The last section of my 2007 listening diary (the mix of tracks from my top 20 releases of the year is yet to follow) consists (almost) entirely of cover songs I listened to a lot this year. (There's a sort of cover embedded in the Michael Ian Black comedy bit - the reason it's in this section...) This one's called "Snake Fist (Shequan)":
121. Michael Ian Black "Satanic Messages"
122. Thurston Moore & Mike Watt "Fourth Day of July" (Tom Rapp)
123. Yeah Yeah Yeahs "The Diamond Sea" (Sonic Youth)
124. Engineers "Song to the Siren" (Tim Buckley)
125. Doveman "Airbag" (Radiohead)
126. Grizzly Bear "He Hit Me" (The Crystals - written by Phil Spector)
127. Joe Jackson "King of the World" (Steely Dan)
128. Manishevitz "King's Lead Hat" (Brian Eno)
129. Matthew's Celebrity Pixies Covers "Wave of Mutilation (Bee Gees Version)" (Pixies)
130. Ted Leo "Dancing in the Dark" (Bruce Springsteen)
131. The Fall "Hungry Freaks Daddy" (Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention)
132. The Vile Bodies "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" (David Bowie)
133. The Futureheads "Hounds of Love (acoustic)" (Kate Bush)
134. Of Montreal "Trouble" live on-air (Lindsey Buckingham)
135. Sara Quin ft. Kaki King "Sweetness Follows" (R.E.M.)
136. Robyn Hitchcock & John Paul Jones "Not Dark Yet" (Bob Dylan)
137. Final Fantasy "Paris 1919" (John Cale)
138. Division Day "Enjoy the Silence" (Depeche Mode)
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' cover of the Sonic Youth track reveals something that might not have been obvious in the way Sonic Youth usually arranges its own songs: Thurston Moore's a fine songwriter in the traditional sense, able to write music that works just fine with voice and acoustic guitar. (Lee Ranaldo's pretty good too - one reason Sonic Youth has outlasted many of its peers similarly interested in noise exploration.) Grizzly Bear's cover of "He Hit Me" is simultaneously creepy and compelling: it set me off to try and find the original version, which as it turns out is difficult to find (apparently a lot of folks would rather it be forgotten). The most obvious change is, of course, the gender of the narrator - but when I first heard this version I assumed that the somewhat odd harmonic basis of the song, and perhaps the curious, bolero-like rhythm Grizzly Bear uses, were their own adaptations...but once I heard the original, I realized that no, all that's there in the original. I'm not sure why it hadn't occurred to me that Joe Jackson would be a Steely Dan fan...but hearing this cover, it's obvious and quite evident in his own music. Ted Leo's version is nice in stripping away all the '80s-synth glop that half-ruins Born in the USA for me. The Fall's third or fourth recorded cover of a Zappa song (too lazy to go through all 750,000 other Fall songs to list them) appears on the DVD supplement to their latest, rather uneven recording. The new band seems entirely too deferential and too professional - a spark is missing. Fortunately, Smith had another version of The Fall this year (by the Granny's Bongos Bylaw - to be explained in the top 20 post to come).
(Update) There is no zinc in the comments. Earlier sections of this year's listening diary appear below this entry (too lazy to do a link).