Covers Of Erasure Tracks
Lay All Your Love On Me, Rapture, Supernature, Heart of Glass, Magic Moments, the entire Other People's Songs album, much of Snow Globe to name just a few. Erasure have recorded many fine cover versions throughout their career, none more popular than the number one EP ABBA-esque that sold over 400,000 copies in the UK back in 1992. But what of those Erasure songs that have themselves been covered? Other artists have recorded cover versions of Andy and Vince classics with a varying degree of success and here you will find details of such Erasure covers. This page does not reflect cover versions by tribute bands or fans, but rather the one-off covers by music contract-wielding professionals.
After seeing The Flying Pickets get to number one with a cover of Only You a year after the Yazoo original only reached number 2, Vince must have felt more than a small sense of déjà-vu when in 1987 Dollar obtained a top ten hit with their version of Oh L’amour. This classic track only managed a pitiful chart highest of #85 under Erasure, yet less than two years after its release, the Dollar cover version reached number 7 in the UK Singles Chart. The band had a few previous hits between 79-82, but it was only after they reformed in 1986 that they obtained their final top 10 chart position with O l’amour (the ‘h’ inexplicably was removed from the song’s title). Dollar’s version musically was not a radical departure from Vince’s arrangement, but the poor vocals from Thereze Bazaar and David Van Day result in painful listening. The band split again in 1988, only to reform at the turn of the century to play reunion gigs and feature on some z-list reality TV shows.
Björn Again (1992)
Just months after the success of ABBA-esque, where Erasure modernised some classic ABBA songs in their typically up-beat manner, ABBA tribute band Björn Again decided to reverse the effect and make two Erasure tracks sound like they were written in the 70s by the Swedish quartet. Under the title of Erasure-ish, A Little Respect and Stop! were stripped back to basics and given quite an authentic ABBA re-working, although by doing so the tracks have had all life and soul removed from them. The sleeve (pictured) was a blatant rip-off as Björn Again tried to cash in on Erasure’s recent chart success. Sung awfully (with Swedish accents, despite the band being from Australia) it was amazing that this single reached the dizzy heights of #26 back in October 1992. This was only one of two releases that charted for the Aussies, with the band now focusing on performing around the globe as simple ABBA impersonators.
Two EPs of Erasure covers connected to Sweden released in the same year? You better believe it. 1992 also saw Swedish quartet Webstrarna cover four Erasure classics, namely Oh L’amour, Hallowed Ground, Stop! and Blue Savannah and release them on an EP entitled Erasure-esque. Finding full versions of these songs online to review has proved difficult, but their version of Stop! is on YouTube, so I can at least share my views on that track. Well to be perfectly blunt, it’s dreadful. Musically it’s so devoid of imagination it feels it was concocted in about 30 seconds, with the track repetitively plodding along with no purpose. Petter Eklund’s vocals are nothing to get excited about either, with his rolling of the tongue whilst singing “to the right line” not helping in the slightest. Horrible throughout, and the clips I’ve heard of the other three covers seems to follow a similar pattern (Blue Savannah in particular is a shocker). Definitely an EP to avoid.
In 1996, American unknowns Deitiphobia decided to cover the Christmas classic She Won’t Be Home, which was originally on Erasure’s massively successful Crackers International EP back in 1988. Initially released on a various artists Christmas In Heaven festive album, the cover version was resurrected four years later to be included on Deitiphobia’s Viviphobia – medium.rare compilation CD in 2000. They really should have left this track well alone as the Texan based band disgracefully transformed this charming song into a form of aural torture, which is devoid of emotion or discerning musical quality. Although primarily a synth band, Deitiphobia chose to make this track sound like a pseudo-punk ear bleeder, with rock guitar screeching, cymbal smashing and heavy bass. This sounds undoubtedly dire, but singer Sheri Shaw really should hang her head in shame at her gravelly vocal rendition, which is cringe worthy throughout. Let’s hope Deitiphobia steer well clear of Erasure tracks in the future.
Singer Sheri Shaw’s response to this review
Hang my head in shame? A bit harsh dont you think??
We had a very short deadline and couldnt spend the time on it that it deserved. I chose this song because it is one of my all time fav Erausure songs. Im sorry you think I butchered it. I thought it was a nice tip of the hat….
have a good one
Silence 4 (1997)
1997 saw relatively unknown Portuguese band Silence 4 cover A Little Respect in an attempt to boost their own reputation. The acoustic cover version was included on their Silence Becomes It album and was later released as a single in its own right, where it reached the top 10 in Portugal. Their rendition is unspectacular throughout and does not adapt the original much. One noticeable difference is in the lyrics, where the bridge is sung as “that you give me no, that you give no, will you give me no, no you give me no” before venturing into the chorus. Silence 4 vocalists David Fonseca and Sofia Lisboa just do enough to make the song bearable, although said lyrical amends are undoubtedly irritating. This cover was not released in the UK, but had it been there is no way it would have bettered the original’s 1988 UK chart position of #4.
Attaque 77 (1998)
There’s something a bit strange about hearing an Erasure song in another language. Of course the band themselves have done just that with Always and Love To Hate You, which were also recorded in Spanish, but these recordings sound like someone is singing a different song along to a familiar melody. This best describes the Attaque 77 cover of A Little Respect (or Un Poco de Respeto if you will). The Argentinians beat Wheatus to it with their rock cover version of this song, releasing it as part of their Otras Canciones (Other Songs) album in 1998 and the electric guitar arrangement is anything but subtle. It’s hard to judge Luciano Scaglione’s non-English vocals, but his voice isn’t especially pleasing on the ear, nor are the backing vocals which are especially present in the chorus. Ultimately this genre of music doesn’t really interest me, so it’ll come as no surprise that I find this cover particularly uninspiring.
Lemon Fly + Fangoria (1998)
Ah, just like buses; you wait ages for one non-English Erasure cover version, then two come along at once. 1998 also saw another Spanish language reworking of an Erasure classic with Lemon Fly + Fangoria releasing Corre Hacia El Sol (or Run To The Sun as you might know it by) taken from their album Vital. These two bands collaborated to produce a fairly chirpy cover version, which bounces along fairly nicely and which is unique enough to make it barely sound anything like the Erasure original. In fact, if I wasn’t paying attention I don’t think I’d have noticed the melody is the same as the I Say I Say I Say track. Vocally subdued, musically the Europop arrangement hasn’t aged all that brilliantly but still, it’s pleasant in an odd way. That said, it’s unlikely to make much of an impression on fans of the original.
Spellbound featuring Deejé (2000)
2000 saw Spellbound featuring Deejé release a five-track EP titled Oh L’amour (see right) which unsurprisingly featured a cover of Erasure’s song by the same name. The EP includes covers of No More “I Love You’s” (famed by Annie Lennox), This House by Alison Moyet and You’re The Inspiration by Chicago, as well as an original track, but it is the 14 minute Majimix of Oh L’amour which is of most interest here. This extended mix includes a four minute slow ballad intro before venturing into a typically nondescript dance song mix. The sombre intro to the cover isn’t all that bad, and does at least allow the emotive qualities of the original to shine, albeit in a tarnished manner. However as soon as the song comes to life, the excruciatingly cheap arrangement utterly destroys this sublime Erasure track, and despite claims that Deejé is a talented singer, there is no evidence of that here. The mix completely outstays its welcome and ultimately serves to just leave the listener aching to hear the original, and infinitely better, Erasure version instead.
Having enjoyed worldwide success with their debut single Teenage Dirtbag, Manhattan band Wheatus followed this up by releasing a cover of Erasure’s very own A Little Respect to the unsuspecting public. With a huge following gathered from the popularity of Teenage Dirtbag and generous play from MTV, Wheatus reached #3 in the UK charts in July 2001. The cover version, which is very popular among Wheatus fans, is an unusual choice of a cover by a band whose other tracks have titles like Humpem’ n’ Dumpem’, Love Is A Mutt From Hell, Punk Assed Bitch and Wannabe Gangster. Nevertheless the New Yorkers’ cover version is surprisingly adequate, with the band refraining from too much heavy metal guitar playing to allow the softer sentiment of the song to come through. Lyrically the song is performed tolerably by the feminine sounding Brendan B. Brown, although it goes without saying Andy’s vocals are far superior. The cover can be found on Wheatus’s debut eponymous album.
Almighty Allstars featuring Lee (2001)
UK based Record label Almighty records specialise in pop/dance music, with a huge proportion of their releases being cover versions of popular songs from yesteryear. In 2001, A Little Respect was given such a make-over by the label, having recruited singer Lee to perform the vocals on this demanding track. Released under the mantel of Almighty Allstars featuring Lee the cover failed to light up the charts, which is certainly for the best. Musically, Vince’s arrangement is more prominent than in many covers of Erasure’s music, with the backing being semi-faithful to the original, but with a strong dance feel. This is just about tolerable. But once again it is vocally where this track falls flat on its face. Lee’s voice simply isn’t good enough to tackle this song, and despite his best efforts, it’s hard to get excited by his feeble, lifeless vocal rendition. Yet again another artist has attempted a song that is beyond their ability and although this isn’t the worst Erasure cover you’ll ever hear, it is certainly nowhere near being the best.
2001 was quite a year for covering A Little Respect, as unknown dance act Chekmate decided to give the track a beat-heavy club-friendly make-over. Details of the cover’s chart or club success are scant, but the Eurodance Hits website laughably claim the vocals are so good you could hardly tell they are not performed by Andy Bell himself. What utter nonsense. Vocalist Jono admittedly gives his best, but he is not anywhere near being in Andy’s league. The dance beat musical backdrop is relatively uninspired and is hardly the ‘transformation’ of the song Eurodance claim it to be. Apparently Chekmate’s cover promises to “work well for both the NRG/Pop crowd and the more adventurous house jocks” (I’m not entirely sure what a house jock is), whereas the truth is this is a feeble re-working of the Erasure classic which rightfully disappeared without trace shortly after release.
Vocalist Jono’s response to this review
Hi Mate.. just read your review about our single ” a little respect” by Chekmate…. I must admit i quite made me smirk :-) I am Jono the vocalist on that track, whilst im the first to admit like you, im a massive Erasure fan and have been since 1986 when ” Wonderland” was first released, however, I feel I must put you right on a couple of things… firstly, I in no way shape or form tried to sound like Andy, its not something I’d do or even want to do.. As for the record company thing, our record company did have conversations with the people at Mute regarding the vocal… I can’t understand this myself as I don’t think we sound too similar for a record company to think it was an unofficial bootleg… We were approached by our record company to do the cover of “respect” and to be honest I felt quite privileged to do it.. When “wheatus” did their cover, alot of dj’s wouldn’t play that version and wanted a more up-to-date version to play of the same song.. that’s where we came in! Both versions were released at the same time and obviously wheatus sold alot more copies than we did!!!! Although, it was not really a competition!! We ended up selling 19,000 copies in the UK.. 36,000 in Europe and over 40,000 copies in the states… not bad I thought!! I’m sure Andy and Vince like me enjoyed the royalty cheques! We have no more plans to release anymore Erasure covers because personally, I think they should be left alone.. I don’t think anyone could really capture the same vibe as Andy and Vince do.. so there you have it. I must say I think you’re site is great and must take alot of effort and dedication.. any band would be so grateful of a fan like yourself.. Best of luck with it in the future…
Having been dubbed by critics as Australia’s answer to Erasure, it came as little surprise to fans of synth-duo Neuropa to find a cover of an Andy and Vince track on 2001′s Beyond The Here And Now album (pictured). Formed in 1992 under the initial name of Aura, Neuropa duo Jason Last and Albert Martinez took nine years before deciding to cover a version of Stay With Me b-side True Love Wars. Albert Martinez’s arrangement is certainly a departure with a notably heavier beat and extended climax which shows a degree of invention, yet it still lacks the intrigue of Vince’s original arrangement. Vocalist Jason Last reminds more of Marc Almond than of Andy Bell and seems competent enough throughout Neuropa’s cover, but once again an element of flair is noticeably lacking. This cover is by no means dreadful at all, and it would appear that the Australian duo are a reasonably talented pair, but the band lack the conviction to make their version particularly exciting, resulting in a largely forgettable and disposable listening experience.
Vocalist Jason Last’s response to this review
An honest review for once! I love Erasure and have always been reluctant to do covers as I can write my own songs, plus it sets you up for a comparison. We were asked to do this cover originally for a 80′s cover charity release for September 11th & the track ended up an album filler. I never wanted to be an Erasure replacement and have many other influences but we got pegged that way, although I am not unhappy with that! I think I did a good job of the vocal and the track was different enough from the original to be ours. I never thought the original track was the best thing Erasure had done and I feel our version is more punchy. To do an obvious cover would be too predictable. I too don’t like stupid rock bands doing covers of Erasure and find it a farce but when a credible synth band does it u should judge it as harshly as u did. U did however say my voice was good & I like Marc Almond so I don’t hate u!
Petr Muk (2004)
In 2004, singer-songwriter Petr Muk released an eight track EP of Erasure covers entitled Oh L’amour, which saw the Czech performer cover a total of five Erasure tracks with a few remixes thrown in for good measure. However, rather than perform the tracks in their native English, Muk performed the tracks in Czech and even named some of the song by their translated names on the CD. In total, Oh L’amour, Love To Hate You, Stop!, Sometimes and Ships Of Fools were given this treatment, with Muk earning bonus points for not covering A Little Respect like everyone else. Musically these covers are light on the synths but are reasonable enough, whilst the vocals have a strange appeal through their pseudo-opera nature, although it is hard to pass judgement given they are in a different language. There’s no escaping however that these tracks have a Eurovision Song Contest feel to them (interpret that any way you feel). Muk passed away in 2010 at the age of 45.
Cassette Electrik (2005)
It would seem that A Little Respect is the overwhelmingly popular choice for any discerning band looking to cover one of Andy and Vince’s masterpieces, so it won’t raise many eyebrows to learn that UK duo Cassette Electrik (known simply as Cassette at the time of release) launched their career with such a cover of the classic song in 2005. Available on their Electromagnetic album, their premise was simple; to emphasis the melodic quality of the song through a laid back electronic soundscape. And the good news is that it works surprisingly well. Oli Freke’s arrangement is the real star here, becoming more layered and intriguing as the song progresses. Lucy Bugiel’s vocals are good throughout, especially as the song reaches its conclusion, although they are perhaps a little too restrained and do not develop and grow in a similar vein to the musical backdrop. That said, after a slow start this track really does blossom into an interesting, imaginative and enjoyable Erasure cover version.
Despite the success of A Little Respect and Always in the Billboard Hot 100 chart, it was actually Chains Of Love that remains Erasure’s highest charting single in America. Perhaps then it comes as little surprise that in 2005 San Diego based duo Liquid360 covered this song. This cover is very much for the clubs, with a stomping beat and bassline from synthesizer programmer and engineer Mitch Williams and high energy vocals from singer Bruce Donally. To my ears it also sounds like sampled backing vocals from the Erasure original have found their way layered into the mix too. It is hard to really enthuse over dance mixes as the intricacies of what makes Vince’s work so sublime cannot be replicated and that is certainly the case here. It’s by no means terrible; the vocals are reasonable enough and you might even find yourself tapping you feet along to the beat, but on the other hand there is little for me recommend here either. I think I’ll just stick to the original.
Tom Mountain (2006)
German producer and DJ Tom Mountain gave A Little Respect a Euro-dance trance make-over in 2006, and like so many others, he really shouldn’t have bothered. Musically, the cover is devoid of any invention and sounds like so many other cheap, insipid dance tunes from mainland Europe, but it is the vocals that really condemn this track to the realms of awfulness. Remixes of the track add vocal distortions but these cannot hide how poor the unknown vocalist’s voice is – especially at the height of the chorus. The original mix leaves such vocal trickery at the door, which only serves to highlight the imperfections in the voice, meaning it is safer to just avoid this cover version all together. Your ears will thank you for it.
