums is pretty good (see the intro to Snow!) he turns the dial all the way up to 11 when playing live (you should hear his (i assume) improvised outro to the live in hyde park version of by the way. It’s better than the song! There are actually people on YouTube covering just the outro. Mad!)

But there’s the irony inherent in making a top 100 of subjective quality.

Christ, that was long. Erm, closing remarks: bloody Eurovision. I think we can all agree on the shoddiness inherent in the system there.

JennyM

Monday 26th May 2008, 1:38 am

I’ve just got into Dire Straits. Just getting into, then. Apparently mark knopfler had a brother with an even better voice who died early on in the history of the band.

But the Killers aren’t bad. A lot of their stuff is worth the listen — I’ve never seen the point in getting purist about music. There’s a lot of stuff that I like that I should probably be ashamed of liking but over hte years every band I know and like has been slated or absolutely raved about in praise by one or other of my friends — music is to be enjoyed, and not judged. I think.

Dickie

Monday 26th May 2008, 5:19 pm

K, i’m in devon at the moment, and my only net access is by gprs on mob… So i’m not gonna write it now, but expect a riposte on friday or sometime. I think my point kinda got lost in translation when i wrote the post.

Oh, jennym, the brother is david knopfler, i think. He’s actually still recording i think, not heard it tho.

JennyM

Monday 26th May 2008, 9:03 pm

and my source was oh-so-very-certain :(

Methinks I shall have to google this…!

Flix

Tuesday 27th May 2008, 6:09 pm

Oh, this makes me smile.

I like the Killers. I like Dire Straits. Contrary to your assumption, I had heard the original before hearing the cover. I do prefer Dire Straits. But The Killers aren’t all that bad, yu know. But then again, I never proclaim to be musical connoisseur, I like, listen to music cos I like it or whatever, so maybe don’t take my view on things too much to heart ;)

Also, I spent my Sunday afternoon watching the Monaco thang. Not out of choice, I hasten to add, as honestly, it was a couple of the most boring hours of my weekend. But then my weekend was pretty awesome otherwise, so maybe it’s unfair to compare :P

Also, you’re accessing the internet whilst on the field trip? Perhaps I shouldn’t say who won the race, then… :D

Andy

Tuesday 27th May 2008, 8:37 pm

Must apologise about my previous comment, I think I was a little sleep deprived..

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