Sometimes cover songs don’t work out the way we hope they will. In having the cojones to cover some one else’s song, you better bring it. Sure, you have those artists that will cover a song note for note, and that in itself is one big WHY? (Although not music related, lest we forget Gus Van Sant‘s reel for reel copy of Hitchcock’s Psycho with Vince Vaughn in the role of Norman Bates. Uuuuummm, I don’t think so.)
… every word was spewed with spunk and conviction.
For today’s Got You Cover’d feature, we take a good long look at Canadian artist, The Weeknd and his eh version of Michael Jackson‘s “Dirty Diana“. If you’ve heard The Weeknd then you could kind of see why he would go for that song. His voice has a hint of Michael in it. In all honesty, I didn’t want to like this song. “Dirty Diana” in its original form was perfect. Michael was at his most rock n’ roll with that song, and every word was spewed with spunk and conviction. The song’s lyrics kind of demanded that that sort of emotion be evoked when being performed (I’ll Be Your Night Lovin’ Thing/I’ll Be The Freak You Can Taunt/And I Don’t Care What You Say/I Want To Go Too Far/I’ll Be Your Everything/If You Make Me A Star). Now I don’t know about you guys, but I believe that song. I believe that there probably were one or several women who promised everything and the world to Michael Jackson, if only he would return the favor. Michael’s delivery of the song was a perfect showcasing of a frustrated artist (can you imagine how many different people wanted something out of Mike?)
… if what I heard was truly the finished product, then it was one big fail.
As I’ve already stated, I liked The Weeknd’s version of the song. Aside from almost carbon copying the vocals, the vocal inflections he did add to the song fell short for me. No one is saying that he needed something more than just sounding somewhat like Michael for his version to work; but, if what I heard was truly the finished product, then it was one big fail. The Weeknd’s vocal delivery sounds as though he went through the trial and error process until he discovered what he could work. Did he want to be a Michael Jackson impersonator? Did he want to bring his own flavor to it? Was he trying to mesh Michael with a little bit of D’Angelo? Just what was he thinking?
Shall we chalk it up to artistic expression?
Okay that was the negative. Here’s the positive: After checking out his “Dirty Diana” track, I thought to myself “Okay self, let me see how The Weeknd fares when it comes to his original work. ” I checked out one of his originals titled “Wicked Games” (No, not that 90’s Chris Issak panty dropper track …) and you what know what? The guy really does have a really good voice. It’s sultry, it’s smooth, and it’s sexy. As for the song itself, it was alright. He was filling in lyrics with “fuckin’” and “mah fuckin” … blah, blah, (insert variations of the word “FUCK” here …) Shall we chalk it up to artistic expression? MTV’s John Norris called him the “songbird of his generation” and the “best musical talent since Michael Jackson“. I didn’t even know MTV still played music. Last I checked, that wasn’t the case so John Norris is no real authority, is he?
Look, this is a Got You Cover’d feature which means we are only allowed to praise or decimate a cover song. In regards to The Weeknd’s version of “Dirty Diana“, that’s one big NO from moi. If you’re ever sitting at home and you suddenly have a hankering for that song, then by all means, listen to it. Yeah, that’s right, I said listen to it. Dust off your Michael Jackson Bad CD and go straight to track number 9. Press play. “Dirty Diana” right there for you. Pump it up, sing along, go crazy and have your fill, but that’s pretty much it. The Weeknd has that Michael Jackson thing going for him, but alas, Michael Jackson he will never be.
How about this: If I’m wrong, tell me I’m wrong. Check out the video to The Weeknd’s “Dirty Diana” and then check out Michael’s directly below that one. There’s a comments section below the article, let me hear you … I’m waiting…
In honor of kilScene’s first birthday, here’s the link to our very first Got You Cover’d feature: