Why Can’t I Be You: A Review of CureFight

It has taken me forever and a day, but at last, here are my reviews of Songfight’s Curefight

Caravan RayPrimary (original)

Songfight’s greatest import from Down Under decided to take a very punky song from the early Cure days (it’s a song from Faith back in 1981). He decided that the song needed to slow down. It’s a funny thing because it’s almost as if the Wish era Cure had just written the song. But then again, this is Caravan Ray and his style is always evident in anything he does. The triple tracked harmonies are there in abundance and turns the song into almost a drinking song/sing along. It’s a creative take.

Jack ShiteJust Like Heaven (original)

The drums take a greater focus on this cover of one of the Cure’s best known songs. The vocals are a far cry from Robert Smith’s. It almost comes off like one of the Boss Hoss’ covers. Everything else is pretty much straightforward, except it’s a step slower. After hearing Dinosaur Jr and AFI rock this song out and Katie Melau do a sultry acoustic version, this version seems uninspired. There’s much more that can be done with this.

TuuurThe Love Cats (original)

The bass heavy swinging Cure song gets a funky remake from Tuuur, opting to bring out the guitars more. It’s not a wild deviation from the original but it’s enough to make it stand out. What makes this really stand out is Tuuur’s performance. On the original Robert Smith seems to be having a modicum of fun, Tuuur is enjoying playing this song and it shows.

The Idiot Kings A Night Like This (original)

I always think it’s great to hear the Idiot Kings. There are hints of the original here but at the same time, this is clearly the Idiot Kings, especially because of the vocal delivery. Robert Smith is much more monotone but Chris can’t bring his voice down to that depth. That’s actually a positive in this as it gives a little added energy to the song and when it gets to the well done and very creative bridge, he’s made quite a groove. The last verse adds some background vocals and it’s the icing on the cake. Great job.

The Lord of OatsGrinding Halt (original)

An interesting song choice going with one of the Cure’s earliest songs. The Cure come off almost like a punk band in the original. Lord of Oats is better known for being able to do very experimental arrangements. This was very straightforward which may not have been the best for him. His vocals still need some work and except for the well played guitar solo and the ending, I felt like it didn’t expand much on the original. It’s an okay cover. Hard song choice to make feel special.  

Robert Smith

Johnny in the CornerIn Between Days (original)

This is an interesting choice of arrangement. I say that because I have heard The Cure do some very different things with this song over the years (like the version with Korn and the remix on Mixed Up). At first, this seemed very straightforward stuff out of Jack Shite & J$, but they added a nice little touch by doubling the vocal track. Still, it didn’t exactly break any new ground and just made me wanna listen to the original some more. Good cover but it lacks something to make it truly special.

Ross Durand Pictures of You (original)

Ross decided to strip away the Cure’s electronics and make it a folksy acoustic song but it still resonated with a lot of power. He added some reverb to the mix and simple percussion which was nice. My favorite part of this cover is the fact that he lets it build. The Cure don’t do enough of that on the original as it just gets bigger on the chorus without that tension. The thing I don’t get enough in Ross’ version is a connection with lyrics. I don’t get the emotion of the song. Musically well done cover, but I don’t know if the feeling is there.

Chris CogottBoys Don’t Cry (original)

This is as straightforward as you can get. This could have been a karaoke performance, up until the small switch-up at the end. It’s a fine cover for what it was. Well played, well sung, and pretty basic. There is so much more that can be done with this song. Have you heard Scarlett Johansson’s version?

Josh MillardStrange Attraction (original)

A song from Wild Mood Swings-era Cure. It’s a double edged sword- you get a lot of energy, you lose a lot of atmosphere. Millard totally makes this song his own. The percussion on this leaves something to be desired and there are some odd background vox choices but this is pretty solid. If I heard this outside of the Curefight frame, I wouldn’t have known it was a Cure song. He stripped away the Cure’s groove which was much slower and he made it into something I could see Ben Folds doing. Very well done.

Dollar Bill & The InkpointsLet’s Go to Bed (original)

Johnny Cashpoint & Heuristics Inc are a pair who are never afraid to experiment and this is definitely that. They took the music and created this industrial soundscape out of it. The problem is that the vocals now no longer fit the way that they use to. The do-do-do chorus comes out great and robotic but the vocals come out disjointed.

Naked Philosophy End (original)

I took a huge step backwards when I heard this cover and said “Wait a second, this is the closer from Wish??”. NP stripped it done but kept it very electronic. It’s almost what would happen if Devo was the Cure. The problem here is that by stripping away all the ambiance off the song, it doesn’t stand up for a long amount of time. By the three minute mark, it begins to wear thin. I like how the lyrics get a little more prominence in this mix but by the time the song hits five minutes, it’s way too long and it still goes on for another minute and a half.

AlbatrossA Forest (original)

 This started off with a great idea, taking one of the Cure’s more upbeat songs and making it slower and darker and for the first two minutes, I was excited to hear where it goes. Then the song kicked in full force and it became a pretty normal cover of the song except with almost Owl City-esque vocals. At least, it didn’t stay straightforward though as it went into this crazy guitar solo ending. Still, it didn’t venture too far off the path. Albatross made little footprints in the song but it just made me wanna hear the original.

My favorite out of the bunch was Josh Millard, followed by Idiot Kings and Tuuur. Too many straightforward covers and not enough attachment to the songs across the board. For me, I listen to the Cure and I am always in awe by the emotion put forth in the songs. I didn’t get that here. Perhaps, it was because they are the Cure and this was more emulation and tribute then it was finding the bands finding what the songs mean to them and conveying that.

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