Silent Waters (2006)
Almost two decades after Dollar butchered the classic Oh L’amour, German synth duo Silent Waters attempted to do better with their own cover version of the Wonderland track. Unfortunately for us, they did not succeed. Micha’s arrangement is typical of so many Europop bands in that it sounded dated even upon release in 2006 and sadly there’s very little creativity to be found either. Vocally, Mel is passable enough although it’s somewhat disconcerting, if not illogical, for her to sing “what’s a girl in love supposed to do”. Available on their Singles & Extras 1999-2004 compilation with a video that makes The Blair Witch Project look positively expensive, this one is very much for the bargain bin.
Trash Pour 4 (2006)
Trash Pour 4 are a quartet from São Paulo that specialise in reinventing classic pop tunes in a relaxed, lounge style using a range of musical genres from bossa nova to jazz. In 2006, the Brazilians covered A Little Respect in this way and released it on their Recycle Vol. 1 album, which includes other 80s covers such as Material Girl, Billie Jean, Take On Me and Total Eclipse Of The Heart. Musically, it sounds quite Parisian, which contradicts the band’s South American roots and even though there are strong jazz influences present, it is actually a lot more likeable than it should be. Despite accents on the vocals, the singing is reasonable throughout although the higher, more drawn out notes don’t quite hit the spot. All-in-all the elements of the track fuse together well, resulting in one of the most unothodox and unique Erasure cover versions you are likely to hear.
Offer Nissim featuring Amir Fay Guttman (2007)
Years before YouTube was awash with countless amateur cover versions of Always thanks to the success of the wildly popular browser game Robot Unicorn Attack (which uses the track as its soundtrack), Israeli DJ and producer Offer Nissim got in on the act with his version of the song. Featuring the competent Amir Fay Guttman on vocals, Nissm’s version is a tub-thumping reworking, with a particularly noticeable stomping bass and epic sounding instrumentation. It works reasonably well until we reach the unsatisfying chorus, which feels a bit pedestrian and isn’t helped by far too much reverb on the vocals which render Guttman’s voice and backing as an echoy mess. Shame really; as with a better chorus this might have been a decent cover.
Sexton Blake (2007)
In 2007, Portland based indie band Sexton Blake followed in the footsteps of so many other artists by releasing a cover-versions only album. Entitled Plays the Hits!, it was home to 1980s covers such as Bruce Springsteen’s Hungry Heart, Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes and Elton John’s Daniel but it is their version of Erasure’s very own Oh L’amour that is of most interest here. Fronted by singer-guitarist Josh Hodges, the cover is a pedestrian acoustic affair, which never comes close to getting the pulse racing thanks in no small part to Hodges dreary vocals. In fact, the vocals are so understated you can barely hear them in the chorus as they become lost in the arrangement, which plods along unexcitedly throughout. It feels like the band were bored throughout the recording of this song and whilst it’s a largely inoffensive cover, this is only because it fails to offer any spark or provoke any form of reaction in listener whatsoever.
Four years after the late Petr Muk’s EP of Erasure covers, one man synth artist Haberdashery decided to do likewise, covering four of Andy and Vince’s more obscure tracks on the unimaginatively titled Erasure EP. The four tracks in question are Piano Song, Spiralling, Mad As We Are and Tenderest Moments and as you can probably tell from these songs this EP isn’t one for the dance floors. Instead Stephen Pearlman has created four soothing and largely enjoyable renditions, complete with pleasant “plinky-plonky” arrangements (that is the scientific term) which show a degree of originality and intrigue given how little they sound like Vince’s originals. Vocally a little flat for my liking, but more than capable throughout, this EP is worth checking out for Mad As We Are alone, which actually improves upon the original (although in fairness, that’s not exactly difficult).
