Travis and I were talking recently about how some songs just seem to be endlessly receiving the cover treatment. Over at My Old Kentucky Blog you can find four different takes on Massive Attack's Teardrop, so I guess we're not the only ones interested by this. Another such song is Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division.
If you listen to the six (!) different versions here (including the original), I think the really incredible part is how different they all are. Calexico turn the song into a folky pop stomp, Hawksley Workman drags the song into a smokey bar, and The Cure... well.. They Cure-ify it. The version by Jose Gonzalez is a pretty odd little cover. I would have expected it to be the most intimate-sounding version of the bunch, but instead I have to say it feels kind of cold.
The U2 and Arcade Fire collaboration is really only interesting as a novelty. The recording is unfortunately very bootleg-ish, so you'll have to turn up your speakers and try to ignore the hum and audience noise. I think it sounds alright, but it's kind of hard to judge. I definitely like the accordion bits added by Arcade Fire and the drums come through quite nicely.
[mp3] Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
[mp3] Love Will Tear Us Apart - Calexico
[mp3] Love Will Tear Us Apart - Hawksley Workman
[mp3] Love Will Tear Us Apart - The Cure
[mp3] Love Will Tear Us Apart - Jose Gonzalez
[mp3] Love Will Tear Us Apart - U2 & The Arcade Fire
* Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart can be bought here.
UPDATE: Thanks to Jgrow for posting links to a couple more covers. One is a breezy jazzified version by Nouvelle Vague, which Travis was actually just telling me about, and the other is a truly bizarre version with throat singing. Here they are:
[mp3] Love Will Tear Us Apart - Nouvelle Vague
[mp3] Love Will Tear Us Apart - Albert Kuvezin & Yat-Kha