Music: Covers that are better than the originals - Ma Benz by Brigitte
Now, the article could easily have appeared under the banner of some future, semi-regular, segments we'll be doing - "Great songs you've probably never heard" and "Songs that were better live". As you'll see it was hard to know how to package this article, and you're going to have to trust me for at least two songs as the first you'll hear/see is truly god-awful.
So, you may not have heard this tune or the cover because it's in French. Here's the original. It is not, in my opinion, very good, but you can't appreciate how great the live covers are until you've exposed yourself to this.
I prefer some MC Solaar myself. It's catchy enough to get your foot tapping occasionally but it's also kind of empty sounding. There's being chilled out and then there's failing to engage the listener. Also, that chorus and its delivery is bordering on parody and it was back when it was new. And I hate that video for so many reasons. Still, 6 million views. Though, the French don't have much music of their own so I guess they're going to jump on some when it shows up. Which explains Johnny Hallyday's career (ask your mother).
So, we come to the first cover. A group fronted by two young ladies, Brigitte, who decide to lounge-club the whole thing up, with surprisingly persuasive results. The subversion of something so fake, sexist and kind of tiresome just makes the whole thing all the sweeter. Now back in 2006, for instance, Jose Gonzalez decided to cover The Knive's "Heartbeats" (2003) which is still a great record (both versions) but it led to a glut of 2nd rate bands taking rock/indie standards and applying the same formula. It was an obnoxious time and an easy way to look like you had talent and depth when there was none. It wasn't entirely new, but it hit an entirely new peak then. Previously we'd only had to endure the occasional outrage like christian soft rock/ballard outfit Sixpence None the Richer's cover of The La's "There She Goes" (IT'S A SONG ABOUT HEROIN ADDICTION YOU TWATS, AND YOU'RE SINGING IT LIKE IT'S LADY IN RED OR SOMETHING. FUCK OFF.)
Ahem. Listen to this. It's nice.
It's nice, but it lacks warmth. It's a little too exacting and clinical for its own good. So we move on to the end-game. This first one I love because the intimacy this cover needs has finally arrived. The sexy, sultry, whispers - notes held a second longer by one while the other singer keeps the lyrics moving in time. Seductive. Sexy, even. If you need some music to get down to (you know what I'm saying) you've arrived at the right place.
Finally, there's this. I love both live covers as much as each other for different reasons. This version sees the duo vamping things up - starting even slower and gentler as the first live version, but things gradually gathering momentum before hitting some real electrifying highs. It's like William Bell's two versions of I Forgot to Be Your Lover - there's a time and a place for both.
I hope you enjoyed listening, maybe add Brigitte to your playlist if they're new to you, and I hope that I didn't bore you too much along the way; but those live covers are something special and they deserve to be heard. And they're even better when you consider where they came from.
Supreme NTM video and music property of Sony/Brigitte video and music property of 3eme Bureau - Wagram