It is not often that a band decides to cover one of Erasure’s lesser known tracks. It is even rarer when a band is actually formed by the action of creating an Erasure cover version. Destination (pictured) are one such band and they owe their existence to Erasure thanks to a cover version of In My Arms. Keyboardist Glynn Jaine teamed up with vocalist Bridget Gray after an Erasure fans’ meet-up in 2008 and decided to record a version of the Cowboy track just for fun. It is clear the pair are big fans of Andy and Vince and this comes across in their work – Jaine’s charming retro sounding arrangement captures elements of the track performed at the Tiny Tour as well as the more refined album version. Gray’s sultry vocals are admirable enough and there is enough invention and originality to lift this cover above the mediocrity served up by some many before them, highlighted by the fact the track concludes with the “did you love me?” lines from The Crumbling Down Remix of the song to great effect. Although this cover was never officially released (nor was a rather menacing subsequent cover of Phantom Bride) the band now have some albums of original material under their belts and haven’t looked back since.
Evan Cowden (2008)
Despite being part of the very successful Crackers International EP back in 1988, She Won’t Be Home is a track some fans may have missed, especially as it has never found its way onto any Erasure complication album. This song hasn’t escaped the attention of American singer-songwriter Evan Cowden however, and in 2008 Cowden released his own version of this track as a single. Accompanied by a video dripping in patriotism for US forces fighting in the middle-east, the track starts well enough but crashes and burns as soon as the vocals kick in. Cowden’s voice isn’t to my liking in the slightest and progresses through poorly before descending into a cringe-worthy finale, with the backing vocals of “she won’t be home” being particularly painful to listen to. Musically, it’s fairly loyal to the original version yet never manages to capture the brilliance of Vince’s arrangement, ultimately making it is a cover version that is best avoided.
Audio Playground (2009)
June 2009 saw Canadian producers Rubix and DRC team up with singer Anthony Gitto to form the band Audio Playground. The first thing the trio did was to subject the world to yet another cover of A Little Respect, but at least they did so under the amended title of (A Little) Respect in an attempt to be slightly different from the many that have done so before them. Thankfully though, their cover version is actually pretty good. The pulsating, intriguing and original arrangement steals the show and will have you bobbing your head along to the beat and Gitto does a decent job delivering the vocals. The track was a huge hit in their native Canada, hitting the top of the charts for an initial six weeks ahead of the likes of Lady Gaga, Madonna, The Black Eyed Peas and U2 and although it goes without saying the original is superior, it’s clear why this decent modernisation of the song was successful.
Jazz Dance Orchestra (2009)
Over the years, Erasure songs have been covered in a variety of different ways and musical styles so I guess it was inevitable that a classic Andy and Vince composition would receive the jazz treatment one day. And so it proved as in 2009 Moscow based band Jazz Dance Orchestra, who specialise in covering a diverse collection of artists from Ace Of Base to Black Eyed Peas, released I Love To Hate You, complete with all the characteristics of that genre. I tip my hat at the band for the originality of their version, both musically and vocally (even if it sounds like singer Nastya Pukhlikova is sometimes singing the wrong words) and it certainly sounds like a competent and authentic jazz recording. My problem however, is that I utterly detest jazz as a style of music and simply find it impossible to enjoy a great Erasure song re-imagined in this manner. If, unlike me, you’re partial to a bit of jazz or you like your Erasure covers to sound nothing like the original, you might want to give this track a listen.
Cuban Cigar Crisis (2010)
Formed in 2000, Californian rockers Cuban Cigar Crisis are another strange band to want to cover an Erasure track. With “Hail Satan” on their Facebook biography page and citing rock and punk influences, it may have come as a surprise to their fans when in 2010 the band joined the long list of artists to cover A Little Respect. If fans were expecting a rocky cover of this track they were in for a shock – the most striking thing about this cover is how lifeless it is. This cover completely lacks any spark or invention – both musically and vocally there’s no stamp of originality. Admittedly this makes for a relatively inoffensive listen and whilst it’s certainly not terrible, and the vocals are decent enough, it just ends up feeling like a forgettable, bland duplication of a song that’s already been covered to death – and covered much better than this.
