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View Diary: The Daily Music Break: Keb' Mo' (27 comments)

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  •  A purely subjective one. (1+ / 0-)
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    It's not that I think the change to "Imagine" was a bad kind of change.  It's that I think the new version of the line is a bad one, and it would be a bad line even if it were the original.

    •  Respectfully... (0+ / 0-)

      ...I think that the change to Imagine is a complete transformation of the song from meaning one thing to meaning exactly the opposite. How else would you judge whether the new line is good or bad that is more important than reversing the meaning of the song?

      Please visit The Daily Music Break for some good music.

      by cweinsch on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:15:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree that it reverses the meaning of the song. (0+ / 0-)

        I've realized, though, that there is one crucial non-subjective difference between the two:  "Folsom Prison Blues" is a story, while "Imagine" is an ideological statement.  In the former case, we now have two equally likely and equally compelling stories; in the latter case we now have two ideological statements that are in direct opposition.  We could easily find both stories appealing, but I think the only way we could find both statements appealing at all is if we don't fully agree with either of them.  (Which personally I don't, although I think I am slightly more opposed to "one religion" than "no religion".)

        I've done transformative covers myself, sometimes with the change-one-word tactic and sometimes without.  It's occurred to me that I've only ever done that with narrative songs, not with statement songs; I'm thinking about what I did with Richard Shindell's "By Now" ...

        ... anyway the point is: I don't have a problem with reversing the meaning of a song, provided that the new song is internally consistent* and that I like what it's saying.  As with adaptations, I think a cover needs to be judged on its own merits and not based on loyalty to the original.

        *which I am further realizing that "Imagine" wouldn't be, if "one religion" was the only change made.  How does that fit with "imagine there's no heaven"?

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