The Craft of the Cover

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There is nothing new under the sun. This could be considered to be the unofficial credo of the Postmodern movement, and it wouldn’t be an inaccurate statement to make. There are few universal themes; the pursuit of love, the satisfaction found in hard work, the youthful struggle against the status quo, the hatred of oppression and control being among those most often quoted, and there are only so many ways to package and repackage these messages in a fashion readymade for public consumption. Pop culture is like a melting pot for these ideas. It is a cultural stew brimming with themes and Grand Narratives. And yet the Postmodernists scorn the idea that there can be new themes discovered, and new modes of presenting those themes in a perfect, complete way. This struggle to discover new ways of revealing truth to the public has caused artists throughout history to turn to cover songs. And this use of covers has become emblematic of the Postmodern philosophy, whether due to the stagnation of the creativity of young artists, or the nostalgia with which Postmodernists view the past. A cover song is a song that is played by an artist other than the original creator. If I were to start a band and play “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple, I would be covering their song. Performances of old hymnals and American spiritual folk tunes like “House of the Rising Sun” and “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” are all covers, simply played by artists as a means of connecting with their audience through mutually well known songs. In the 1950s and 60s, however, the purpose of covers began to change. Record companies began having artists rerecord songs, “for the purposes of disseminating it among a broader or different section of the record-buying pub... ... middle of paper ... ...he sun. Works Cited Dimaggio, Paul. "Cultural Capital." Encyclopedia of Social Theory 1 (2005). Print. Harvey, David. "The Condition of Postmodernity." The New Social Theory Reader (2001). Print. Dave Laing. "Folk Music Revival." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. 5 Dec. 2010 . Natoli, Joseph P., and Linda Hutcheon. A Postmodern Reader. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993. Storey, John. Cultural Studies and the Study of Popular Culture. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2010. Print. Weisbard, Eric. "POP MUSIC; A Simple Song That Lives Beyond Time." New York Times 13 Nov. 1994. Print. Robert Witmer and Anthony Marks. "Cover." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. 5 Dec. 2010 .

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