Friday, March 14, 2008

Covers of the Week – Tally Hall "Smile Like You Mean It"; The Stooges, "Burning Up/Ray of Light"

This post is a bit of a shout out to a few hometown boys who are about to hit the big time.

And one who should be allowed to take another leap forward in his amazing career.

Plus, in the case of Tally Hall, it's an excuse to jump on the bandwagon before everyone else does.

Formed by five University of Michigan students in 2002, the band has built a small but devoted following in Ann Arbor and elsewhere – thanks in part to their songs being featured in MTV's "Real World" and Fox's "The O.C."

This week's cover song, as a matter of fact, comes from the album Music from the OC: Mix 6 - Covering Our Tracks (2007). Basically, a bunch of bands were asked to cover songs that were an integral part of the once-popular show.

And make no mistake. This is not just a simple redo of The Killers' "Smile Like You Mean It." It turns the song on its ear a bit, with a capella harmonies and an arrangement reminiscent of early Beach Boys. That's not to say that I like this version better than the original, but certainly they are suitable companion pieces.

Play "Smile Like You Mean It" by Tally Hall

Though many people have been quick to lump them in with the Barenaked Ladies, I believe that their approach to music and writing songs sets them apart. Andrew Horowitz (keyboards) is a former Hopwood Award winner, a prestigious literary prize given to the University of Michigan's best creative writers. You can see that creativity in the lyrical wordplay of the band's songs, including "Haiku" and "The Whole World and You" from their first full-fledged album Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum(2005), which is due to be released again in enhanced form on April 1. In conjunction with the CD, the group is criss-crossing the country on tour.

In the meantime, here's their new video for "Good Day" – a song they played on the "Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson" last summer.

Speaking of Michigan and rockers with ties to my adoptive state, wasn't it great what transpired at the recent Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies? Going into the event, many felt the least-worthy honoree was Madonna. But the Material Girl outdid them all when she requested that fellow Michigander Iggy Pop (an Ann Arbor native) and the Stooges perform two of her hits: "Burning Up" and "Ray of Light," with Iggy throwing in a few references to "Like A Virgin" at the end.

It's a crime that Iggy and the Stooges haven't been honored by the hall yet, but Madonna certainly made a case for them with her gesture.

Here's the video:

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