More Covers

Three covers of “Satisfaction” each of them great in very different ways (in chronological order).

Otis Redding just uses the song as a vehicle, but is worth of inclusion for an absolutely scorching performance. It’s fun to hear him, after the song, trying to introduce the next song, and how out of breath he is. It is a completely physical performance. He’s not trying to communicate an idea, he’s just putting out as much energy as he can. Just look at him.

The other two covers both resist the original song, and are more targeted at the head than the body. The Devo cover is one of my favorite Devo songs because it combines solid musicianship with the full realization of their schtick “whatever ‘popuilar’ means, we are left out.” The Rolling Stones are such a good target for them, because they are such an icon of cool. The Devo version seems to be saying, “I can play your song, I can be as good as you, but nobody will ever take seriously my desires for satisfaction.”

The Cat Power version is even more removed from any Rock and Roll energy. She tries to make the dominant emotion ennui which also feels like a reaction against machismo as represented by the Stones. What I find really interesting about her version is the amount that she has to work against the song. It wasn’t until I heard her version that I really thought about just how propulsive and syncopated the language in the song is. She has to do all sort of work in her phrasing, and how she puts pauses within the sentences. It makes it clear that it’s really hard to sing a line like “Baby, baby, baby come back. Can’t you see I’m on a losing streak.” without having it take off full speed. There’s so much energy in the words that she has to transmute to sustain her mood.

  1. The Modesto Kid’s avatar

    That Devo cover is fantastic — maybe the best moment is when he gets stuck on “baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby”. I like their ending much better than the Stones’ fade-out.

    The Cat Power version does not really do it for me — I’m listening to it more as a curiosity than as a song. — And I like that style of guitar playing and singing, I just don’t think it works here.


  2. NickS’s avatar

    he gets stuck on “baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby”.

    I like that phrase, thanks.

    The Cat Power version does not really do it for me

    Part of the fun of having three very different versions is that, I hope everyone will have their own favorites.

    I like the Cat Power, but I can understand disliking it for the same reasons — it feels very conceptual but I like the experiment.


  3. myron’s avatar

    Thanks for the widely divergent covers of Satisfaction — have to say the langorous Cat Power version grabbed me best. If you’re into classic Stones, then the entire Sticky Fingers album has to be the peak experience.


  4. ben’s avatar

    I was just listening to the cat power version at work, and it sounds way better on the kitchen speakers then coming out of my computer.

    I like how she sings “I’m on a loosing streak”


  5.’s avatar

    Hello, I read your blogs regularly. Your writing style is witty, keep it up!



Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Bad Behavior has blocked 148 access attempts in the last 7 days.