Magnus Carlsson (2010)
Although we have more than enough cover versions of A Little Respect already, this didn’t deter Swedish singer Magnus Carlsson who added his name to the list in 2010 when he released his rendition of this song as a single. Taken from his Pop Galaxy album, it is a radio friendly interpretation, with slick production accompanied by a reasonably high budget CGI video. To his credit, this cover isn’t actually that bad with Carlsson at least attempting to add his own mark on the vocal arrangement somewhat and unlike some others who have tried, he can at least reach the high notes. There is a feeling though that this is a bit too much by the numbers though and whilst it’s harmless enough it lacks the ingredients to make it anything other than yet another throwaway cover version of this classic song. Now can we have a complete ban on anyone else covering this song again? Please?!
Kim Wilde (2011)
Here we go again – yet another cover version of A Little Respect, this time from singer Kim Wilde. The British performer enjoyed several hit singles in the 1980s with the likes of You Keep Me Hangin’ On, Kids In America and You Came, all of which peaked inside the UK Top 5. Wilde is still touring three decades on, and during her 2009 European tour she performed this classic Erasure track much to the delight of her fans. So in 2011 when Snapshots, an album of cover versions, was released it came as no surprise to see a studio version of A Little Respect on the tracklist. Wilde is a decent singer; she can certainly hit the high notes and she adds her own twists to the vocals, although strangely these vocal stylings make the song sound like it sung by ABBA. The arrangement is fairly faithful and energetic, fusing an electronic soundscape over mildly funky percussion, but like so many covers of this song it doesn’t really offer a great deal that hasn’t been done before. In summary it’s not bad, but really the phrase “nothing special” pretty much sums it up.
Maurice Harris (2011)
2011 saw Ohio based singer-songwriter Maurice Harris release an interesting cover version of Erasure’s second ever single Heavenly Action. Harris also decided to cover the song in a completely new style, although I have to admit when I read the “country-themed, pop raggaeton cover” description I braced myself for something terrible. Amazingly it’s actually pretty good! Harris has a good voice (indeed Andy himself approves in the YouTube comments) and his bluesy vocals take the song off in a new direction that works well. The reggae beat is understated but effective and it all comes together well to create a decent cover version. The less said about the woeful video the better though, but overall it’s definitely worth a listen or two.
Well, this must be a first – an Erasure song being covered before it’s even been released! A few days after When I Start To (Break It All Down) had its radio début (and before it was available to buy) electro singer-songwriter and producer Frankmusik released a free cover version of this song. Frankmusik produced Tomorrow’s World, the album this song originates from, and it’s clear he knows the song inside out. His voice isn’t really my cup of tea (especially in the middle eight) and it seems to have an American Blues singer twang to it which belies Frankmusik’s Croydon roots, but it is delivered with soul and it is obvious that he has a passion for the song he had a role in creating. The simple piano arrangement is gorgeous however, perfectly capturing the spirit of the original track and certainly showcases Frank’s musical ability. If we could just have Andy’s vocals (minus the auto-tune effect, thanks) over this arrangement, we’d have a brilliant unplugged Erasure song. As cover versions go though, if you can enjoy the vocals, it’s really rather good.
Carrie Mac (2012)
After winning the Radio Forth One To Watch Award in 2008, Scottish singer-songwriter Carrie Mac become a support act for the likes of The Proclaimers, Sandi Thom and Tommy Reilly. Mac also recorded some cover versions and in 2012 released her rendition of, yes you guessed it, A Little Respect. Mac’s simple ballad piano arrangement is beautiful (and reminiscent of Yazoo’s Winter Kills), as are her vocals which are emotive and soft throughout and it’s clear the Edinburgh singer has a fine voice. Combined, the effect can be shiver-inducing, especially when the song takes a sombre turn just after the middle eight. But it also at times feels a bit dull and lifeless and at no point does Mac attempt the high notes in the chorus, instead opting to keep the vocals more low-key. I can’t help feeling with a bit of passion or progression as the song climaxes this could have been a stunner, instead it’s just a pleasant cover version… which admittedly makes it superior to most of the other Erasure covers reviewed here!
