various artists – 1980-something: an 80s cover comp for no more dysphoria [heavenly creature]

Mmm. Covers. You know they’re either going to be spot-on or ultimately forgettable, and who even is going to make that determination? That’s right: you will. You, the listener.

Great idea, amazing cause, and quite a few enjoyable covers. Plus: lots of vaporwave! Even better, all the proceeds from the album go to the nonprofit org No More Dysphoria. Happy Pride, y’all.

The songs that really work on this album are those covers that seek to be genuinely transformative, not just a pale imitation of the original. And plus: choose your battles. If you’re going to cover, for instance, The B-52s’ “Rock Lobster” or The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?” bring your A-game.

Brought their A-game:

GULL PARTY, covering “Voices Carry” by Til Tuesday: Who knew this song could get more affecting and emotional? GULL PARTY, that’s who, with their acapella / acoustic version. Someone in that band knows this song like a tomato plant knows tomatoworms.

Yail, covering “Cars” by Gary Numan: This is one of those covers that takes you a hot minute to recognize, and then when you do, you stop everything you’re doing and just sit there and marvel at it.

loud letters, covering “The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley: Here’s that hot, danceable “Boys of Summer” version you asked for. It’s driving music but filtered through vaporwave and random seaside rocketship noises and I did not want to love it but did.

Big Daisy, covering “Rapture” by Blondie: I genuinely did not see that coming. Less vaporwave, more straight-ahead rock. Even the spoken-word part. Delish.

Kristin Valentine, featuring Jessica Urban, covering “I Ran” by Flock of Seagulls: This was the song where I left my earthly form and simply ascended. Look, the song itself is decent and gets overlooked a lot because of the whole hair thing that was happening with Flock of Seagulls. And this version, which is a kind of awkward alt-western / folkgaze thing, is simply delightful. Looking forward to hearing it on an episode of The Brokenwood Mysteries one day.

F.R.U.I.T.Y. covering “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus: What if John Carpenter got hold of this song and used it on the soundtrack to one of his films? Like “The Fog” for instance? Or “They Live”? Now we know.

34 covers of 80s songs you will mostly recognize, even if you weren’t alive during the 1980s. Something quite possibly not for everyone, but absolutely for a whole lot of ones.

Play: 7, 8, 13, 15, 18, 22, 26, 31

RIYL: Glory, Skylar Spence, Ghost Town, Mel Parsons

FCC: None

Ones You Can’t Play Anyway Because of GMR: 1, 4, 11, 17, 32

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