Saturday, April 20, 2024

Skankstral Ska Hotel, And 5 More Cover Songs That Shouldn’t Exist

If you’re a Neutral Milk Hotel fan, you’re familiar with Jeff Mangum’s dreamily, occasionally pleasantly almost-monotone voice and simple acoustic guitar riffs. You’ve swayed to “Two Headed Boy” and probably have some kind of late nineties coming-of-age memories with “King of Carrot Flowers” as the soundtrack.

Ready to have all of that shat — I mean, ska’d — on? Enter Skankstral Ska Hotel, with their album “In the Aeroskank Over The Checkered Pattern,” the ska cover band we didn’t know we never needed. It’s like a muppet got its paws on a drum machine. It’s bad. It commits, but it’s bad.

That not enough for your sadistic musical choices today? Then may the gods forgive us: here are five more horrible covers of otherwise great songs.

Limp Bizkit owes Wham an apology. Instead of George Michael’s taut denim booty, we get Fred Durst and the Goatee Gang swinging their gaudy chains toward a camera that’s on the ground. And a lot of screaming. And scratching.

You know Don McLean’s wistful ode to Americana. You know Madonna. But do you know her cover, featuring a techno beat and a lot of writhing around in a cami and low-rise jeans? There are goths, ballet dancers, kaleidoscope effects, and a Moody Man. Watch the video at your peril.

Billy Idol covered “Heroin” by The Velvet Underground and it’s weird as you’d think. This song just shouldn’t be covered by anyone, ever. True, Billy Idol struggled with heroin himself, so he almost gets a pass. Almost.

Okay, this is a tough one, because Lacey Sturm’s disclaimer at the beginning of this video is endearing. She doesn’t want to just be an entertainer. She wants to offend and inspire, just like Kurt Cobain! But sometimes when you shoot for the moon you land in a key you can’t quite reach. Or something. Curiously, Flyleaf’s cover of “Smells Like Team Spirit” might actually capture some essence of being a teenager, because it’s awkward as awkward as pinning a corsage on a satin dress.

Vanilla Ice’s cover of “Play That Funky Music” comes SO close to working. For Vanilla Ice, at least. If you listen and don’t watch the video, you’ll get less nauseated. Well, it’s okay until he gets to 2:40 and chants “Go white boy, go white boy, go!” And with that, we’re out.


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