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Youtube Covers Suck

Someone had to say it.

Yes, I’m bad at photoshop. Shut up, I did this on my phone!

With the incredible achievement that is internet entertainment, there comes opportunities for some quality content that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. With the same opportunity that brings light to some extraordinary talent, it also gives the opportunity for average, boring, and unoriginal hacks to surface to the top. Just as the lowest common denominator Pop Top 40 dominates the charts, the same can be said for internet entertainment. I’ll be damned if it isn’t ever present in the Youtube cover community.

This brush can painted across all genres and styles that musicians brand their cover as. Be it Pop, Metal, Rock, Folk, Indie, and That Girl Who Won’t Stop Playing The Ukulele Even Though Everyone Tells Her To Stop. The broad brush of average voices and unoriginal arrangement is painted across all spectrums of the music community on Youtube, and anyone who branches out and tries anything original gets no attention. 

Hipster Pop

It’s hard for me to define exactly what I mean by the term “Hipster Pop,” but I swear to God you know it when you hear it. It’s when you take a song and strip it down to sound like a slow pop ballad, except it has acoustic guitar or piano. If it’s on guitar, it’s needlessly upbeat and has that stupid hand drumming cliche that every pop guitarist uses. Honestly, nothing pisses me off more then people thinking that stupid “technique” is impressive. If it’s on the piano, then it’s incredibly melodramatic with pointless vocal runs. Hipster Pop pretends that it’s something original and stripped down when it only contains trends that you hear on the radio twenty four seven. Every once in a while, a classic song or a hard rock song will get covered in this style (as shown in the above example) and completely destroy everything you thought you loved.

If these covers are sung by a female, then it’s always some basic girl who loves Starbucks and Summer who’s favorite season is totally Fall. She’s usually wearing flowers around her forehead and a dress that’s supposed to look like it’s from the 70s. She’s trying to be original by getting some poor sap who likes her to make a video for her and maybe she’ll play the guitar herself. The girl guitarists are always very minimalistic because they usually just want to show off that they own one. 

If a guy is singing one of these covers, then he’s going to be wearing a white V-Neck and skinny jeans. He’ll most likely be wearing make-up and have his hair in perfect condition. If the video was shot somewhere it’s a little chillier, then he’ll be wearing a beanie with a coat, flannel, sometimes even a scarf. If he’s playing guitar, it’ll be either very minimalistic or needlessly over complicated by doing that stupid drumming on the body of the guitar. They’re always going to be a soprano, and God knows they bring that guitar to every party and play freaking Wonderwall the whole time. 

These covers get millions of views, and often when you click on a cover on Youtube, this is exactly what you’ll get. A good 99 percent of these “musicians” could barely make it into their local talent show and they have nothing original about their voice. They sound exactly like that girl or guy that went to your high school who sung Adele in the talent show every year. They hide behind all the production and reverb because they know a guy who knows how to use Audacity. Seriously, the amount of over-production on all of these covers is flat embarrassing.

If you don’t come across these cancers, then you will definitely come across the over abundance of Ukulele covers. They have the least production quality of the cover categories yet somehow they still manage to sound too overdone. They’re always sung by the girl in her glasses and her beanie with the nose piercing who brings the damn Ukulele everywhere she goes. Her instagram is flooded with pictures of her holding her ukulele just in different places around her hometown while she wears a flannel and maybe a fedora.

Guitar Covers

We’re just going to keep traveling down the totem pole of who can be the most basic. The type of covers that are the second-most basic are the guitar covers. They’re either finger-style versions of Top 40 hits, or some chick trying to play classic rock in front of her web cam. The finger-style guitarists are talented, I’ll give them that. It’s very hard for me to play finger-style arrangements, so I’ll extend an olive branch to them for that. Where they flourish in technical ability, they seem to lack in personality, originality, and passion.

The scene is flooded with pretty boys trying to get their teenage or college age peers to think they’re hot and artistic. They still dress like One Direction and continue to over-produce the living hell out of their videos. The only exceptions I would give to this rule are Igor Presnyakov and Gabriella Quevedo. Igor is just a cool Russian grandpa who has a real passion for music, where Gabriella is just a beautiful and talented woman sitting on her couch with her guitar. If they’re none of these, they’re Asian. 

If you’re not dominating in the finger-style community, perhaps you can try mediocrely playing your electric guitar while looking hot? So many people click on these videos of women playing classic rock songs only to be shocked at how bad they are. It’s strange because the girls who are actually good at guitar get overshadowed by the girls who suck. Most likely because the talented ones didn’t show cleavage in the thumbnail of the video. 

Metal Covers

Repeat after me: just because something is turned into metal, doesn’t automatically make it better. I love heavy metal, but my God is it idiotic to believe that a song is better simply because it gets an arrangement into a genre you enjoy. There are many great songs that just wouldn’t sound good when turned into metal, it would just make it worse. Bad Wolves’ metal version of Zombie was terrible! Any song that Frog Leap Studios touches makes the song even worse in my book. His cover of Africa was atrocious, his Hello cover is garbage, and people keep flocking to his covers and praising them for being better than the originals simply because he has a distorted guitar. You search “Metal Covers” and 99.999999 percent of your search results will revolve around him, I kid you not.

These metal covers suffer from two curses. Either they sound exactly like the original where the only difference is screams and distortion, or the artist makes a completely new composition but screams the lyrics. Seriously, how many times am I going to say the phrase “over-produced” until it gets very annoying? I’m sure you’re annoyed as hell right now just reading this. 

Speaking of over-produced, can I just say how much I cannot stand Jonathan Young? It got to a point where his voice had so many effects and his videos were so melodramatic that I swore he was faking it.

Conclusion

Obviously, not every cover on Youtube is complete trash, and not every cover that gets millions of views is generic and basic. Some prime examples of people who get attention for their actual talent would be 331Erock or Ten Second Songs. There are plenty of creative and talented people on the internet who upload their music to Youtube and get next to no recognition for it. Most of the time they don’t even show up in the top 100 search results. 

People, the art of arranging a song shouldn’t be difficult if you’re sincerely passionate about music. You take what made the original song special and put your own spin on it. Vìola, you suddenly have a cover that actually took some artistic integrity to make. Stop trying to make a cover that sounds like everyone else and just be yourself.

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