This week, I decided to go for another often covered song from Duran’s catalog – The Chauffeur. If you haven’t checked out Warpaint’s cover from the Manimal-curated soon-to-be-released album titled Making Patterns Rhyme yet, go here!
The Chauffeur is obviously a fan favorite, and as such, I think it’s tough for fans to find a cover of this that they really can approve of. Again, I still think it has everything to do with some misaligned band loyalty than it does the songs themselves, so I’m going to keep working at this until we find songs that people like! Expose your ears to something new – it’s good for you, it’s good for your brain, and it’s good for your spirit! (Really, there was a recent study done that concluded hearing new music is really good for your brain – it helps your brain stay young. We all need that!!)
Just as I did last week, I went to YouTube to find some covers. Some are well-recognized, others are more obscure. Take a listen and see what you think. My short review is under each link!
The Chauffeur – Sneaker Pimps
This cover remains very faithful to the original, which leaves me wondering what else they could have done with it to make it their own. There’s a lot of echo and reverb in parts of this, which makes the song feel dreamy and existential. Overall it’s a good, solid effort to pay homage to the original.
The Chauffeur – Deftones
This one draws me in immediately because I like the hard edge of the guitar. The vocals are incredibly similar to Simon’s, and they have the same type of effect on them that the original has. I do like the way they have turned up the guitar here, although I think it might have the tendency to drown out the vocals.
The Chauffeur – Velvet
I found this cover on YouTube and it was one I hadn’t heard before. This one uses a slightly quicker tempo and synth loops that are a little more like bells than the original. It’s pretty faithful to the original in spirit, even though it does not use the same musical arrangement and feels a little “thin” until 2/3 of the way through the song when the drums pick up.
The Chauffeur – Cashmir
This is a Finnish band and the cover is ever-so-slightly different in parts. The vocals are drawn out (and changed) in parts, and the music really worried me at first because I couldn’t tell where they were really headed musically, and that goes on throughout the song in between verses. It goes from being very faithful (albeit they use a much fuller musical arrangement that sort of topples over into “soft rock”) to being something, well…we’ll just say very different. The things they change are very creative, even though I really don’t think they work for the song. The music changes the spirit of the song, and if nothing else, it’s very interesting to hear how changing the arrangement as well as a few lines of vocals and how they are sung really makes the song reflect differently on the listener.
The Chauffeur – Marco Morgan Castoldi
I’d be into this more if I didn’t hear his mistakes…but this is live, and I’ll give the guy credit for playing it at all. Other than that, the cover is very faithful to the original, although it’s done on piano and I especially like what he did with the mid-section.
The Chauffeur – Forgotten Toys
I was underwhelmed with this local Chicago band’s version until they got to the mid-section where they dared to turn up the guitar and let her go. The tempo is upbeat (I think it should not have been because it loses effect that way), but the guitar adds a really nice texture to the smoothness of the vocals. For the guitar solo, they dared to go on step further and blend a bit from Kashmir by Led Zeppelin into the song. Surprisingly, it’s kind of cool and works with this harder-edged cover.
The Chauffeur – A Toys Orchestra
I can’t say I love this one. It takes forever to get going and once it does – you’d think you were in the races to the finish. They speed this up way fast, and it loses the original effect with nothing done to try and change the song. Then they put this electronica section in after the first chorus. I applaud their effort, but it’s not a favorite.
The Chauffeur – Iraina Mancini
I am happy to include one version by a female. I have to say though, that for me – while this cover is beautiful and it’s clear she is a well-trained vocalist, I think it loses something (for me) when sung by a female. It’s otherwise very similar to the original with nothing really changed, but somehow just having a woman sing turns the whole song completely on it’s head and makes it something completely different.
There’s eight versions for you. Truthfully, none of them really push the envelope and stray too far from the original…but that’s OK. Check them out, see what you think – comment back with your favorite, or if you’ve got others for me to post I’m happy to do that too!