Question of the Day: Better than the original?

8 08 2006

What is your favorite cover song?
Question submitted by Ray.

This is a tough question for someone who listens to every episode of Coverville, the excellent podcast devoted to the topic. There are just so many good covers to consider….

But I’m going to go with something fairly obscure—Jasper Steverlinck‘s cover of Jann Arden‘s “Insensitive.” You probably remember “Insensitive.” It was all over the radio 10 years ago:

Oh, I really should have known
By the time you drove me home
By the vagueness in your eyes
Your casual good-byes
By the chill in your embrace
The expression on your face
That told me
Maybe you might have some advice to give
On how to be
Insensitive

As it happened, I was going through an awful, awful break-up—the worst I’d seen—about that time. I related to Arden’s lyrics. I really should’ve known “by the vagueness in [his] eyes” and his “casual goodbyes” that he wasn’t the one for me. But, you know, “how do you cool your lips, after a summer’s kiss”? I was fully, absolutely in love, and there didn’t seem to be anything I could do about that.

Mine was just another story of unrequited love, I suppose, but it was all I could think about in 1996. Somehow or other, “Insensitive” helped me get through it all. Actually, I think it might have been the touch of anger in the lyrics that helped the most back then: I thought that you might have some advice to give on how to be insensitive.

Anyway, a couple of years ago, after the end of six-and-a-half years with my partner, after having a rough transition into dating again, I felt like I was in a similar place. I wanted to hear something familiar yet a little different—a cover of “Insensitive.” The one I found (yes, I know there’s a more famous one by LeAnn Rimes) was by Belgian (er, could he be Dutch?) singer Jasper Steverlinck. I commend it to your attention. As with any good cover, Steverlinck made the song his own. His version strikes me as a little bit more sorrowful, a little less angry than Arden’s. One way or another, though, he made the song new for me. And Steverlinck’s “Insensitive” helped me cope during another rough patch.

Steverlinck’s version of “Insensitive” is available at iTunes, by the way. You should absolutely check it out.

P.S. A few months ago, I asked Brian Ibbott, the proprietor of Coverville, to play Steverlinck’s version of “Insensitive” on the podcast. He hasn’t done so yet, but I haven’t given up. Maybe another request or two will help.

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4 responses

8 08 2006
Brian

Ha! No need! You’ll hear it on this weekend’s all-request show!

After reading your reasons for liking the song, for me not to play it would be…well, insensitive.

11 08 2006
PeaceBang

I love Rufus Wainright’s cover of “Across the Universe” better than John Lennon’s original.

12 08 2006
LilRed

Probably “Hard Luck Woman” by Garth Brooks. Which is odd, becasue I cannot stand Garth Brooks.

12 08 2006
riversaredamp

Oh, LilRed, it pains me to see you talking (blogging?) bad about Garth! I know he seemed to get all puffed up and obnoxious after awhile. (Chris Gaines?!) But he was just downright adorable when he first started recording. Take a look at his eponymous debut album (with “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and “The Dance” on it). He’s all dough-y and boyish on the cover, and he sings like somebody who’s really feeling something.  That’s the real Garth.

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