It’s Covered: Seven Nation Army
Sure, it won 2004’s Grammy for Best Rock Song, and has been named a top 100 guitar rock track by everyone from Rolling Stone (21 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time) and Q (8 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks) to NME (5 in its list of the 50 Greatest Tracks Of The Decade) and VH1 ( 75th best hard rock song of all time). But we can all agree, i’m sure, no honor is the equivalent of being chosen for LET’s “It’s Covered.” Today, Jack and Meg White, that accolade belongs to your “Seven Nation Army.”
The mark of a good cover is reinterpretation while still maintaining the “core soul” of a track. Merely replaying a song is a waste of the listener’s time. If you bring nothing new to the table, why wouldn’t i just listen to the original.
Well, there’s obviously something in “SNA,” as today’s covers are all over the board stylistically, ranging from bedroom acoustic to hardcore funk, electro to ska, coming in from multiple nations, don’tcha know.
First up, a ska interpretation by The Dynamics. If the reggae flavor entices you to spark up a spliff, well, i won’t hold it against you. Of note, the only cover version i know of that chose not to spell out “seven.” i have no idea what that portends. Perhaps more interesting still, though perhaps less, it is one of two French covers here today. For a nation not particularly known for its military prowess, it’s an interesting track to receive so much local love. Thanks, Ben, L’Oncle Soul, for helping out here. We Uncles need to look out for one another.
(i’m sure you can find it somewhere in the US, but i could only find French links. If it’s not one thing, it’s another, right?)
And now, for something completely different, two bedroom-y takes from a couple of young ladies. Notice how each emphasize the recognizable bass line (actually, a semi-acoustic guitar filtered through a whammy pedal, but who’s keeping score?) line. Dubliner Vyvienne Long opts for a cello to pick it up, while Nataly Dawn uses what an acoustic guitar, adding percussion by way of hand claps and the body of the aforementioned axe. Hell, see for yourself here. Both women take different approaches and offer slightly different sounds, but damnation, the results are fine either way you slice it. Oh, please note that Vyv’s take was done for National Children’s Hospital in Ireland. Feel free to donate here.
In case you needed to get your freak on, the Flaming Lips have your back. Their “Harry Potter and George Bush’s Severed Head Army Mix” is about what you’d expect from every one’s favorite lovable weirdo band. Wayne Coyne does not disappoint, adding sirens and megaphones where no one had thought to before. Gotta love the Lips.
And then there’s Vivek Shraya’s take, produced by Meghan Toohey of the So and So’s fame, created to help drive interest to his then newly released If We’re Not Talking. VS goes straight electro here, but he still manages to keep the balls of the tune intact, which is nice. You know, in case the song wants to have kids or something. What about Tomer G’s even techno-ier version, you ask? Who is Tomer G, for that matter? Near as i can tell from the Interwebs, he brings us the only Israeli version we’ve got.
But where’s the local DC Metro Area angle, Uncle Terrible? Goddamn, but you are some picky bastards. How about this twangy guitar version by Her Next Friend, a Virginia trio? Oh, and in case you were wondering, in British law “next friend” is the phrase used for a person who represents in an action another person who is under disability or unable to maintain a suit on their own behalf. It’s that kind of fucked-uppedness that endears a band to my heart before i listen to the first note. Well done, kids.
Still not countrified enough for you? Well, lucky for you, i found this rollicking take by none other than Berlin’s The BossHoss. Is that some accordion goodness in there? Yes. Yes, it is. Still not country enough for? BAM, motherfucker, here’s some Oak Ridge Boys to soothe your cheatin’ heart. The things i do for you people…
Last up is probably my favorite version, arguably better than the original. Nostalgia 77 knocks this bastard out of the park. Alice Russell simply owns this thing, giving a soulful, funked out take vocally. Shit’s so good it’ll make you slap yo’ mama. You’ve been forewarned, so don’t blame me if you opt to listen to this with your Ma in slapping distance.
Oh, and i suppose we probably should throw the original in there, too, just for posterity’s sake.