Xiu Xiu (2012)
It’s not often that a band whose music is described as post-punk and experimental rock decide to cover an Erasure song. However, 2012 saw American avant-garde group Xiu Xiu not only produce a cover version of the timeless classic Always, they even named their ninth studio album after the track as well. Given that the album’s lyrics address themes such as suicide, abortion and the abuse of Chinese workers it comes as little surprise that Xiu Xiu chose not to include their Always cover on the album itself, but it was officially released in the form of a split 7″ single with band Dirty Beaches. The cover is certainly an acquired taste; the industrial production and singer Jamie Stewart’s tourtured vocals don’t work on such an uplifting pop song, nor for the most part does Angela Seo’s jarring arrangement, although the sinister track opening isn’t bad. The angsty vocal delivery of the chorus really kills any enjoyment to be had from this cover, and whilst its certainly a different approach to covering an Erasure song, it just isn’t an enjoyable listen.
Formed in 2006, São Paulo based rockers Trinado took 6 years to venture into the world of covering an Erasure song, opting (somewhat predictably) to cover the 1988 classic A Little Respect. Musically, the piano chords in particular work well in this pop-rock radio friendly arrangement which is decent enough throughout. Vocally though, things aren’t really strong enough despite singer Diego Ras’s best efforts, his accent and sometimes piercing high notes sadly don’t hit the spot. Overall, it’s fairly harmless and with better vocals might have been mildly enjoyable; instead it’s yet another disposable A Little Respect cover version – and goodness knows we’ve got plenty of those already.
As you might have noticed, I’m growing extremely tired of having to review so many cover versions of A Little Respect, especially when you consider there are over 40 other Erasure singles that artists could record their own versions of. So you can imagine my enthusiasm when I learned that in 2013 Australian outfit Parralox had added themselves to the long list of bands who have covered this song. Musician and producer John Von Ahlen often uses guest vocalists on his tracks, but this time Parralox are a one-man band and to my surprise the cover is actually pretty decent. The highlight is definitely the whimsical arrangement, which is especially pleasing in the shimmering chorus (we’ll overlook the musical misstep between the first chorus and second verse) and Von Ahlen’s vocals are acceptable throughout with decent backing harmonies adding to the overall enjoyment. Naturally the vocals aren’t as enchanting as Andy’s, but all-in-all this is a pleasant and worthwhile cover version that’s worth checking out.
Peter Wilson (2013)
In 2013, Melbourne-based singer song-writer Peter Wilson released album Pulsation, which is noteworthy to Erasure fans as it is home to a cover version of the classic Nightbird track Here I Go Impossible Again. A collaboration with Matt Pop, the cover is home to a dancey musical backdrop that is original enough as to not evoke memories of Vince’s original arrangement and is up-beat and generally enjoyable, especially in the strong chorus. Vocally, things aren’t so strong, and whilst Wilson’s voice isn’t the greatest you’ll ever hear (especially in the bridge where the high notes miss the sweet spot) it is far from terrible. Overall, not a bad cover, but this largely nondescript version isn’t one that is likely to live too long in the memory.
Gareth Malone (2013)
Gareth Malone is an English choirmaster and broadcaster best known for his award-winning TV work in programmes such as The Choir which focus on singing and introducing choral music to new participants and such is the impact of his work, Malone was awarded an OBE in 2012. The following year, he embarked on a project to find the nation’s finest young singers to form a choir to record an album of covers. Entitled Voices, this album is home to (yet another) cover version of A Little Respect, and it is interesting to hear the song interpreted in this style complete with ethereal and dreamy accomplished vocals, even if some of the harmonies are a little too high for my tastes. I’m not sure the simple drum beat that comes in after the first chorus is especially needed and whilst it’s all very slick, it’s not all that an engaging listen. Perhaps I’m just so jaded from hearing so many different versions of this song…