It's usually pretty tough for me to defend Conor Oberst, especially because I've thought he was a raving lunatic since the opening minute of I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. Seriously, just listen to the opening story of this video; it's about a minute and a half:
That being said, credit where it's due, because he's a really good songwriter. In addition, I very recently heard a (completely unnecessary) cover of the Bright Eyes' song "Four Winds" by The Killers. You be the judge.
Bright Eyes (also, I really enjoy this music video, and I wanna marry his drummer):
The Killers (no real video):
To be honest, I do like the Killers (or, at least I did; Hot Fuss is really good, but then they decided to change their sound a bit, and I haven't really liked them since). I think my major problems with the cover (while trying my hardest not to come off snobby) are these:
1) Absolutely unnecessary. Was anyone really calling for a cover of "Four Winds," a song that's still pretty recent (April 2007)? I can see the reason why they covered "Shadowplay" by Joy Division, because it's from the 1970s (and because they got paid to do it for a movie soundtrack), but a Bright Eyes song, from their latest album?
2) The best way that I've heard this described is this, from Stereogum:
"...the Killers make Bright Eyes sound like the Killers. For fans of the Killers. Not of Bright Eyes."
Absolutely perfect. It might just be me not liking the new Killers, but this kind of sounds like they took the Bright Eyes song and removed any kind of feeling or emotion from it in making it their own. Honestly, it sounds like Brandon Flowers doesn't give a shit as he's singing this. As an extension of that, "Four Winds" was not a song that you should want to dance to, but the Killers did their damnedest to try and wring a dance track out of it like they did with "Shadowplay."
I really just think the Killers should stop trying to cover other people's stuff, especially when they try to add "oohs" and "aahs" to a song that references suicide. Ian Curtis rolls over in his grave.
Then again, that's just me.
Underneath are the original Joy Division track and the Killers' version, which honestly isn't that bad, but still isn't as good as the original. Inevitably to follow soon: a list of some of my (maybe Kristina's) favorite covers.