Michael La Torre, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief
It is time for our Sunday piece, Presented with Comment, where each week Michael and Nicholas La Torre take a turn engaging in a debate over alt topics of interest and gauging the audience's views on the issues at hand. To do this, the authors will present examples to support their opinions and not only get the audience's view on the two sides presented, but seek feedback from the audience on alternatives as well.
For today’s Presented with Comment Nicholas and I wanted to do a topic that is always fun to argue, cover songs. Specifically, what’s the best alt cover? This was a tough one to choose. Ultimately, I decided to score extra points and do a cover of a cover!
My choice was Chris Conrell’s hauntingly beautiful cover of “Nothing Compares 2 U”, a song originally written by the legendary Prince. To hear the original see below:
The song was fantastically covered by Sinead O’Conner in the 90’s of course. Most people know this version and forget that it’s originally a Prince song. For that version, see below:
Both songs are simply fantastic. However, it is my opinion that the song has never been played better than it was by the late Chris Cornell. Cornell performed the song live and in studio for SiriusXM Lithium satellite radio and tore the house down. Cornell’s version can be found below:
No offense to Sinead or Prince, but neither have the pipes that Cornell did. It’s not only that though, Cornell slightly tweaks the vocal cadence and the music as well. It’s a far cry from the original in a great way. The suffering and the loss that is reflected in the lyrics is better reflected in the vocals and music of Cornell’s version. Additionally, the choice of using two guitars and a cello highlight the lyrics of the song, which really are the main event anyway.
Cornell treats the song with care and doesn’t go crazy with the vocals And a aspects of the song get treated well throughout. It’s funny to think that what would become an important cover version of a song was captured in a satellite radio station with so few who actually got to experience it. Luckily it was captured in fantastic quality and will live on forever and take its rightful place among the other versions of this track.