Cover of the month #28 Sonic Youth cover The Carpenters
Superstar and Yesterday Once More are songs I discovered when a split single by Sonic Youth and Redd Kross was released back in 1994, taken from The Carpenters tribute album If I Were A Carpenter.
Superstar is yet another cover of the month where I found that the original version of the song wasn't recorded by who I thought it was. The original version was released as Groupie (Superstar) by Delaney and Bonnie and I had never heard their version until I started researching and writing this blog.
The original title gives a lot away. This is a love song from a groupie to a superstar and it is pretty heartbreaking. She has been used, told that it was love, promised he would be back and reality and loneliness are kicking in. It is a beautifully written and performed song with gorgeous vocals. The chorus soars with great harmonies and horns kicking in.
The Carpenters version slows things right down to really emphasise the heartbreak in the song - especially the lines
The Carpenters version still has a soaring chorus, but you feel the heartbreak so much more, especially on the kiss off line; I love you, I really do. The strings that follow also bring a real sombre mood leading into Karen singing loneliness is such a sad affair.
It's beautiful, it is stunning and it is heartbreaking. There seems to be an extra oomph behind the second chorus and it is immediately repeated
On to Sonic Youth with Thurston Moore really sounding heartbroken. There is an effect on his voice that makes it sound a little psychedelic and the feedback used in the instrumental between the first chorus and the second verse definitely stamps Sonic Youth's mark on the song.
They (rightly) don't rip the song up and try to do anything outrageous, which, being Sonic Youth in 1994, is probably something you would have expected. They respect the song and it is interesting to hear it sung by a male - more of a fan boy than a groupie?